New legislation announced to combat sex offenders smacks more of online politicking than it does of providing real means of protecting our kids. The legislation entitled "Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act of 2007" or the "KIDS Act of 2007" aims to expand the information sex offenders must register in the national registry to include e-mail, IM, or other Internet identifiers. Sex offenders are already required to register their phone number and addresses as per Section 119 of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.
"This bill provides social-networking sites, which are an increasingly popular way for kids to connect with their friends, with one more tool to help keep our children safe from dangerous predators on the Internet," said Representatives Earl Pomeroy in response to an inquiry from News.Com. Pomeroy cosponsored the bill along with Representative Paul Gillmor and MySpace.com's Chief Security Officer Hemanshu Nigam.
Poppycock. Social networking sites identify people through their e-mail address. E-mail addresses are easily forged, we all know that. The fact is the bill provides little more than a superficial bandaid to comfort parents who don't pay attention to where their kids hang out on the Internet.
Gillmore and Pomeroy are either ignorant or misleading. As for Nigam, we all know why he'd back the bill. MySpace has been in hot water since popular reports have pointed out that the site is a goldmine for child molestation.
Blacklisting sex offenders may make us feel good, but let's not make the mistake of thinking that this legislation will help much of anything.