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Proposed law to 'out' sex offenders on Facebook

New Jersey state Senator Christopher Bateman has proposed a law that would require every convicted sex criminal to share that status on Facebook. The bill is modeled on a recently enacted Louisiana law, but it is thought by many to be redundant.

Facebook already prohibits convicted sex offenders from using the site. Moreover, New Jersey law puts most convicted sex offenders under parole supervision for life in addition to requiring resgistration. The conditions of their parole forbids them from using any social media sites such as Facebook, and some are prohibited from using a computer at all.

Most important, sex offenders who are going to commit crimes again figure out how to get around the restrictions. They will almost certainly develop ways to circumvent a Facebook law if one is enacted. One obvious method is to use a false name, but the biggest problem with a law such as this is that most sex offenders are never arrested and convicted. A Facebook law would not apply to them.

Megan's Law, which requires registration and notification, has been proven to make very little difference in New Jersey when it comes to preventing offenses committed both by repeat sex criminals and by first-time offenders. Some have said that laws such as Megan's Law or the proposed Facebook law provide a false sense of security, and may actually make things worse.

Source: nj.com, "False security on sex crimes: Bill would require notice on Facebook, but would it do any good?" July 12, 2012.

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