Required qualifying statement: if you’re a sex offender, you’ve
likelypossibly (as pointed out by Asim, a recent piece in The Economist suggests that sex criminals in the U.S. are often victims of our screwed-up laws) done something very bad, and of which I do not, in any way, approve. That said, I’m pretty sure you still have a few rights…
As reported in the Chicago Tribune today, social networking is now a felony for many Illinois residents:
One law taking effect Jan. 1 makes it a felony for registered sex offenders to use social networking sites, a move aimed at taking another step toward shutting down an avenue of contact between an offender and victim.
The bill defines social networking as such:
13 (h) "Social networking website" means an Internet website 14 containing profile web pages of the members of the website that 15 include the names or nicknames of such members, photographs 16 placed on the profile web pages by such members, or any other 17 personal or personally identifying information about such 18 members and links to other profile web pages on social 19 networking websites of friends or associates of such members 20 that can be accessed by other members or visitors to the 21 website. A social networking website provides members of or 22 visitors to such website the ability to leave messages or 23 comments on the profile web page that are visible to all or 24 some visitors to the profile web page and may also include a 25 form of electronic mail for members of the social networking 26 website.
Sure, it seems right to stop violent criminal perverts from poking around MySpace, but every damned site on the web is integrating social networking features nowadays. Is it offensive to the public interest if a sex offender shares an article on TimesPeople? What about LinkedIn? Do sex offenders not deserve a place to post their resume?
Or, what about a social network devoted to sex offenders trying to rehabilitate? If there isn’t a Ning for this already, there sure oughta be.
This is bad legislation. Sex criminals have rights too, and this law effectively bans them from the Web.