By Winston Skinner - The Times-Herald
Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker says Georgia laws have been strengthened to protect young people using the Internet and victims of identity theft.
Baker, who came to Newnan on Friday to address the Newnan Rotary Club, said he worked with seven other attorneys general to strengthen laws prosecuting adults who seek to sexually exploit minors through the Internet. "Our kids know a lot about MySpace and Facebook," he said.
MySpace and Facebook are social networking sites "where the kids of America are now spending a great deal of their time," Baker said. Not everyone purporting to be a teen on MySpace, however, is.
- And not everyone making and passing laws about technology, know nothing about technology. Plus, requiring PASSWORDS is a total invasion of privacy, and you can bet it will be fought in court.
"In the past, we had to fight crime in the streets of America," Baker said. The challenge of Internet crime is that it occurs electronically.
Baker compared taking one's children to a park -- and watching them closely -- to letting them log onto the Internet. When young people access the Internet, "they are open now to a much, much broader world than the park you just left," Baker said.
Baker said sexual predators daily use their computers in an effort to entice young people. "Many of them are successful," he said.
During Baker's tenure as attorney general -- which began in 1997 -- laws have been passed which strengthened the penalties for those who seek to sexually exploit children through the Internet. When the law first was addressed, the crime was a misdemeanor, but it is now a felony. "I thought it was the right thing to do, and we did it," he said.
Part of the process was contacting the social networking companies. Though they were initially resistant to working with the state -- "I think the companies saw us as interfering with their business" -- they eventually agreed to help, Baker said.
The companies now seek to match sexual predator lists, which include real names and aliases for many repeat offenders, with users and remove those people from the system. The companies have also been asked "to do a better job of age verification," he said.
- Again, a misuse of words. "match sexual predator lists," should be "match sex offender lists!" Because not all sex offenders are friggin' predators!
Baker said he is not anti-business, pointing to his work in economic development while he was in the state legislature. "We went from Alabama to Tokyo, trying to find the next big deal," he said.
"That's not what this is about. This is about protecting the next generation," Baker said at the noon luncheon meeting at Newnan Country Club. "We've got to make sure we're doing all we can."
- No, it's not about protecting people, because it will not. Anyone can create a new email address and password in a matter of minutes. This is about punishment, and using sex offenders are your scapegoat to look good to the sheeple, and to look tough on crime, all the while, violating the "oath of office" you took to uphold the constitution. So you lied when taking that oath, and again you are lying here, IMO.
Baker said the identity theft issue came to his attention about nine years ago. Statistics at that time showed identity theft was "the fastest growing white collar crime" in Georgia, he said.
- And what have you done to prevent identity theft? Not a darn thing. Because criminals will ALWAYS find a way to commit a crime, and the same goes for those people who want to harm a child!
The fact that Georgia had no laws at that time specifically addressing identify theft "concerned me as attorney general," he related.
There were instances in which identify thieves followed mail carriers, retrieved mail from boxes and -- "within the matter of an hour" -- had used information from that mail to get bogus credit cards that were being used in Los Angeles, Baker said.
- And it will, and still occurs to this day, so you have done nothing to prevent identity theft, just grandstanding to make it look like you have.
Laws were passed, and enforcement is helping to curb identity crimes. "It has made the state a better place. It has made the state a safer place," he said. "It's making a difference in Georgia."
- No it doesn't, it's another one of those placebo's to make you feel better!
In response to a question, Baker said proposals to allow gaming in Underground Atlanta and other locations present "a lot of problems."
Allowing such gambling "can't be done under the current framework we have" and would require a amendment to the Georgia Constitution, he said. Baker said he did not think an amendment to allow gaming would pass.
- And again, Gambling will always occur, and is occuring, no matter how many laws you pass. Again, more placebo's to make you feel better about your job, and pacify the sheeple!
Baker reminisced briefly about his years in the Georgia House of Representatives, recalling his work to get approval for the HOPE Scholarship program while he was floor leader for then-Gov. Zell Miller. "I remember shepherding that legislation through the House," he said. "We understand the importance of providing scholarship money."