UK sex offenders to be banned from some websites

Friday, April 4, 2008

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith who revealed the plan today.

Around 30,000 registered sex offenders in the United Kingdom could be made to provide the government with their email addresses, in order for their access to social networking sites to be blocked.

New government proposals would mean that the addresses provided would be passed onto sites such as Facebook, Bebo and MySpace, and others, who would then be responsible for blocking or monitoring access from those email addresses.

Offenders who refuse to, or provide fake emails, could expect jail terms of up to five years under the proposal, which, according to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is designed to allow children to be "free from fear" whilst on line.

The policy has been welcomed by online protection groups, however others have commented that the policing of the internet is not possible. The criticism comes on the same day that The Carphone Warehouse refused to disconnect customers who shared music for free.

The details of the policy will be decided in the future, by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, which currently investigates around 400 reports of abuse every month, and internet firms.

It is estimated that around half of all children aged from 8 to 17 have at least one profile on a networking site.