Sex offenders on facebook and myspace

Friday, January 15, 2010

Just recently, I posted a blog about the sex offenders that were found on Facebook and Myspace in New York. I wanted to go into a bit more depth with this subject today. Many of you, like me, want to know how these sex offenders were found, how they are BEING found, and what are the states we live in are doing about it.

According to Wired, a popular magazine devoted to new technology, as of December 1, 2009, 3,533 registered sex offenders were stripped of their social networking accounts. This happened as a result of the state’s 2008 Electronic Security and Targeting of Online Predators Act (e-STOP) law.

According to the article, the law requires the state’s 30,000 convicted sex offenders to file their home, e-mail and social networking addresses with the state. Out of that pool, only about 27 percent revealed e-mail addresses or social-networking usernames to authorities, and only 10 percent divulged a Facebook or MySpace username.

The remaining 22,000 or so registered sex offenders who did not supply
online identity information are either in prison or homeless, lack computer
access or simply chose not to respond, an unidentified state Division of
Criminal Justice Services representative told the New
York Daily News

The e-STOP system only works if criminals volunteer their social networking
identities, as they are required to do within 10 days of creating a new account
under penalty of new felony charges. Proponents of the law have declared it a

“Before e-STOP, sexual predators freely lurked in social networking
sites trolling for innocent victims,” said executive director of Parents for
Megan’s Law and the Crime Victims Center Laura Ahearn to the Daily News. “With
e-STOP, Attorney General Cuomo has sent a clear message that there is a new
sheriff in the cyberworld protecting our most vulnerable.”
Okay, so what else is going on NOW in order to stop predators from getting on the popular Facebook site? Facebook has an application (not created by Facebook, but it’s out there) called P.O.M. Offender Application. What does this app do? It locates sex offenders in your area (U.S.) and comes complete with a Google map mash up showing their residence, their crime and their photo. To check it out, click here.

Illinois has also recently signed a bill into law by Governor Pat Quinn, banning registered sex offenders from using social networks, turning the act into a felony. The new law took effect January 1, 2010.

“Obviously, the Internet has been more and more a mechanism for predators to
reach out," said Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington), a sponsor of the measure and a
governor candidate. "The idea was, if the predator is supposed to be a
registered sex offender, they should keep their Internet distance as well as
their physical distance.”

The popular social networking sites, as well as some states, are taking steps to protect our children, but they can only do this IF the registered sex offenders are actually doing what they are supposed to. To me, this means there are thousands slipping through the cracks. That is why it is so important to continue monitoring the online activity of our kids and teens. McGruff Safeguard does this for you by monitoring conversations and alerting you if there is questionable conversation. By registering for McGruff Safeguard, you are helping us help you keep your loved ones safe.

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posted by Lindsay Manfredi at 9:20 AM Link to this Article


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