In a move that could help keep track of sex predators’ whereabouts on the web, Virginia legislators will vote on a bill in the New Year that will require sex offenders to register all email and IM names they use online.
Senators Charles Schumer (D-New York) and John McCain (D-Arizona) are also spearheading a similar initiative for Federal regulators to approve.
Virginia Attorney General, Bob McDonnell, said “by requiring registration, and by making the penalties for failure to register the same as those for failure to register physical and mailing addresses, we will take another positive step towards protecting children online.”
MySpace has indicated it will be happy to help in the efforts. With email addresses, MySpace and other social networks will be able to track the whereabouts of any registered sex offenders in their systems.
Hemanshu Nigam, Chief Security Officer at MySpace.com released the following statement through the offices of the Virginia Attorney General:
“This legislation is an important recognition that the Internet has become a community as real as any other neighborhood and is in need of similar safeguards. Its passage will be a landmark moment in the history of Internet safety.”
“By requiring offenders to register any e-mail address, IM screenname, or chat handle, and aggregating that information in a database, websites that choose to block sex offenders can do so and law enforcement will have new tools to employ against predators who attempt to misuse the Internet to find potential victims. We applaud Attorney General McDonnell’s leadership on this important issue and look forward to this legislation becoming law.”
“The safety and security of our members is a top-priority for MySpace. This legislation combined with our announcement last week of plans to build the first real-time searchable national sex offender database will make the Internet a far safer place for all.”