Kentucky has a new law requiring the state’s 6,245 registered sex offenders to register their electronic mail addresses with the Kentucky State Police (KSP) Sex Offender Registry. The law was created by Senate Bill 65, sponsored by Sen. Ray Jones II of Pikeville, and also requires the registration of any instant messaging, chat or other Internet communication name identities. The new law allows online companies, including social networking sites like MySpace, to cross-check their members against the KSP Sex Offender Registry.
At an April 3 press conference in the State Capitol, Sen. Jones had the following comments, "Sex offenders often pose as minors on the Internet or in chat rooms in hopes of luring children into dangerous situations. This bill will make sex offenders think twice before logging on to the Web with the intent to prey on children. With the passage of SB 65, law enforcement officers will have better tools to track sex offenders who are using the Internet, and it will allow parents a way to make sure that their children are not communicating on the Internet with a known sex offender."
Chief Security Officer for MySpace, Hemanshu Nigam of California, spoke of the importance of partnering with states in enforcing restrictions for sex offenders. “To protect all of our communities, we must require convicted sex offenders to register their online addresses in the same way that they are currently required to register their physical addresses,” said Nigam. “Kentucky is taking an important proactive step in making the Internet safer for all.”
MySpace is a popular online social networking service, allowing users to share messages, interests and photos with a growing body of friends. Users can send e-mails, post videos, listen to music and write blogs. Currently, it has more than 162 million registered users. There are approximately 100 other social networking sites on the Internet.
Two recent youth surveys found:
- 58 percent admit to using the Internet unsafely, inappropriately or illegally.
- 19 percent have met face to face with someone they first met online.
- 10 percent have met an online acquaintance of a different age face to face.
- 1 in 7 children admit to receiving an unwanted sexual solicitation online.
- Only 5 percent report unwanted sexual solicitation to a parent or law enforcement.
Source: i-SAFE & National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, 2006
“SB 65 will give law enforcement additional tools they need to help parents protect their children from harm,” said General Norman E. Arflack, Justice & Public Safety Cabinet secretary. “For a parent, there is no price too high to protect our children from predators.”
“As administrators of the Kentucky Sex Offender Registry, the Kentucky State Police will implement these new requirements as soon as possible,” said KSP Col. Shelby Lawson. “We appreciate the Legislature’s support of this enhancement to the Sex Offender Registry.”