2008-10-17 / Top Stories

House Passes New Crackdown On Online Predators

Child predators will no longer be able to hide behind computer screens and online aliases under a new bill passed by the House of Representatives. Representative Anthony Weiner, a member of the Judiciary Committee and a cosponsor of the legislation, said the move would boost security on popular online tools used by children, such as MySpace, instant messenger and Facebook.

The Keep the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators (KIDS) Act cracks down on online predators by requiring sex offenders to register their online identifiers, such as e-mail and instant messenger addresses, with the National Sex Offender Registry; keeps sex offenders off social network sites, such as MySpace and Facebook, by requiring the Attorney General to share the online identities of sex offenders with the websites; and boosting penalties for sexual predators who lie about their age with the intent of sexual contact with a child.

In January 2007, Weiner released a report showing that more than 85 percent of the registered sex offenders in New York City live less than five blocks from schools, and 670 sex offenders live within just two blocks. Some offenders are closer, permanently residing less than 500 feet away from unwitting parents, educators and children.

"Only requiring disclosure of a sex offender's physical address ignores the growing role of the Internet as a tool for child predators," Weiner said. "This legislation will help us track offenders and arm parents with tools to protect their children from online sex offenders."

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