Convicted sex offenders may soon have to give their Facebook, MySpace and any other social network accounts to law enforcement officials along with their residential address each year.
The California Senate today passed legislation to make this a requirement with a vote of 32-2 in favor.
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“Social networks have become a central part of our children’s lives and sex offenders are going there to lure them,” said Senator Sharon Runner. “Just as they have to register their physical whereabouts, it follows that they must also make known where they go in cyber space.”
Senate Bill 57, introduced by Runner, will require all registered sex offenders to disclose their online social network addresses as part of their annual registration requirement.
This measure is based on New York State’s E-STOP Law. Illinois has also adopted a similar law.
SB 57 simply adds a data field to the sex offender registration form which already requires sex offenders to annually register their residence, workplace, and vehicle information.
Under this measure, no one will be denied access to social networking websites.
Runner believes that her legislation will give sex offenders reason to think before engaging in predatory practices on the Internet.
In presenting her bill, Runner reminded her colleagues that John Albert Gardner, who confessed last year to the rape and murders of teenagers Chelsea King and Amber Dubois, had a MySpace page with graphic descriptions of sex acts.
The last time Gardner accessed this website was the day before Chelsea’s murder.
Senate Bill 57 now moves to the Assembly for its consideration.