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Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell wants to remove the anonymity of the Internet from sex offenders

Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell is seeking legislation requiring convicted sex offenders to register their online identities with the state’s recently revamped Sex Offender Registry. Sex offenders will have to identify their email addresses, instant messaging and chat room screen names so that sites such as MySpace can more easily block access of predators.

This decision comes after a discussion in Attorney General Bob McDonnell’s Youth Internet Safety Task Force. A member who represents MySpace.com told the group about the Web site’s initiative seeking federal legislation that would require convicted sex offenders to register all of their email addresses in a national sex offender database. The group instantly supported the idea but added the additional requirement of instant messaging identities.

Speaking about the proposed legislation, Attorney General McDonnell noted, “We require all sex offenders to register their physical and mailing addresses in Virginia, but in the 21st century it is just as critical that they register any email addresses or IM screen names. This has become readily apparent during the meetings of our Youth Internet Safety Task Force, and it is time we take this step. MySpace.com has led the way in coming up with this proactive solution, and Virginia will take the lead in being the first to propose the measure on a state level. I hope other social networking sites will join MySpace.com in implementing the software necessary to accomplish this goal.”

MySpace last week announced a technology that will be able to search existing state and federal databases to identify and delete the profiles of registered sex offenders. Such an effort to identify sex offenders on MySpace was first reported early October when Kevin Poulsen used a Perl script to cross reference MySpace users with state databases.

By creating a database of email addresses and IM names, and allowing social networking sites such as MySpace.com to access that database, law enforcement will be able to help such sites monitor users. When MySpace.com, or any other social networking site, comes across the email address or IM name of a registered sex offender they will now have the ability to both delete and/or block these individuals from accessing their site. 

“It is critical that states take this step as the vast majority of prosecutions and convictions for sex offenders take place at the state level,” McDonnell continued to emphasize. “This is not a foolproof approach, as we all fully realize how easy it is to get new email addresses. But by requiring registration, and by making the penalties for failure to register the same as those for failure to register physical and mailing addresses, we will take another positive step towards protecting children online.”



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Excellent Idea and...
By Dfere on 12/13/2006 7:35:16 AM , Rating: 2
They should also register with any online gaming company that has kids as subscribers that would voluntaruily set up a database.

WOW has tons of 10-13 year olds IM'ing all the time.

I am going to try to contact the task force for this recommendation. How could Valve and Blizzard not wish to help out?




RE: Excellent Idea and...
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 12/13/2006 8:07:25 AM , Rating: 2
In gaming you generally don't see this kind of stuff. Kids on the internet that are gamers do not seem to fall into the range of people being victimized for this crap. Probably because you need to register personal information with Blizzard etc.... Blizzard could look up your account name, what you said, and slap charges on your ass for violating EULA and TOS, not to mention any state/federal laws. I don't hear about kids being picked up in games, its always social networking sites and chat rooms.

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that maybe because online gamers aren't wearing such rose colored glasses as morons on places like myspace? Really lets just for the sake of ranting show something interesting here. Computer online forums and gaming has been around for quite some time now, and kids have been doing online gaming etc.... for years. Yet only since these megasites like myspace, etc.... have poped up have you started to see predators on them trying to pickup kids..........

Not saying anything just an observation that maybe theyre making it a little "too easy" for kids to setup websites and whatnot and share personal information.


RE: Excellent Idea and...
By Dfere on 12/13/2006 8:21:25 AM , Rating: 2
The contact for the task force, as far as I can tell is cybercrime@oag.state.va.us.

By the way, proposed legislation in sveral states and the federal level would actually rank predators, with the examples of the 19 and 16 year old love story, being the lowest type of infringement, if it were prosecuted by some vindictive back water county prosecutor.

My sister was a assistant D.A. in Queens and then Westchester County prosecuting these types of cyber crimes. The romance story proposed above is not typical and would not have been prosecuted as such, unless there was more the the facts than what is outlined in the arguments above.


RE: Excellent Idea and...
By masher2 (blog) on 12/13/2006 9:58:31 AM , Rating: 3
> "My sister was a assistant D.A...The romance story proposed above is not typical and would not have been prosecuted as such..."

Regardless of what you and your sister may think, such prosecutions can and do happen. There was a similar case in my own jurisidiction, involving an 17 year old high school student, and his 16 year old girlfriend. He was charged with a felony and lost his upcoming college scholarship as well. Or another case, where a man slapped a (not underage) female coworker on the bottom, and wound up as a misdemeanor sex offender.

A prior poster also points out an even more egregious case, of a friend relieving himself behind a dumpster at 3am, who now has to register as a sex offender.


RE: Excellent Idea and...
By Dfere on 12/13/2006 11:38:54 AM , Rating: 2
Again,

This is the idea behind some of the proposals being presented.

Also, my sister did not prosecute anyone for urination as a sex offender. Besides, if you have the court documents, perhaps we could examine that instance more carefully. Were there other charges which were dropped? Was other evidence which had to be dropped by the courts (drugs etc) which made DA go for the worst sentence you could possibly get for what could be proved? Was there a plea deal and agreement as to how the charge was to be presented to the public?

I can't speak to a few incidents by some other law officials (I did say backwater, though). I can tell you my sister deliberately went on line, and other ADA's and acted as 13 year old girls, and typically busted these guys at a bus station. They typically proved this in court by requesting certain items be present, especially specific beer and liquor types. The guys always had this on them and rarely wanted this to go to court and pled out. She rarely had to subpeona email accounts and records.

She never once prosecuted a case of two kids who were arguably in love, nor did she prosecute anyone for slapping a females butt. I am not sure she would have, but will check in with her to see if she ever did or the courts she worked in had, or her boss (-who was also female and ran against Hillary Clinton) ever had this as a prosecutable item or aqgenda. From previous discussions with her I think not, but I will check.


RE: Excellent Idea and...
By masher2 (blog) on 12/13/2006 1:05:43 PM , Rating: 2
> "my sister did not prosecute anyone for urination as a sex offender...She never once prosecuted a case of two kids who were arguably in love, nor did she prosecute anyone for slapping a females butt...

Your sister, however, is only one of tens of thousands of DA's and assistant DA's around the nation. Many of them can and do regularly engage in such prosecuturial malfeasance. And, at present, additional federal sex offender requirements play into their hands, and make a bad situation worse.

As for such cases ocurring only in "backwaters", the two I mentioned took place in one of the ten largest cities in the nation. Perhaps you can ask the other poster if his reference was in Jerkwater, USA.



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