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  (Source: The Drunken Clam Dot Com)
Privacy advocates concerned about a strict new law in Georgia which removes sex offender's online privacy

The latest scuffle over online privacy is brewing up in Georgia.  An aggressive new law is set to take effect today which will force sex offenders to hand over their internet passwords, screen names, and e-mail addresses to the government for monitoring purposes.  Several other states also have efforts that track sex offender's email and screen names.  However, Georgia, which has 16,000 registered offenders, will be the first state to demand the sex offenders’ passwords as well.

A similar law in Utah was already struck down by a federal judge, who ruled that it violated the privacy rights of an offender who challenged it.  However, that ruling was rather narrow as it applied to an offender tried on a military conviction who had never been in Utah's court or prison system.

Critics of the Georgian law say that it not only violates the privacy rights of offenders, but it also places undue stress on the already tight-for-cash Georgian law enforcement.  Sara Totonchi of the Atlanta-based Southern Center for Human Rights states, "There's certainly a privacy concern.  This essentially will give law enforcement the ability to read e-mails between family members, between employers."

State Sen. Cecil Staton (R.) who wrote the bill argues that it is necessary to strip the rights of some citizens to protect the rights to life and liberty of others, particularly children.  He states that the benefits of the bill, which will allow law enforcement to detect stalking by predators sooner "outweighs a lot of the rights of these individuals."

He states, "We limit where they can live, we make their information available on the Internet. To some degree, we do invade their privacy.  But the feeling is, they have forfeited, to some degree, some privacy rights."

Most states do compromise sex offenders’ privacy to some extent by making their addresses available online in registries.  However, Georgia and Utah are the only states to propose legislation to take offenders passwords, according to civil rights researchers.  Others argue the bill isn't tough enough.  While the bill threatens violators with a possible return to prison, some believe this won't deter many.

Says State Sen. Staton, "My hunch is, where there's a will, there's a way.  If people are intent on violating this law, there are many different ways. What's important is we have given law enforcement a tool."

One critical issue at stake with the Georgian law is lack of specificity.  While the law is clearly meant to target offenders seeking to exploit children, it does not differentiate by crime.  Thus those found guilty of underage consensual sex, public indecency, or other sex crimes will likely be forced to turn over their passwords as well, bringing into question whether the law is targeting who it intends to.



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RE: Corporate Responsibility/Disclosure
By Nfarce on 1/1/2009 11:55:55 AM , Rating: 2
Correct. AT/DT is comprised of many authors/bloggers who reside in all parts of the globe. I'm not sure I understand what the original point of his post is about.


RE: Corporate Responsibility/Disclosure
By Lord 666 on 1/1/2009 12:13:35 PM , Rating: 2
Since AT is listed as an INC and DT a registered LLC, there has to be a state they are based out of. Usually within a companies charter, it indicates what specific state laws they are bound by or if any legal action is taken, where they will "prefer" to take to court.

My original post is using AT/DT as an example to sex offenders using online resources. We all live in different states and countries and was curious on how AT/DT would handle this new GA law if contacted by law enforcement. Second question was about internal AT/DT policy as an example. Third item was really a suggestion to AT/DT to do a report similar the "online payola" that would detail real world contact, if any, law enforcement has had with AT/DT concerning posted comments.


By Nfarce on 1/1/2009 12:52:27 PM , Rating: 1
Oh, I see where you are coming from now. Well, I don't think that the GBI (Georgia Bureau of Investigation) would be too interested in a technology-oriented website blog login from a sex offender...or a CNN blog for that matter.


"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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