Well…I guess it is a start. The Government wants registered sex offenders to submit an active e-mail address when they register. If they submit a bogus e-mail address, they could face jail-time.
Then, online social networks could cross check the email addresses of new members against this sex offender database and deny membership to anyone appearing on the list.
Looks great on paper. Anything that will keep predators out of social networks that are geared toward kids is a big step in the right direction. But, what is the definition of “active” email address?
I, like most people, have numerous email addresses. Some I use frequently. Some I only use with family. Some I use with online registration forms, etc. Some I have not checked for months. I have so many because it is so easy to sign up for them. I don’t see how a registered sex offender can be prevented from signing up for a new email address, one that is not provided to authorities, and supplying that new address to get a membership to an online social network.
I surely hope that somebody making these decisions has come up with a way to prevent this from happening. The way I read it, it makes about as much sense as a submarine with a screen door.
But, in all fairness, I have been known to misread things before. Hopefully, I just don’t have all the details about how they are going to prevent the scenario mentioned above.
In the meantime, we wrote a post earlier this year on how parents can protect their kids on MySpace. If you are a parent, you should check it out.