Government Technology

Virginia Partners With MySpace.com to Propose E-mail Registration of Sex Offenders



December 11, 2006 By

Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell today announced that he will propose legislation to require convicted sex offenders in the commonwealth to register their e-mail addresses and instant messaging (IM) identities with Virginia's recently revamped Sex Offender Registry. MySpace.com's Chief Security officer Hemanshu Nigam released a statement in support.

This decision comes after a discussion in Attorney General Bob McDonnell's Youth Internet Safety Task Force, said the AG. A member who represents MySpace.com told the group about the popular Web site's initiative seeking federal legislation that would require convicted sex offenders to register all of their e-mail addresses in a national sex offender database. The group instantly supported the idea but added the additional requirement of instant-messaging identities.

Today's announcement, said the AG in a release, makes the commonwealth the first state to propose such an addition and it is a result of the partnership formed between MySpace.com, other members of the Task Force and the commonwealth. State Senator Ryan McDougle, a member of the Task Force, is the anticipated patron of the legislation.

By creating a database of e-mail addresses and IM names, and allowing social networking sites such as MySpace.com to access that database, law enforcement will be able to help such sites monitor users. When MySpace.com, or any other social networking site, comes across the e-mail address or IM name of a registered sex offender, they will now have the ability to both delete and/or block these individuals from accessing their site.

Speaking about the proposed legislation McDonnell noted, "We require all sex offenders to register their physical and mailing addresses in Virginia, but in the 21st century it is just as critical that they register any e-mail addresses or IM screen names. This has become readily apparent during the meetings of our Youth Internet Safety Task Force, and it is time we take this step. MySpace.com has led the way in coming up with this proactive solution, and Virginia will take the lead in being the first to propose the measure on a state level. I hope other social networking sites will join MySpace.com in implementing the software necessary to accomplish this goal."


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