Sex offenders could be forced to register their email addresses and chatroom names on the Sex Offenders Register, the UK government announced today, coinciding with International Safer Internet Day. Refusing to do so could result in a jail term of up to five years.
Well done everybody in government, give yourself a pat on the back. Once again you’ve managed to show that you have the IT competency of my cat. Have you even used the Internet before?
I would gladly put my email address and chatroom names on the Register (if I were a sex offender, of course) as how difficult is it to log onto Hotmail, Yahoo! or GoogleMail and register for a new email address? I’m also pretty confident that the ‘personal details’ you are required to enter are not verified in any way whatsoever.
Then again, sex offenders are a law abiding people, so once they’ve entered their details on the Register I can’t see them moving their fingers ever so slightly to the side and typing in a different chatroom name. God bless ‘em, every one!
Seriously though, this is the type of legislation that is purely counter-intuitive as those enforcing this will be thinking ‘We’ve got him tracked; we have his email addresses and Internet aliases. Let’s ignore him now and let the system do the work.’
Then again, I’m pretty sure this is going to win some votes for Labour from the parents of the MySpace Generation.
One hour later it seems the BBC have realised this silliness and have now consulted a computer ‘expert’ and edited their original article saying:
This is a step in the right direction, but internet identities can be changed “in a matter of seconds”.
However, it does seem that they haven’t noticed the error I pointed out to them… that their external link to the Safer Internet Day website is malformed, with two instances of ‘http://’