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Thursday, August 13, 2009

IL bans sex offenders from social sites

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed into law a bill that bans registered sex offenders from social network sites, PC World reports. Sounds like a good idea, but the law is problematic for a number of reasons, analysts are saying: This is a state law concerning an international medium. It concerns registered sex offenders, the definition of which covers a vast array of offenses in Illinois. The law "does not distinguish between violent criminals who have served prison time for rape – and adults who are registered sex offenders because of youthful hijinks," reports CBS/CNET law writer Declan McCullagh. It creates a false sense of security, since the vast majority of child molesters are people kids know in real life, not much in social sites, research shows. It also raises questions such as: Does this require all sites with social-media features somehow to match all site visitors to a sex offender database, how will Illinois enforce it, and does this law really accomplish what it was written for? Here's the view from Larry Magid of ConnectSafely.org and SafeKids.com at CNET and a commentary in Salon.com. [Also related is my post earlier this week about US sex-offender registries.]

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