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Georgia Bill Could Ban Sex Offenders from Social Networking Sites

Rob Teilhet
Rob Teilhet

State legislations is in the works for removing sex offenders from sites like Facebook and Myspace. Rob Teilhet, a state legislator and candidate for Attorney General, is working to allow state authorities to send offenders' information directly to sites to get their profiles banned permanently.

These measures have already been put in place in New York, with California and Oklahoma also considering. With the high publicity and success of Dateline's "To Catch a Predator" series, is a wonder this hasn't been introduced sooner. According to Teilhet, 1 in 5 children are approached online with 1 in 33 approached heavily. Sadly, of those approached online, only 1 in 4 children report it to their parents, according to the online safety advocacy group, Enough is Enough.

Teilhet wants Georgia offenders to be required to register any usernames or passwords they use with law enforcement. This would help law enforcement track the activity of those usernames online. He believes Facebook and Myspace would play a key role in monitoring the activity of offenders. "It's not a matter of where Georgia gets jurisdiction over some Norwegian Internet provider, it's up to the social networkers themselves to do the enforcement," Teilhet said. "And they want to do this. This bill just gives them the authority to make it happen. Authority anywhere for sex offenders in the state of Georgia."

Honestly, I don't see this as an effective deterrent when offenders can sign up for a new username that they won't report to law enforcement. It's very easy to sign up for new online identities, as proven by social media strategists, who are responsible for managing the online brands of multiple clients. Without involving the developers and thoughtleaders of social media and social networks, this plan may create more work to monitor than what it was designed to prevent.

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