This is something. Therefore this must be done.


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18 Responses

  1. Mike Dwyer says:

    While I am pretty much always concerned about legislative overreach these days (I’m becoming more and more libertarian as I near 40), I guess I understand the problem they are trying to address. My understanding about sex offenders (specifically child abusers) is that the recidivism rate is pretty high and psychologists straight-up don’t know how to fix these people. Online gaming networks seem like a fertile hunting ground for predators, but maybe I am not engaged enough to understand it. Afterall, I am still too cheap to pay for Xbox Live.Report

  2. b-psycho says:

    To meet potential victims via Xbox Live would involve a proportion of texting/talking versus actually playing the damn game that I’d think would come off awkward enough to quash its odds for success.Report

  3. DensityDuck says:

    Sex offenders are the new drug dealers.Report

  4. Mike Schilling says:

     If someone kills someone else, this is a tragic thing. If, however, someone kills someone else and they met this someone else on Craigslist? We’ve suddenly got ourselves some panicky headline material. 


    And there’s something about the internet that engenders this kind of nonsense.  If a crazed killer met his victim at a 7-11, I wouldn’t expect new regulation of convenience stores.Report

  5. db says:

    This is a very poorly tailored measure.  On the one hand, even if it succeeds in excluding all registered offenders parents will not be relieved of the need to monitor their children’s activities as predators who have not been caught will be unimpeeded. Nevermind that it will likely be so easy to circumvent that it won’t even in practice exclude registered offenders. On the other hand, online gaming services like XBox Live ban lots of activities that pose no threat whatsoever, and perhaps should be encouraged.  Talking/texting is just one of many things the system can be used for.  Should offenders be banned from netflix streaming? HBO Go? Digital distribution of games? Even when you are actually playing multiplayer games it is extremly rare for anyone to talk or communicate with other players.Report

  6. DensityDuck says:

    It does seem like this is an obvious First Amentment violation.  There’s nothing in there about “except for pedos LOL”.Report

  7. Kazzy says:

    I wonder if this might have the opposite effect.  Yes, it is possible that a pedo (previously convicted or otherwise) might use something like XBox as a way of targetting victims.  I’m sure someone will (if they haven’t already) made an analogy between XBox Live and playgrounds and blahblahblah.  But isn’t it also possible that giving pedos something to occupy their time, like playing video games, might keep them from doing this stuff?

    I might be painting very broadly here, but my hunch is that most pedophiles have trouble connecting and forming healthy relationships with other adults.  It would not surprise me if video games were a natural draw, as success in them does not require a healthy relationship with an adult (or anyone).  (PLEASE note that this is NOT saying the inverse is true… that someone drawn to video games might also be drawn to pedophilia… only that pedophilies and other folks with socialization issues might be drawn to nonsocial hobbies like video games.)  Take away video games and the minimal but real social interaction they might provide and these guys might have that much less to fill their time with.

    I have no idea how sound a theory that is.  But it seems worth considering.  Especially given how little evidence there is that this law will actually curb any abuse.

    Here’s a thought:  Suppose the government did nothing.  Could XBox Live or any other company opt to ban registered offenders from their communities?  Would this amount to discrimination?Report

  8. Murali says:

    Also, when sexting teenagers get placed on the sex offender list, you can probably tell things related to such lists has more to do with signalling about how much you care about The Children than any actual concern for victims of sexual abuse.Report

  9. This reminds me of one of those things designed to make “us” feel safer, like ESTA or the TSA, but kinkier.Report

  10. DavidTC says:

    I think there’s a rather large distinction between actual dangerous sex offenders, and the people who end up on the list.

    The thing is, the actual real sex offenders we should be locking up, and doing it two times should mean we keep them locked up. (Although it is stuff like this that makes me wish we had some sort of all alternative to prison, where we just have repeat offenders live on an island somewhere and be monitored.)

    The problem is that a lot of ‘sex offenders’ are no such thing. I mean, forget age differences in dating…sometimes even stuff like public nudity puts you on the list.

    Other crimes, we specifically have punishments for in law. With ‘sex offender’, we’ve inexplicably made a big list of every crime that could be related to sex, and added the same amount of punishment to it, no matter what the actual punishment is in the law or the circumstances of the crime.

    That is not how crimes are supposed to be punished. It’s like if we decided that DUIs were horrible things, but instead of just increasing the punishment for violating laws about that, we decided to invent a class of people ‘driving offenders’ and demand that everyone who’s ever had a moving violation get a car with a breathalyzer and giant flashing warning lights on the top.

    If we want to set up something to control people at high risk for sex offenses, we need to set up such a think under the law, and then modify laws to _put people in that group_.  As part of their trial. Likewise, if we want to specifically make offenses involving children have harsher punishment, well, you know where that law is.

    We do not need to run around grouping every crime vaguely related to sex together….a lot of those crimes have a year in jail or whatever for a reason, because they are _lesser_ crimes.Report

    • Mike Dwyer in reply to DavidTC says:

      This is along the lines of my thoughts. There are sex offenders and there are SEX OFFENDERS.Report

      • DensityDuck in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        You’re just saying that guy’s a sex offender because he’s black!

        “Well, here’s this list of objective characteristics that we use to define sex offenders.  As we are going by an objective list and not a subjective determination it’s impossible for us to be basing this decision on racism.”

        Well hey, white boy over there fits some of those characteristics, too.  So he’s a sex offender too, right?  Because if he wasn’t, then you’d be applying the list in an inconsistent manner, which means you’re just using this list as a fig leaf to cover your inherent racism!Report