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New law will require sex offenders to post crimes on websites

A bill recently passed and signed into law by the Louisiana Legislator hopes to make the Internet safer for potential victims of convicted sex offenders. According to the law, individuals that have been convicted of sex crimes will be forced to post their crimes on any and all social networking sites they use. The measure hopes that the disclosure of such information will warn other people that interact with the individual over the Internet.

This was not the first time that the state legislature has tried addressing the use of social media networks by sex offenders. Last year, a bill seeking to ban sex offenders from using social networking websites was created, but it was thrown out earlier this year by a federal judge who said the measure was unconstitutional because it was too broad.

Interestingly, the new law will have little effect on Facebook, the largest of the social networks. This is because the service already prohibits registered sex offenders from using the site per the company's terms of use. Facebook provides its users with instructions on how to report a user that is a registered sex offender. Once officials with Facebook verify a claim, the user's account is disabled and removed, along with any information that may have been associated with the person's profile. In Louisiana, social networking sites are allowed access to all records on convicted sex offenders so that they can verify the status of their users.

If a sex offender in the state wanted to use the site, he or she still could simply by not reporting the crimes they have been convicted of on his or her profile. But the new law makes lying about or omitting information in such a way illegal-penalties for this include a $1,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison.

Other social networking sites do not have prohibitions against sex offenders in their terms of service, so the new law would be pertinent to these accounts. Those sites without sex offender clauses in their terms of service include both Twitter and Tumblr, two of the most popular social networking sites besides Facebook. All three of the aforementioned sites do not allow children under the age of 13 to use their sites.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Louisiana to require sex offenders to list crimes on social networks," Laura Huatala, June 22, 2012

1 Comment

I think this is a big step for stopping sex offenders from either committing or re-committing these offenses. Even though their information is already out in the public this makes it more accessible for more people. Great legislation. Thanks for the article.

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