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July 2000Vol. 1, No. 5Would Megan's Law Work Online?

Proposals to protect children from online sexual predators, have both supporters and opponents. In two States, measures are being considered that would force convicted sex offenders to reveal their online identities or bar them from certain sites. Congress also is considering legislation aimed at deterring "cybermolesters." (For details, "Megan's Law May Apply to Cyberspace, College Campuses" in this issue of CBX.)

Critics of the measures contend that:

  • Such legislation is unenforceable because online services offer up to seven different screen names for each account, and adopting new names or switching between names takes seconds
  • Internet privacy issues have not been considered
  • The laws would impose an unending punishment.

Supporters of the measures contend that:

  • Parents could erect protective barriers for their children if they had a list of sex offender screen names through Internet filtering features
  • The threat of jail time would serve as a deterrent to online predators.