The home secretary will today outline plans to increase protection for children surfing the web, including new jail terms for convicted paedophiles who use social networking websites.
The measures, which mirror systems operating in the US, include a requirement for convicted sex offenders to give their email address to the police. If they use that address to sign up to a website such as MySpace, Bebo or Facebook, they could be imprisoned for up to five years.
What the fuck? This is completely stupid and, by the way, utterly illiberal on a number of levels. Over to Timmy first.
Isn’t it, ermm, sort of necessary to show that they actually did something wrong? You know, like groomed a child or something? Logging on to leave "kthnxbai" on a friend’s wall gets you five years now?
Silly boy, Timmy; of course you don't actually have to have done anything wrong. If that were the case, would the state be proposing to lock people up for 42 days even though they have done nothing wrong?
Some people are just going to have to realise that there are some groups of criminals, or suspected criminals, who absolutely shouldn't have any rights at all. Do you see? It's because they're evil and therefore they should be utterly banned from being able to interact with anyone whatsoever so that they can do what the state lacks the courage (and the exemption from EU law) to do, and just end it all.
Next, as the Nameless One points out, there really is nothing very much to stop these evil paedo bastards just signing up for new email addresses.
Because—ignoring the five year prison sentence incentive/threat—it is really easy to get a new e-mail address. Seriously. In-between typing these very words, I’ve set up a new e-mail address.* And regardless of what e-mail addresses sex offenders might give the government, they would find it just as easy to set-up a new e-mail address.
There is a risk posed by social networking websites—and the interweb as a whole—and that threat is not just limited to kids. However, the internet is less of a scary place than the government would have you believe.
Finally, Bag makes the rather salient point that someone who wants to break the law in one way, probably isn't going to be too worried about doing so in others.
I can see it now. Scene a little townhouse in Westminster. Two registered sex offenders in front of a computer where they are looking at a login screen for Facebook.
Kiddie Fiddler 1—'I just don't know what to do. I was just about to log on and risk 15 years in prison getting beaten up and screwed by big fat guys and then having to face my family again as a pervert but I can't because it asks for an EMail address and I've given the pigs mine already'
Kiddie Fiddler 2—'Just sign up for a free one with GMail or something'
Kiddie Fiddler 1—'Don't be stupid. I can't do that it's illegal. New law just came out. You think I would do something like that against the law?'
Kiddie Fiddler 2—'Sorry man. My bad. I should have thought of that myself. I know you are a honest and decent guy.'
Kiddie Fiddler 1—'OK. Apology accepted.'
They look at each other and after a while they turn the computer off and one picks up the latest copy of 'Save the Planet monthly'.
Kiddie Fiddler 1—'Well If I can't screw kids directly I'll screw up their lives in another way. '
He looks over the latest proposals and laughs. 'This should do it.'
We are ruled by a bunch of knee-jerk, authoritarian morons. I do wish they'd just do the decent thing: fuck off and die.
UPDATE: Longrider pisses all over one of Jacqui Smith's stupider comments (and that's saying something).
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said she wanted children to be “free from fear”.
Quite apart from not appreciating the difficulties these proposals mean when they attempt to put them into practice—throw-away email addys anyone? That statement is, without doubt, one of the most stupid I’ve heard coming from the mouth of a politician for a while—and, it is not without some stiff competition.
Fear is good. Fear is what keeps us alive. Fear is nature’s survival mechanism. A little fear instilled into children will prepare them for the realities of life in the real world. The real world is a big bad place and there are people out there who want to do bad things to us—so a little healthy fear keeps us on our toes. A world where we have no fear is a world where we are wrapped in cotton wool and, cosseted by a loving, caring, controlling state, we suffocate to death.
Quite. When people said that this was to be a "government of all the talents", I didn't realise that they meant "a talent for being totally fucking shit".
Although, to be fair, I might have guessed...