The state of Louisiana is making individuals on its sex offender list make their status known on social networking sites.
Louisiana State Representative Jeff Thompson created the new law in order to keep state rules relevant to changing technology. The law is an addition to current sex offender notification laws, which require registered sex offenders to notify people and organizations of the location in which they live.
“Now that we are in the digital age, people get access to us not just by living near us,” said Thompson.
Those on the sex offender list in Louisiana, who are not banned from social networking sites, must make it very clear on their profiles that they are registered sex offenders. The information that they must include on their profile is the crime they’ve committed, a description of their physical characteristics, their address, and the jurisdiction of their conviction. All of this information must be available for all users to see, meaning the profile must be made public.
Those who fail to offer the above-mentioned information will receive a $1,000 fine and anywhere from two to 10 years of prison with hard labor. If this were to happen a second time, the fine would be bumped up to $3,000 with a five to 20 year sentence with hard labor.
The new law doesn’t mention specific social networks, but covers a broad spectrum. It defines a social network as any site that concentrates on social interaction and includes profiles, pictures and the exchange of messages or comments.
The new law goes into effect August 1, 2012.
This new law is somewhat similar to one that passed in Georgia back in 2009, which stripped sex offenders of their privacy by forcing them to hand over Internet passwords, screen names and email addresses. This allowed the government to track them.