Go Find Your Own Internet, Creeps!

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A rich new chapter in the history of unenforceable laws:

New Jersey enacted legislation on Thursday banning some convicted sex offenders from using the Internet. In signing the restrictions into law, Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey, who is filling in while Gov. Jon S. Corzine is vacationing, noted that sexual predators were as likely to lurk at a computer keyboard as in a park or playground.

It's the third state to do this. How it works:

Convicted sex offenders will have to let the State Parole Board know about their access to computers; submit to periodic, unannounced examinations of their computer equipment; and install equipment on their computer so its use can be monitored. The State Parole Board currently supervises about 4,200 paroled sex offenders whose sentencing guidelines call for lifetime supervision — regardless of whether their original crime involved the Internet.

Among the pages sex offenders won't be able to read is this critique of the building panic about predators.

NEXT: The Amateurs' Hour

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  1. Given the ubiquity of the computer in everyday life for most Americans, this strikes me as being akin to denying convicted sex offenders access to telephones and cars.

  2. Moronically stupid. This is ignorance of 21st century reality encoded into law. If you really looked, you can likely find the secret identity of J sub D. That is only because nobody is looking for me, and I really don’t care. If I wanted an internet identity to be completely anonymous, starting today, I could. 30 minutes to set it up, tops.

    Sheesh.

  3. You’re not gonna believe this! A prowler broke in here and forced your cupcakes in my mouth, and he said if you don’t leave the room right now, and let him use the internet, he’ll shoot me!

  4. Gee, why don’t they just make it illegal for them to use their genitals, other than for making pee pee? Making stuff illegal always makes sure that bad things don’t happen.

  5. The goal is not prevention. The goal is to have something else to hold you for and punish you for.

  6. Either sex offenders are punished and reformed when they are released from jail, or they shouldn’t be released from jail. How are all these post-jails laws not deemed cruel and unusual?

  7. Either sex offenders are punished and reformed when they are released from jail, or they shouldn’t be released from jail. How are all these post-jails laws not deemed cruel and unusual?

    Bingo!

    One could imply that the authorities, by allowing predators out of jail, are certifying that the released ex-con is no longer a threat to society.

    By that logic, shouldn’t we be able to sue the authorities any time an ex-con commits a crime for breech of contract?

    I suppose authorities would retort with “we should make all sentences longer,” so maybe this isn’t the right road to go down, but the point remains that “post-jail” laws make no fucking sense…

  8. One has to wonder:

    Step 1. Broaden what sex-offense means, so it includes more and more people.
    Step 2. Restrict access to information.
    Step 3. ??????????
    Step 4. CONTROL!

  9. Taktix and Ben, you’ll note that this is administered by the Parole Board; this means that the offender is given a chance to prove that his remaining in prison isn’t necessary.

    To prove its not necessary, now you have to submit to conditions A – sub paragraph ZJX Part the Seven, you know, so we can make sure the State Parole Board didn’t make a mistake.

  10. Given the ubiquity of the computer in everyday life for most Americans, this strikes me as being akin to denying convicted sex offenders access to telephones and cars.

    Not to mention jobs.

  11. Ayn_Randian (and everyone else, I guess),

    Serious question: When a sex offender completes their parole period, do they have their names removed from the sex-offender lists.

    I would think not, but I’m not sure. While we’re on it, is there any expiration date for a name on the list?

  12. this really is getting insane.

    All you parents out there are on notice. If I see one of your little brats wandering around lost, cold, crying and frightened you can forget about me doing anything about it beyond getting as far away from him or her as possible. You can’t even count on me calling 911, because of the kind of bullshit the cops might put me through.

    I’d rather take my chances with being charged with failing to report a child in danger (if there is such a law) and having to live with the fact that your kid might die, than face the kind of life destroying charges that one of you witch-burning paranoid freaks could dream up.

    So, keep an eye on your own damn kids, OK. Because I for one ain’t going to.

  13. If I see one of your little brats wandering around lost, cold, crying and frightened you can forget about me doing anything about it

    Yeah, you talk big, but trust me, as much of an asshole as I am, I have faced very similar situations (and went through mini-versions of Hell for it) and I still wouldn’t hesitate to help a lost, cold, sobbing child.

    You’re going to let them take away your humanity? That’s what they want.

  14. Serious question: When a sex offender completes their parole period, do they have their names removed from the sex-offender lists.

    I am sure they don’t. I think the lists and this internet monitoring issue are two separate ones (although part of the larger trend concerning the hysteria of sex offense). The lists are basically under the guise of “public safety”. The internet suspension/monitoring is a condition of your parole.

    I’m not defending either, but they are separate…you can think of the suspension akin to the ankle-bracelets they make the OWI-offenders wear; you can think of the lists as those big public billboards with OWI pics on them.

    Hmmm…maybe we’re not enlightened as we fancy ourselves.

  15. By rehabilitation, NJ means giving you no chance to get an education, perform an office job of any sort, or actually use one of the most important tools we have today.

  16. For what it’s worth, as a parent I have taught my 6 year old daughter that, in the (hopefully extremely unlikely) event that she is lost somewhere, she should 1) look for a cashier or store employee, assuming she’s lost in a store or, if not, 2) look for a lady to help her. I have explained that ladies are better at helping little lost kids than men. She accepts that :). This will not, of course, keep her absolutely safe from a sexual predator – and I do not share the widespread belief that sexual predators are lurking everywhere, and I do not think all men are potential sexual predators – but it should help lessen the threat, and it should also avoid causing hell for some hapless guy who tries to help and winds up getting blungeoned from some dumbass mall cop who assumes my child’s rescuer is actually a sexual predator.

    Yes, it’s pathetic and infuriating that it’s come to that.

    You know what’s also pathetic and infuriating and heartbreaking? That most of the time – not always, but often – children who fall prey to actual predators were not being cared for responsibly, or were in the care of people whose lifestyles, acquaintences, habits, etc. made their children vulnerable. But you can’t say that out loud. So people start thinking that every child, everywhere, is about to be abducted and killed.

    What does this have to do with stupid and unenforceable laws? Nothing.

  17. I, for one, fear and loathe our under 18 year old overlords.

    I guess you never completely pay for your crime if it happens to be a “sex crime”. Really, you’re almost better off killing the victim because there would be no witness to talk. Now days, murderers can at least do their time and pay for the crime of murder without all of the baggage of being a sex offender.

  18. Most children are sexually abused by relatives or people trusted to care for them. The idea of “Chester the Molester” lurking around every corner is wrong at best and very destructive to our society in most cases.

    “…and it should also avoid causing hell for some hapless guy who tries to help and winds up getting blungeoned from some dumbass mall cop who assumes my child’s rescuer is actually a sexual predator.”

    As a male, I am very sad that I am regarded as a potential sexual predator, not as a concerned and responsible citizen trying to do the right thing, but that’s the way it is. I avoid contact with children because of this false assumption. That means I do not volunteer for Boy Scouts, to be a coach, to teach in school, or be anyplace where children could be present.

  19. Now days, murderers can at least do their time and pay for the crime of murder without all of the baggage of being a sex offender.

    If the murder was committed during a sex crime wouldn’t the offender still have to register upon release?

  20. Yes. I would imagine if sex crime could be proved, but it would be more of a burden to the prosecution if the victim was dead. Either way, a person will be legally sanctioned, it just seems to me that you should be able to complete your punishment without a life long extra added punishment.

  21. I’m not opposed to the registration of sexual offenders, if the idiots in government – any government, at any level – could write the laws so that only actual sexual offenders – i.e., adults who assault kids, not teenagers who have sex with their younger girlfriends or guys who peep through windows or others who have not actually touched a child at all – would be registered. Would it really be so hard to craft such laws? Really? I don’t think so.

    I believe that a lot of experts have concluded that pedophiles – actual, real pedophiles – cannot be reformed or cured in any real or lasting way – it’s sort of like alcoholism, except that when a pedophile falls off the wagon, the consquences are far worse. Thus, the reasoning is that society at large should know who the pedophiles are. I don’t see why that is a bad thing. I mean, when you apply for a job at a bank and a background check reveals that you’ve been convicted of armed robbery, is that a bad thing? Why would it be different for a person who has committed sexual offenses with children?

    The computer is a telephone is a radio is a television is a newspaper – it’s a communications and information device. If you place an ad for a roommate in the paper, and when an applicant shows up you rape her, will you be forbidden to use newspapers while on parole?

    And are government types so stupid because only stupid people want to be government types?

  22. Yes. I would imagine if sex crime could be proved, but it would be more of a burden to the prosecution if the victim was dead.

    Knowing nothing about how such cases are investigated, I assumed that police might swab for semen or other DNA evidence.

  23. As computers get cheaper (easier to procure) and smaller (easier to conceal), laws like this will be even harder to enforce, if at all.

  24. I guess a cell phone with web access is arguably a concealed carry computer.

  25. Yep. I don’t think that’s even arguable, unless you lack even a rudimentary knowledge of modern technology – which many government functionaries do.

  26. As computers get cheaper (easier to procure) and smaller (easier to conceal), laws like this will be even harder to enforce, if at all.

    I’m sure that they will roll out a jamming type implantable chip for that situation. (A certain libertarian buddy doesn’t call me conspiracy chick for nothing.)

  27. Ummm, yeah, no way that the targets of this law could get around this by having an undeclared laptop computer that they hide when not in use, and use only in WiFi spots under an alias … or use a sympathic friend’s computer.

    Could really screw up one’s employment prospects, though.

    Another asinine law.

  28. One of those laws that virtually every legislator votes for, no matter how unenforceable it is or how many problems or unintended consequences they detect in it, because otherwise they’ll get slammed with hit pieces with nuanced blurbs like “Senator X is pro-child-molestation!”

  29. “One of those laws that virtually every legislator votes for, no matter how unenforceable it is or how many problems or unintended consequences they detect in it, because otherwise they’ll get slammed with hit pieces with nuanced blurbs like “Senator X is pro-child-molestation!”

    As the legislators do a broadside fusillade on the public with their unenforceable edicts, the collateral damage is ignored or treated as a feature, not a bug.

  30. Your computer use may have sexual side affects.

  31. It’s not so much unenforceable as undefenseable. One man’s accidental click or disguised redirect is another man’s parole violation and back into the slammer you go.

  32. One of those laws that virtually every legislator votes for, no matter how unenforceable it is…because otherwise they’ll get slammed with hit pieces with nuanced blurbs like “Senator X is pro-child-molestation!”

    Or they’ll name the bill after a child, and slam any opposing politico by invoking “Little Timmy so-and-so…”

  33. If you really looked, you can likely find the secret identity of J sub D.

    You’re right!

  34. [places envelope to forehead]

    An Archaeopteryx, a stripper, Timothy McVeigh, Bobby Fisher, and Vampirella

    [opens envelope, blows, and pulls out card]

    What are the first five pictures with a GIS on ‘”J sub D” + reason’.

  35. (A certain libertarian buddy doesn’t call me conspiracy chick for nothing.)

    Is anybody else getting turned on right now?

  36. That most of the time – not always, but often – children who fall prey to actual predators were not being cared for responsibly, or were in the care of people whose lifestyles, acquaintences, habits, etc. made their children vulnerable.

    Maybe. But our local news has carried three molestation stories in the last month – all involving public school teachers. Then there were the two cops arrested for forcing women they had picked up.

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