Social nets back Cuomo bill to register sex offenders

MySpace and Facebook are lined up behind a new bill introduced by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo that would require sex offenders to register email addresses, and social networking and instant messaging IDs, The New York Times reports.

MySpace and Facebook are lined up behind a new bill introduced by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo that would require sex offenders to register email addresses, and social networking and instant messaging IDs, The New York Times reports.

Under the bill, Level 3 sex offenders, whom the state considers the most dangerous and most likely to commit another sex crime, and sex offenders who used the Internet to commit sex crimes or who committed crimes against minors would be barred from social networking sites. Such offenders would also be barred from communicating online with children.

Lower-level sex offenders and sex offenders who did not use the Internet in their crimes would not be barred from the sites under the bill. MySpace and Facebook said, however, they would bar them anyway.

MySpace's Hemanshu Nigam, who signed a pledge last month to implement principles of safe social networking, chiefly including technology to identify sex offenders on the site, noted that there is little distinction between online and offline these days.

"We often talk about the virtual world of the Internet as separate and apart from everyday life," Nigam said at the press conference. "However, as our teens spend more and more time online this has become a difference without a distinction. Rather than treating the online and offline worlds differently, our goal has been and will continue to be to make our virtual neighborhoods as safe as our real ones."

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