California bill would police offenders' internet use

Posted on May 26th, 2010 No Comments

A new bill being reviewed in the California legislature would prevent registered sex offenders from using social networking sites such as Facebook and Myspace. If caught, they could be imprisoned based solely off of that violation.

Harriet Salarno, president of Crime Victims United, said in support of the bill, “Predators have left the playground and are now going to the Internet.”

Parole agents and civil libertarians oppose the bill, questioning whether or not time could be better spent policing the offenders’ physical contact with children, child pornography, and other similar activities.

“All they have to do is go to a public library and use a fake name and we’re not going to find it,” said Melinda Silva, a Sacramento parole agent and president of their statewide union.

The measure would allow the use of social networking sites for work-related purposes if OKed by authorities.

A San Diego State University criminal justice professor, Paul Sutton, cautioned lawmakers to tread carefully. Monitoring Internet use “is all but impossible” and some registered sex offenders need the Internet for work or use it to find jobs, he said.

Interview with a Former DUI Client