A recent effort from Massachusetts state legislators and District Attorney’s Offices would put into law a bill that would require sex offenders to register their online names, including e-mail addresses, as well as their accounts on Twitter, Facebook and the like.
The proposed bill would apply to Level 3 Massachusetts Sex Offenders and is being anticipated to being heard later this month. Under the proposal, a failure to register online aliases would be a criminal offense, subjecting the offender to jail time.
The reasoning behind the proposal, according to those sponsoring the bill, is to provide law enforcement with another method of policing those sex offender deemed most ‘dangerous’ and likely to offend by the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board.
Currently, Level 3 Sex Offenders must register with their local police department and the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board annually. The registration includes the person disclosing his/her address; work address; if in school, the name of the school; and he/she is photographed and fingerprinted. By law, police districts across the state must share the registration information of all Level 3 Sex Offenders residing or working in their community.
The proposed law does have some precedent, although does not appear to go as far as laws in some other states, which actually prohibit and make it illegal for sex offenders to even have any social networking accounts at all.
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Attorney Lefteris K. Travayiakis may also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.