Governor wants to require sex offenders to disclose their online user names
New York's governor says convicted sex offenders should be required to disclose their social media screen names to prevent them from using apps to exploit children.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that existing laws targeting online predation don't account for new technology. His proposal, unveiled as part of his State of the State agenda, would require sex offenders to hand over screen names for dating and gaming apps, as well.
The Democrat's proposed legislation would also make it a crime for convicted sex offenders to misrepresent themselves online.
"Our laws must keep pace with the world around us and with this measure we will help safeguard those using these web sites and apps, and stop those who seek to harm and exploit our children once and for all," Cuomo said.
He said sex offenders currently only have to provide the state with information for their social media accounts. The state compiles that information into a list and sends it to certain social networking companies which have used it to purge accounts.
Cuomo's office says the 2008 law with those requirements has resulted in the removal of the social media accounts of 22,000 registered sex offenders.
"This powerful new tool will protect children in important ways by significantly limiting one of the main vehicles used to identify and exploit vulnerable children and youth," said Timothy Hathaway, the executive director of Prevent Child Abuse New York.
"The added value of making 'misrepresentation' a chargeable offense provides law enforcement, prosecutors and, ultimately, communities, leverage to act more aggressively on behalf of children."