We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Perverts banned from Facebook

New US law stops sex offenders social networking

A US law that will ban sex offenders from Facebook and other social networking sites has been signed by the governor of Illinois, making it legal in the state.

The law, designed to protect children from predators who use social networking sites to lure potential victims, is the first of its kind. While some are lauding the legislation as a positive step in stopping sex offenders, others are saying it undermines the criminal justice system and sits on the border between justified and inhumane.

"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 object is to protect innocent individuals on the internet from sex offenders," Senator Bill Brady told The Chicago Tribune.

Law in the state of Illinois already bars sex offenders from proximity to schools, requires registration every ten years, and, in some cases, classifies individuals as offenders for life.

An individual can become a sexual offender by committing 'public indecency for a third or subsequent conviction'. That means if you repeatedly duck behind some bins to relieve yourself and are caught, you're a sex offender.

Also take into consideration the rise of ‘sexting' amongst teenagers. Sexting - the distribution of semi-nude or nude images via mobile phones and other mobile gadgets - is an ignorant, but all-too-common practice. Let's say a 15-year-old is caught with images of another 15-year-old on his/her phone. Say good-bye to Facebook.

Some may think,'‘Who cares? It's just Facebook'. Perhaps that's accurate. But it's the principle of the law that's more bothersome than the details. The law essentially damns the convicted well beyond the time he/she has served.

This law is particularly problematic due to the fact that social networking is integrating itself into a large portion of websites. Even job-hunting sites such as LinkedIn are off limits, cordoning offenders even further from society and basically demolishing the idea that the criminal justice system can actually reform.

You go to jail, you serve your time, but even after you're supposedly rehabilitated and when you're allowed to re-enter society, you're still imprisoned.

Mike Doyle of Chicago Now makes an interesting point delineating one type of crime from another.

"A maniac with a gun can shoot a child, leave them physically and emotionally scarred for life, go to prison for 20 years, get out on parole, and continue on with their lives. Why should sex offenders be treated more harshly than murderers?"

Illinois has enacted potentially dangerous legislation. If this phenomenon spreads, the US is at risk of creating, as Doyle puts it, 'virtual concentration camps'.

Broadband speed test

See also: Facebook begins testing 'lite' version

IDG UK Sites

Windows 10 release date, price, features UK: Staggered release with PCs coming first this summer -...

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

MacBook Pro 15in preview: better battery life, faster storage and a new discrete graphics chip may...