YatPundit (yatpundit) wrote,

YatPundit: MySpace as an agent of Social Darwinism.

The implications and issues behind MySpace's decision to cooperate with law enforcement by identifying registered sex offenders who create MySpace profiles are interesting. My initial, knee-jerk-liberal reaction is that privacy wins out here. There are so many people who are listed on "registered sex offender" lists that have no business being there that wholesale cross-referencing scares me.

But then there's the notion of Social Darwinism. MySpace identifies sex offenders to Texas, and look what happens:

In Texas, a total of seven convicted sex offenders have been taken into custody. Six were registered sex offenders, arrested for parole violation. All six had MySpace profiles, despite the terms of their probation barring them from using the internet.

A seventh man was arrested for failing to register as an offender after his profile turned up on the social networking site.

None of the six men arrested has been charged with any new sexual offences, but between them have convictions ranging from aggravated sexual assault, to molestation of a child, and indecency with a child by exposure. The youngest victim was just four.

OK, if cross-referencing such as this produces lists of parole and probation violators, I can justify it as a way to help rid the world of Teh Stupid. We're not talking about prostitutes who end up "registered" because they were arrested plying their trade; these people have no business trolling through a teen-rich site such as MySpace. Staying off the internets was part of their parole/probation and they still go out there. One of the issues victims' rights advocates push strongly is the extremely high rate of recividism amongst sexual predators. As a society, we have regularly debated the notion of trying to prevent this recividism, and ofttimes extreme measures (extending prison sentences, confining sex offenders for "mental health reasons," etc. If MySpace's cooperation removes the dumbest of this group from society, maybe I'm willing to relax my rigid privacy stance.

[YatPundit] (YatPundit entry)

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