Mass MySpace Panic: Keeping the Dream Alive

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Psyched for the next congressional session? Here's a taste of the fun to come:

New York Democrat Charles E. Schumer and Arizona Republican John McCain, in a press release, said they planned to introduce a bill at the beginning of the 110th Congress in January that would require registered sex offenders to submit their active e-mail addresses to law enforcement.

The legislation would enable social networking sites like MySpace to cross-check new members against a database of registered sex offenders and ensure that predators are unable to sign up for the service.

One wonders whether anyone actually had to sit down and write this bill, or it just emerged fully formed as McCain and Schumer locked eyes across a crowded room, the demented love child of some bipartisan baby-kissing orgy. How is this supposed to work? Determined offenders will create alternate email accounts faster than you can say "Maf54." If someone is caught committing an actual sex crime, surely that verboten gmail account will be the least of his, or the prosecution's, concerns. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people guilty of nothing more than consensual sex will be forced to surrender their email information to government officials.

The whole forced email registration idea has one thing going for it. It's been tried and tested, a feature of Myanmar's military dictatorship for years now.

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  1. It’s not a question of effectiveness or practicality.

    It’s simply “Look at what we’re doing to protect your kids from sex offenders!!”

  2. It doesn’t seem like the “tough on sex offenders” card will go away anytime soon. The corresponding “my opponent is soft on sex offenders” card looks like it’s here to stay too.

    When will the MSM start talking back to these craven,bloody-shirt waving congressionalfreaks who use the tragedy that is child molestation to gain political points?

    Never?

  3. Is there actually any thought process aside from PR that goes into creating bills or do senators just write down random ideas, lay them out and play a version of senatorial lawn darts to determine what they’re going to announce daily?

  4. One wonders whether anyone actually had to sit down and write this bill, or it just emerged fully formed as McCain and Schumer locked eyes across a crowded room, the demented love child of some bipartisan baby-kissing orgy.

    Kerry, you had me at “demented love child.”

    It’s simply “Look at what we’re doing to protect your kids from sex offenders!!”

    It’s also – “Look at what those other senators are NOT doing to protect your kids from sex offenders!!”

  5. Does anyone have a source for the number of people classified as sex offenders for consentual sex or other victimless sex ‘crimes’? As someone who believes in libery and justice, a single example is sufficient to justify the scrapping of these sorts of programs, but to present a more compelling argument to those who say such cases are rare to nonexistant it would be nice to be able to cite numbers such as “tens of thousands”.

  6. At least they’re making an attempt to make the internet safer for our children, instead of taking the libertarian path of sitting on their hands and letting the “market” take care of it.

  7. -no one

    I think I posted this story before, but…

    The roomate of a guy I work with is now a registered sex offender for selling a blow up sex doll at a head shop in Texas to some under cover cops. The stick was that, like dildos sold as ‘novelty’ items, sex dolls cannot be sold for the intended purpose of having sex. Before purchasing the doll from this guy, the undercover chaps asked him if they could use that particular model to have sex with. His response was ‘I don’t give a fuck what you do with it’. They bought it, he got arrested. For LIFE, he is a registered offender.

    Hope that helps, for whatever it is worth.

  8. Kerry, you had me at “demented love child.”

    Yes, but with Kerry it always comes back to Myanmar. I get so sick of these anti-Myanmar shills on reason.

    I see that the smiley face doesn’t work so well in this font. Pity.

  9. steveintheknow – that really sucks.

    As to this plan. How can Americans look at our legislators doing things this monumentally stupid and still have faith in them? This is something an 11 year old girl could have destroyed. “Like, what’s supposed to keep them from, um, you know, just starting another email account? Sheesh, McCain, you sure are an R-tard.”

    – R

  10. I’m going to go against the grain and say I support it but ONLY if they add a rider banning use of those annoying sparkly Tinkerbell GIFs from myspace pages.

  11. “make the internet safer for our children”

    When did we have children together Dan? And who’s the dad ?

  12. As o former military man, and an Irishman, I have given a pass to John McCain.

    No more! Can you say “The straw that broke the camel’s back?”

  13. I wonder if it will “enable” or “require” MySpace, et. al., to check email addresses against said database? If it’s “require”, it’s going to be a serious PITA for a lot of organizations, and I think whatever structure they come up with will fail under the load.

  14. Obvious solution: help convicted sex offenders sign up for as many e-mail addresses as possible. If they all have several thousand e-mail addresses, the database would be unusable.

  15. We already kow that “sex offenders” are open season. Dumbass politicians + LAW = Stupidity.

  16. Anyone that has read my posts on McCain and CFR knows that I am a fan of the guy. That said, I am disappointed in this move. I still will support him over 80% of the candidates out there — but this is definately a strike against him and he can expect a strongly worded e-mail from me letting him know.

    For republicans that would support this legislation, how is this any different than waiting periods for fire arms. Its a feelgood law that criminals can easily around. What is really accomplished?

  17. I RTFA because I thought it just couldn’t be this stupid. And Lo and behold, “Any offender caught using an unregistered e-mail address would be in violation of probation or parole terms and face a return to prison.”

    Ahhhh now I get it, the would be pedophile says to himself “Gee I sure would like to make use of the internets to get me some pre-pube-booty, but I don’t want to risk prison with an unregistered email.”

  18. I haven’t been to college. I am, anazingly, still educated. Four years of college, (I’ll bet at taxpayer expense), and he comes up with this bullshit? John McCain can kiss my Royal American Ass.

  19. These guys are making Ted Stevens look like an Internet guru.

  20. The internet is a series of tubes filled with pedophiles.

  21. Heh, whoever thought the Dems in control would be any better? Another social crisis du jour! Cool!
    They all have nothing better to do. Forget that little war or the national debt or social security or … or … or …

    It’s all FOR THE CHILDREN!

    Heh!

  22. The internet is a series of tubes filled with pedophiles.

    If you go trolling for prepubescent girls on the internet, you should be arrested for stupidity.

  23. It sounds like MySpace was the one that spearheaded this campaign. Probably to head off any further legistlation requiring age identification which would no doubt kill its business. I know I’d be taking down my page if they made me submit some kind of ID.

  24. No college? I find that anazing.

  25. No college? I find that anazing.

    I am self educated. not indoctrinated. This surely goes against the libertarian grain, but public libraries are a good thing.

  26. but public libraries are a good thing.

    Private libraries are even better. Most private colleges do not charge entrance fees to their libraries. Some even have options for community members to check out books. If there weren’t 100% publicly funded libraries, there would be a market for private libraries that would charge very minimal user fees.

  27. I didn’t graduate college, either, and I’m an effin genius! ­čśë

    – R

  28. Amazingly enough, Andrew Carnagie funded/founded numerous public libraries. Goddam Robber Baron that he was.

  29. When will the MSM start talking back to these craven,bloody-shirt waving congressionalfreaks who use the tragedy that is child molestation to gain political points?

    As soon as the ratings crater for Dateline : Predator.

  30. Just to make it clear, child molesters, Hell, all sexual predators, are evil, low life, bottom feeding scum.

    OTOH I have talked a women into having sex with me. Was I a predator or just horney? The point is that “sexual crimes” can be reduced to that sort of behaviour. Slippery slope and all.

  31. I have talked a women into having sex with me.

    How much did it cost?

  32. What I don’t like is the idea is passing laws which retroactively increase the penalties for crimes. Sure, the Supreme Court says that offender registration laws aren’t ex post facto when retroactively applied, but the Supreme also says that growing wheat on your farm for your own use means you’re involved in interstate commerce, so how much credibility do these have on constitutional issues?

    On a practical note, given that most guilty pleas are the result of plea bargains in which prosecutor and defendant negotiate the sentence (or range of sentences) that will be applied, how can it be fair to retroactively rewrite these plea bargains to add extra sanctions to the original sentence?

  33. I have talked a women into having sex with me.

    How much did it cost?

    Two drinks, and breakfast at Denny’s.

  34. Stream of consciousness time!!

    So, how much funding is going to be required for the police to enforce this law? Wonder if they will justify sniffing emails “just to make sure” that “BigHonker54” isn’t owned by a registered offender. Wonder if you will be forced to enter personal information for any US based email account. Wonder how quickly bob.smith@anyserver.ru becomes really popular. Wonder who will be the first to use the passage of this law in thier election propoganda.

  35. This proposal is so dumb it blocks out the sun.

    At least they’re making an attempt to make the internet safer for our children, instead of taking the libertarian path of sitting on their hands and letting the “market” take care of it.

    If I see someone collapse due to a heart attack, I immediately start pounding his head with a rock. Hey, at least I’m making an attempt to “do” something about the situation.

  36. Of course, some parties will be exempted from registering. The listserv of those exempted can be subscribed to at markfoley@house.gov

  37. Assuming there are no problems with ex post fact laws and federalism (see my post above), wouldn’t it be a good idea for state legislatures to impose on *real* sex offenders (eg, rapists), as a condition of any probation or parole, a requirement that they not use social networking sites which are also used by minors?

  38. Mad Max:

    You seem to be one of those dreamers that still believe in justice as resembling something a normal adult can understand and live up to.
    You see, there is no ex post facto “punishment” in sex offender registry and related “controls”. The courts have ruled that they do not constitute punishment no matter what one subjected to them might in reality experience. It’s that simple. Ah, those damn activist judges!
    I’d say deport those scum, child-molesting predators to some labor camp with electric fences, guard towers etc. in some central African country. We can pay them for hosting them, would be cheaper than jail. Of course this would by no means be punishment as even Himmler knew: It would merely be protective custody and besides, Arbeit macht frei!

    J sub D:
    I’m so glad you made this clear. I mean, we don’t want to look like condoning any of those vile, unnatural sexual urges just because we don’t talk right along the party line.

    More seriously, about 550,000 people on the registries so far. I estimate the critical mass to be around 3 mio, maybe 5. Any more and the system will implode and lose its usefulness, if it ever had one besides harrassing a defenseless group of people.

  39. “baby-kissing orgy”

    See, you’re the type of person they’re targetting.

  40. In the battle against child sexual predators the Internet in general and Myspace-like sites in particular are God’s gift to law enforcement. Where else could a fifty-year-old Colombo-style detective pretend to be a 12-year-old girl and lure a pedophile halfway across the country into a trap?

    If Congress really wants to screw these folks, buy them a computer, teach them about Hotmail, and turn them loose to hang themselves.

    And clean up the Registry program to concentrate on the people we really do need to watch.

  41. Am I the only person who is amazed, stunned, flabbergasted, that pedophiles continue to try to contact underage kids via the internet? Try, convict, and sentence me. Please.

  42. I remember when asked what he thought of the internet, Bobcat Gothwait said “Hey, it’s just like CB’s in the 70’s – a bunch of 40 year old men pretending to be 12 year old girls.”

    On a side note, if parents are concerned about who their children are coming into contact with on the internet, I have a novel solution – be an effing parent and pay some effing attention.

    – Rick

  43. Children should have more adult friends than they tend to. If they meet some of them via the nets, that’s just keeping up with the times.

  44. lol i’m gay for man penis

  45. I have a solution to shut all your yaps.

    All the government needs to do is mandate that everyone have ONE e-mail address, and said address is issued and monitored by the government.

    There. Problem solved.

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