Print 61 comment(s) - last by Constitutional.. on Jan 5 at 9:41 PM

  (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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By alifbaa on 1/1/2009 2:43:27 PM , Rating: 5
I disagree. I think this law and all the other registry laws are too far reaching.

If some sex offender is such a threat that we need to restrict where he can live, publish his picture and address on the internet and now continuously monitor his communications, he should be in jail.

If a serious sexual predator can never be relied upon to be rehabilitated, then they should go to prison for life. On the other hand, if they've done their time then we should leave them alone.

My personal opinion is that sexual offenders' sentences are far too short given the magnitude of their crime and the extreme likelihood of them repeating their offenses upon release.

By Nfarce on 1/1/2009 3:32:21 PM , Rating: 4
If a serious sexual predator can never be relied upon to be rehabilitated, then they should go to prison for life. On the other hand, if they've done their time then we should leave them alone. My personal opinion is that sexual offenders' sentences are far too short given the magnitude of their crime and the extreme likelihood of them repeating their offenses upon release.

Huh? With all due respect, it sounds to me like you disagree with yourself.

By Some1ne on 1/1/2009 4:21:23 PM , Rating: 5
Not at all. His point was quite straightforward:

1. We have a justice/penal system based upon the idea of rehabilitation.

2. It then follows that when an offender has been released from prison, they should be considered to be rehabilitated.

3. A rehabilitated citizen should not be treated in a way that differs fundamentally from how any other citizen is treated. They've completed their punishment, and were released from it because they were deemed able to participate in society again, and they should be treated as such.

4. Therefore, if a sex offender is released from prison, it should be without any special conditions.

5. However, if sex offenders are so dangerous to society that they cannot be released without special conditions, then perhaps they shouldn't be released back into society in the first place.

I agree on all counts. Justice in this coutry is supposed to be about reforming criminals so that they can become functioning members of society again, and the release of a prisoner is supposed to connote that they are believed to be reformed as such, and anyone so reformed should recieve the same kind of treatment as anyone else. They've done their time, and paid their debt, and are entitled to a chance to move on with their lives at that point.

If sex offenders require special rules when they are released, then they are being released before they have been properly reformed, and that should not happen. So by all means, keep them locked up until there's a reasonable confidence that they won't re-offend. And keep them locked up for life if they're unable to reach that point. But don't release them back into society while at the same time continuing to punish them after the fact with all these special rules and conditions. That just undermines the entire concept of reform that our system of justice and punishment is based upon.

By afkrotch on 1/1/09, Rating: -1
By tastyratz on 1/1/2009 5:09:32 PM , Rating: 2
And these conditions should NOT be mandated by law for ALL sex offenders. It presents undue stress on law enforcement which also impacts tax dollars.

This is ok with me if it was conditional as deemed by court ruling.
If someone picked up little kids off myspace their passwords should be taken.

If one adult date raped another adult at a party their internet activity is of no concern to police and as such should not be a requirement.

This should only apply to convicted child predators and internet predators. This should be the limit of the scope here.

By jonmcc33 on 1/2/2009 8:46:40 AM , Rating: 1
Ah, so there's nothing wrong with date rape? Rape is just as bad as child molestation in my book.

By Ryanman on 1/2/2009 3:50:49 PM , Rating: 3
Let's use child pornography and sexual perversion as an excuse to piss on our rights.
Let's face it: we already are searched when we come into America for digital child porn. The government is considering monitoring ALL internet traffic for it, and ISP's are already responsible for filtering it.

Given, Child porn and Pedophiles are the scum of the earth. But how far can you go to stop people from getting pictures of eastern European girls? Especially when most methods are moot. Why not use these methods to "prevent" other crimes? Watch other criminals? To argue that some sexual convictions are unfair (which they are) and that this should only apply to pedophiles is beside the point: the point is that no matter WHAT these measures start as, no matter WHAT premise is used to justify their gross invasion of privacy and human rights, it will not stay that way.

By Gzus666 on 1/2/2009 4:27:05 PM , Rating: 3
WHAT these measures start as, no matter WHAT premise is used to justify their gross invasion of privacy and human rights, it will not stay that way.

This is exactly why I hate when they make laws pertaining to one special instance. Kinda like the hate crime law, what a joke. Those crimes were all already a crime, why do they suddenly become worse if you happened to be against said group?

Sexual crimes are assault, treat them that way and move on. If people keep allowing garbage laws like these every time they think it is somehow the worst crime ever we will eventually have no legitimate justice and rehabilitation system. I don't get why people consider rape of a child worse than an adult. It is the same crime, treat it that way.

By Sam Thornton on 1/1/2009 5:21:05 PM , Rating: 5
Strictly speaking, rights are not provided by government. Rather, government is prohibited from restricting certain rights assumed to belong to all citizens. The First Amendment is a case in point: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." The difficulty with placing any class of citizens in a group where the prohibition doesn't apply creates a precedent for the withdrawal of the protection from all classes.

By Ryun on 1/1/2009 7:03:32 PM , Rating: 2
I was just about to say the same thing myself, thanks.

By Heero on 1/2/2009 10:24:23 AM , Rating: 2
Once laws are broken, those who broke them forfeit some or all rights provided by the government

So... If you break a traffic law, you are no longer able have a driver license for the rest of your life or breaking that law will influence your privcy to drive?


By MrBungle123 on 1/2/2009 11:14:22 AM , Rating: 3
Once laws are broken, those who broke them forfeit some or all rights provided by the government.

Our rights are NOT provided by the government, they are PROTECTED by the government.

By JonnyDough on 1/1/2009 7:27:53 PM , Rating: 1
1. We have a justice/penal system based upon the idea of rehabilitation.

You wish. The system will slap your hand for anything...

If you're depressed, or are dealing with major life crisis the government could give a crap. They'll send you to jail for non-payment of child support, rather than help you find a job.

By jonmcc33 on 1/2/2009 8:50:28 AM , Rating: 5
It's your responsibility to get a job and take care of a child you conceived...not the government's.

By badmoodguy on 1/2/2009 2:04:02 PM , Rating: 1
LOL, you have no clue. You probably think you do, but in about 20 years, you'll realize that you didn't have a clue.

As for the topic, any law based on 'think of the children' is a bad law. Not that you'd have much success in bringing rational thought into the issue though with these braniacs running around making themselves feel good thinking that they are solving some problem.

By JonnyDough on 1/3/2009 5:06:14 AM , Rating: 2
It's also my RIGHT and my CHILD's RIGHT to have visitation. Unfortunately my ex is a lying sack of crap and child support and visitation aren't connected, according to law.

The problem is that a man gets depressed when he doesn't see his kids...and it's kind of hard to take a man and turn him into a willing slave while robbing him of the child he loves.

The other issue is that the court will let a woman take a child away from a father but expect him to pay her money anyway. Believe me, my child is better off with me. I was a stepfather and when my wife and I had a baby she went psychotic. Post traumatic stress. There should be a law against divorce and separation for the first 5 years of a child's life. People should be FORCED to live together.

By DASQ on 1/5/2009 1:16:13 PM , Rating: 2
Welcome to the pits of feminism. Divorce judges have ALWAYS been partial to women.

I'm not hating. I've just seen, time and time again, people getting screwed because somehow the woman deserves money for choosing to have the child 0 days a week.

By Drexial on 1/5/2009 1:43:20 PM , Rating: 1
If my parents were forced to live together, I cant imagine how fucked up I would be. It was hard enough leaving with them separately. My parents separating when I was one was the best way to handle the situation. I honestly think I would be institutionalized if they stayed together. But it's completely on a case by case basis.

You honestly thing being forced to live with a woman you just referred to as "a lying sack of shit" would be best for your child? Yes constant fighting and (at minimal)verbal abuse would do wonders to raise your child. If you cant maintain composure in a post on a forum, then I can't imagine what kind of pent up aggression that would come out.

I'm only saying this because I lived through it.

I haven't seen my dad in almost 10 years because I moved out while he was at work. If you don't want that to happen to you, then I would suggest taking some anger management courses. To assume that anything should be FORCED is ludicrous. Yes lets force something that wasn't working in the first place. If you care and want to see your kid, then don't get pissy because you cant see them now. Live every moment of your life preparing yourself for when you do see them. Don't feel that you have the RIGHT to take care of them, know that you have the ability.

No I don't no you. But don't tell me I don't have the right to say anything about the situation. I didn't watch this happen, I lived through it. So I hope you are concerned for your child as a father and not trying to exercise some right of masculinity to have offspring. Hearing my dad yell "That's my god damned kid" at my mom didn't leave me feeling like he wanted the best for me, just wanted me for the sake of saying he had me.

Sorry for the off topic rant.

By DASQ on 1/5/2009 1:17:08 PM , Rating: 2
I agree.

It blows my mind when I read in the paper 'Police say [X] is at high risk to reoffend'. SO DON'T RELEASE HIM! What the Christ?!

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone
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