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 afkrotch on 1/1/2009 4:41:50 PM , Rating: -1
Once laws are broken, those who broke them forfeit some or all rights provided by the government.

Also special rules/conditions are placed, cause how do you know for certain someone is reformed? The human mind is complicated and full of unknowns. There's not a test to know for certain that someone is completely reformed.

As you mentioned, "the release of a prisoner is supposed to connote that they are believed to be reformed as such." Believed. For many ppl, that simply isn't good enough. So for the safety of the public, these rules/conditions/restrictions are placed. The public doesn't care that the judge, jury panel, psychiatrist, etc see them as being reformed. They want protection.

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.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard
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