« "On Justifying Punishment: The Discrepancy between Words and Actions" | Main | Around the criminal blogosphere »

October 15, 2008

New federal sex offender law (with Senator McCain's imprint?)

Earlier this week President Bush signed into law two new statutes aimed at sex offenders.  This official press statement from the White House provides a summary of the new laws:

On Monday, October 13, 2008, the President signed the following bills into law:

S. 431, the "Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act of 2008" or the "KIDS Act of 2008," which requires: sex offenders to provide Internet identifiers, including e-mail addresses, to State sex offender registries; and tasks the Justice Department to establish and maintain a system that allows social networking websites to compare Internet identifiers of its users with those provided to the National Sex Offender Registry;

S. 1738, the "PROTECT Our Children Act of 2008," which requires the Department of Justice to create and implement a National Strategy for Child Exploitation, Prevention, and Interdiction; statutorily establishes the existing Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Program; and makes other amendments to Federal child pornography laws.

These new laws have not yet gotten much traditional media attention, but Corey Yung at Sex Crimes has some of the early coverage.  Notably, this Wired article suggests that Senator John McCain can take some credit for the KIDS Act of 2008, but this Newsday article gives credit to Senator Charles Schumer.  I am hopeful that this official press release from Senator Schumer's office is accurate when it provides this account of the background and particulars of the legislation:

The legislation, which is co-sponsored by Senators Barack Obama (D-IL), John McCain (R-AZ) and 18 other senators, passed the House without objection two weeks ago, and then cleared the Senate by unanimous consent on September 30.  The new law will require sex offenders to register their online identifiers, such as email and instant messaging addresses, with the National Sex Offender Registry.  This information will be released only to participating websites in a secure and protected form so that website operators can monitor their services and expel sex offenders from their pool of users if they choose. Failure to register or update registration of email information, like other required information, will subject violators to up to ten years’ imprisonment.

October 15, 2008 at 04:50 AM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference New federal sex offender law (with Senator McCain's imprint?):

» Sex Offenders Required to Register Internet Details from Sex Crimes
Under a new law signed by President Bush (Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act of 2008 or the KIDS Act of 2008,), social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace will be able to track and expel potential [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 15, 2008 10:43:55 PM


A new site has emerged and it has everything you ever needed. Free access from your mobile phone and free access to its database, allowing you to search for any sexual offender in all 50 states simultaneously. All you need is to go and find out how it is to have no worries: www.predatorbarrier.com

Posted by: Jesse Streitman | Oct 15, 2008 9:16:28 AM

Interesting, the PROTECT Our Children Act of 2008 doesn't seem to have the p2p / internet surveillance which was originally included in Protecting Children from Pornography and Internet Exploitation Act of 2008.

Anyone know why that is?

Posted by: | Oct 15, 2008 9:22:48 AM

This appears to be worst sort of feel good legislation imaginable. Given how many people drop off the physical address lists which can be verified with just a little work, I can't imagine how this would achieve anything in practice.

Far more effective would be parole/probation requirements that someone not use a computer at all. I've seen a few cases of lifetime probation, not that I'm sure that's an answer either.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Oct 15, 2008 11:41:23 AM

"A new site has emerged and it has everything you ever needed."

Isn't it odd how many "free" sites offer the same information that is also "free" from the government? Truth is, the non-government "free" sites do indeed make a profit, and they do so by using the "free" information that is gathered, stored, updated, and (supposedly) confirmed as correct with taxpayer-funded programs.

As to how nifty-cool the laws are, I think some lawmakers hope they'll be seen as hip and happening because they passed a law with that new-fangled Internet thingy in the name. How else to explain the seemingly unshakeable conviction that the expansion of a database (which has already failed to do its supposed job) will prevent future victimization?

Posted by: Arika | Oct 15, 2008 11:59:19 AM

Take the credit? Compare the NYCLU Legislative Memo: The Electronic Security and Targeting of Online Predators Act (e-STOP).

If these pols deserve any credit it should be good time credits while serving sentences for perjury after violating their oaths to uphold the Constitution.

Posted by: | Oct 15, 2008 1:12:04 PM

"I think some lawmakers hope they'll be seen as hip and happening because they passed a law with that new-fangled Internet thingy in the name."

That is the only purpose of this law; it has no other purpose.

Posted by: Daniel | Oct 15, 2008 1:28:23 PM



Read this case Decided weeks prior to the KIDS Act being signed into law, addressing the State of Utah's version of the law. It is UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!!! It will be fought, just the same as it was in the State of Utah...

You cannot search through someone's personal papers or communications without a warrant, issued by a judge, or "unmask" their identity in anonymous internet speech with proof that a crime has been committed or is being commited by a certain INDIVIDUAL.

Additionally, according to the decision of the Federal Judge in Utah sex offenders do not forfiet thier rights to protected anonymous online speech as a result of thier convictions, PERIOD!!!

Posted by: | Oct 16, 2008 1:13:33 AM

The deep background of the bill can be found here: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/5/31/142742/315

McCain introduced the email registration provision in his S.4089 back in Dec. 2006. He did it at the request of Rupert Murdoch. At the time MySpace was under attack by a coalition of state AGs who were threatening suit unless MySpace changed the design and functionality of the site to protect minors from accessing adult material and adults from accessing minors. MySpace refused and approached McCain with the idea of an online ID registry, and McCain bit. MySpace safety czar Hemanshu Nigam, a former federal prosecutor at CEOS, designed the law.

After S.4089 was ridiculed by the blogosphere, it died along with that session of Congress. McCain and Schumer brought it back to life as a stand alone law, s.431 and Obama and Clinton quickly signed on. Just as quickly, they all had profiles on MySpace Impact, soliciting donations and offering merchandise for sale.

Schumer amended the bill, Leahy signed off on a fraudulent Senate Report, and Conyers amended it further, after he had gutted the House version of the bill because;
"Earlier versions of this bill required registration of online identifiers of sex offenders. And as the gentleman knows, a sex offender can change his user name and IP address in about two seconds, so we didn't feel that was particularly helpful. We thought monitoring sex offenders before they ever got on the Internet was a better way to go, and we're glad that we've been able to reach some closure with him on that subject."

The monitoring applied to those on conditional release only. It's unclear why Conyers caved, but it's quite clear why Murdoch approached McCain, and why Obama, Clinton and others quickly signed on.

It's less clear why the media never called out these hypocrites for protecting Murdoch's business interests:

Posted by: yahoo | Oct 16, 2008 6:01:51 PM

As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by FIVE different FAMILY MEMBERS and the wife of a RSO I can assure you that these zoning laws have done nothing and will do nothing to prevent any type of criminal behavior. In fact, statistics have shown over and over that all any of these laws have done is cause more problems to include an increase in vigilante activity.

If you seriously think about any of the sex offender laws and how "effective" they are all you have to do is look at how well the "war on drugs" have worked... or should I say have NOT worked.

Fact is the highest percentage of sex crimes are done by someone the child or family know and trust. Most often within the childs own home by a family member. It is true that SOME sex crimes, just like any other type of crime is done to a stranger. However, sex crimes are of the LOWEST rate of all criminal activity and of the LOWEST recidivism rate.

Truth is that as soon as someone mentions these laws are " for the safety of the children" thats all society needs to hear. What people don't realize is that their children are in MORE danger of getting hit by a car or given drugs then they are of being "attacked" by a sex offender. My gosh, a child is in more danger of being stung by a bee and going into anaphylactic shock. How and why do I say that??

Realistically, IF a child is being watched and not left unattended the chances of any criminal activity happening to them would drop to an ALMOST non existent level. However, the majority of people don't take the time to watch their own children. ( I have no doubt I am getting bashed right now for that comment even tho it is ever so true)

I've often heard people say they can't afford day care for before and after school. All they would need would be another parent who is home and going to the same school to walk their child.... So what they are saying is, my child's safety isn't worth the .... maybe $25.00-$50.00 a week it MIGHT cost . ??? You have to be kidding me! Most people spend more on fast food or getting their nails done... or even cigarettes in a weeks time!

I am NOT saying that I don't think their are true criminals out there and I am NOT saying that I don't think we as a society need to protect the innocent. What I am saying is it is time to stop thinking the problems of society can be resolved by acting in fear of the unknown. The only way to solve anything is to think with logic. Its also time to stop blaming all sex offenders for the crimes done by a handful of pedophiles.

I also want to add that in all these cases where laws are under a childs name, that child was KILLED. That now makes that crime a murder. It also needs to be noted that in the case of Adam Walsh, his mother left him alone in the toy section while she was shopping for a lamp. Also, it is NOT proven that Adam was sexually assaulted at all since all they ever found was his head in a storm drain.

Thank you,

Posted by: Mrs.K | Oct 30, 2008 1:56:13 PM

To all concerned:

We are a buzz generation company and we made an error when we put in Jesse Streitman's name into our list to post. It was an error since corrected. Mr. Streitman does not endorse any websites through our company.

Posted by: Malshua Ghetz | Nov 11, 2008 7:00:01 AM


Posted by: noreila angela t. diga | Feb 8, 2009 12:04:54 AM


Posted by: noreila angela t. diga | Feb 8, 2009 12:05:26 AM


Posted by: noreila angela t. diga | Feb 8, 2009 12:05:36 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB