Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Topic: Facebook and Former Offenders

If you are a former sex offender (no longer required to register) -or- a former registered sex offender (still required to register) then you must know about Facebook Policy and other social network policies regarding any person previously convicted of a sex offender. Simply stated they do not want you on their website.

However, before we look at that issue folks need to know about states which have enacted laws to criminalize access to social networks by their registered offenders. To learn more about that click HERE.

Finally, in spite of social network policies, and states having laws to prevent access to such sites, folks also need to know what the federal government has done with a federal system to provide personal information of every registered sex offender nationally to social network websites, so that, the social network site will close accounts of those registered (the government does not admit this though). And I might add in violation of federal privacy laws! To learn more about that click HERE.

If you just want to see the Facebook section then scroll down:

Facebook Does Not Want Former Offenders:

February 2009 "Facebook gives sex offenders the boot" Facebook made a decision, they did not want former sex offenders on their website, a social networking site. Can they do it, yes, they own the site and legally can set the terms for anyone wanting an account. Right or wrong, they made this decision! Lets look at more of this article:
Facebook has removed more than 5,500 convicted sex offenders from its social networking Web site since May, Connecticut's attorney general said Thursday.

Richard Blumenthal said the world's largest social networking site, which claims to have more than 175 million active members, reported to his office that 5,585 convicted sex offenders were found on the Web site and removed between May 1, 2008, and Jan. 31, 2009.

"The message in this number is Facebook has an equal stake in solving this problem of protecting children," said Blumenthal, who along with North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has led an effort remove sex offenders from the social networking Web sites.

"They have an equal stake in the predator problem and its solution." Earlier this month, rival networking site MySpace announced it had removed 90,000 sex offenders in a two-year period.

Chris Kelly, Facebook's chief privacy officer, said the convicted sexual offenders on the site were found through user reports, working with local law enforcement agencies and using the national sex offender registry. He said Facebook's focus on members using their real names and identities helps discourage sex offenders, and even more is being planned to prevent them from registering. Earlier this month, Facebook officials said policy dictated that no convicted sex offender be allowed to keep a Facebook page.

Kelly said the company has pitched a proposal to attorneys general around the country to develop a real-time system cross-checking available outlets and "block any registration from the get-go." "Our policy has been to remove convicted sex offenders when they are reported or identified through any means," Kelly said.

Facebook Terms of Agreement:

Facebook Terms of Agreement:
Registration and Account Security

Facebook users provide their real names and information, and we need your help to keep it that way. Here are some commitments you make to us relating to registering and maintaining the security of your account:

1- You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission.

2- You will not create more than one personal profile.

3-If we disable your account, you will not create another one without our permission.

4-You will not use your personal profile for your own commercial gain (such as selling your status update to an advertiser).

5- You will not use Facebook if you are under 13.

6- You will not use Facebook if you are a convicted sex offender.

How a Facebook User Reports a RSO:

For now, have a great day and a better tomorrow.
eAdvocate (BACK to the Top Page)

States with Laws Preventing Former Offenders
from accessing social networking websites:

There is a mass erroneous belief that, all former offenders goto social network sites for one purpose, to commit a crime against a minor. This belief is like a virus out of control and it is spreading nationally. But, lets look at the law of North Carolina, see this article:

Sex offender charged with accessing social networking site 3-22-2011 North Carolina:
STATESVILLE, NC - A Statesville man was charged with violating the sex offender laws by accessing a social networking Web site. ____, of 642 E. Broad St., Statesville, was on the Facebook Web site, which is a violation of the state’s sex offender laws, said Iredell Sheriff Phil Redmond. North Carolina law prohibits any registered sex offender to access and use a social networking Web site, or from creating or maintaining a personal Web site on a commercial social networking Web site, where the sex offender knows that the site permits minor children to become members.

Detective Sgt. Tim Edwards of the Special Victim's Unit investigated the allegation and found that Babson had a personal Web site on Facebook and was actively accessing it, Redmond said. According to North Carolina law, registered sex offenders cannot access social networking Web sites such as MySpace , Facebook, or Flickr but can be members of sites that are for adults only and do not allow persons under the age of 18 to become members.

They can become members of any adult Web site, including dating sites, unless the Web site specifically prohibits registered sex offenders from joining. MySpace and Facebook have specific policies in their terms of service that prohibit convicted sex offenders from using the site. Other sites may not state this specifically, but it is still a violation of the law.

Thankfully, there are some lawyers who have taken the state to court over this particular law:

NC attorneys taking on Facebook sex offender law 1-29-2011:
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Two North Carolina attorneys are taking on a 2008 state law barring registered sex offender from using social networking websites like MySpace or Facebook.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports Saturday that Glenn Gerding and Lynn Norton-Ramirez say it's unconstitutional to bar registered sex offenders from the sites. Gerding and Norton-Ramirez represent two of the eight offenders charged by Durham authorities last summer after an investigation determined that the men were maintaining accounts on the sites.

The attorneys say the law is too broad and prevents their clients from communicating with friends or promoting their own businesses. A spokeswoman says Attorney General Roy Cooper backs the law but can't comment on individual cases.

It is very important for folks to realize, that, whatever North Carolina law prohibits, that may or may not be exactly the way another state may write their law. Case in point is, Louisiana recently enacted a similar law. See: Judge refuses to block La. from enforcing new law limiting sex offenders' Internet access 8-19-2011:

The Louisiana law is far more restrictive and will likely be declared unconstitutional. The outcome of the North Carolina lawsuit may follow. These laws are being tested today, so there isn't much more that can be said, except, folks need to know what their state says on this topic before accessing social networks.

For now, have a great day and a better tomorrow.
eAdvocate (BACK to the Top Page)

The Federal Government Already Provides Social Network
sites with former offender's personal information:

In 2008 Congress enacted what is known as "The Kids Act" the purpose of which was to create a PRIVATE government data base (separate from the national registry) of all registered sex offenders nationally. This data base is maintained by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). We call it Checking System because it has no real name assigned to it.

Social networks (SNS), upon application to the DOJ for access to the data base, may compare that SNS accounts with the Checking System data base, and once they have a match, they ask the DOJ for more information on that match to make certain they have an account belonging to a registered sex offender (that violates Federal Privacy Laws but no one seems to care), then SNS site then closes that account on their SNS.

Note-1: It is unknown if a registrant is put into this hidden data base, if there is a way to be removed from this data base, or if one is automatically removed when they no longer have to register. Is this a forever data base, meaning do folks ever get purged from this data base? We do not know!

Note-2: The law (The Kids Act) states they must notify the registrant FIRST and give them a chance to appeal the decision to close their account. However, SNS sites have not followed that procedure, in fact, they ignore it and close the account. There is no way for the registrant to complain, as the law has nothing in it to even notify registrants that the appeal process exists. Congress constructed a closed circle law so they do not have to listen to registrant complaints. The details of the Kids Act and all this can be found HERE, but be forewarned the explanation is detailed showing every step of the law and how it is being handled.

Accordingly, until someone learns of this, by reading the above and the research behind it, then realizes they have been denied improperly, then finds a lawyer (Hopefully the ACLU) and sues the government, things will never change.

Now, many say, so what it is only a Facebook account, but that is not true, one must look at the law -as written- it is unconstitutional, anyone with a minimum knowledge of law can see that, it is a Congressional Ruse. Its purpose is only to get registered sex offenders off SNS in a way that they cannot complain, because those folks are not made aware of their rights.

So, readers, now you know, please spread the word, maybe some registered person will take up the cause, every step declared unconstitutional, eats at the roots of sex offender laws!

For now, have a great day and a better tomorrow.
eAdvocate (BACK to the Top Page)

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