Tuesday, February 3, 2009

FL - ACLU letter to City Of Miami Police Chief ( JTC )

Pulled from another source.  This was not sent to me!


This is an email sent to me by the ACLU. It was sent to the City Of Miami chief of police with regards to recent developments in the past couple of days at the Julia Tuttle Causeway. So far there has been no more harassment.

Also in the coming months as soon as it becomes available. I or whom ever gets it first, will post the most recent documentary still in the works by Nick Almeck from Current T.V. he was able to obtain funding to do a one hour documentary on the life of homeless sex offenders in Miami's JTC, and other homeless locations. Also we should see more officials speak about the effectiveness of the ordinance. Once again lobbyist Ron Brook has a mouthful to say about how he feels with regards to RSO issues. And Mr. Lundsford will also be seen.



John F. Timoney
Chief of Police
400 N.W. 2nd Ave.
Miami, FL 33128

Dear Chief Timoney:

It has come to the attention of the Greater Miami Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida that within the past week or so City of Miami police officers have repeatedly threatened to arrest homeless persons around the western bridge area of the Julia Tuttle Causeway for trespass upon public property. Specifically, homeless persons who are sleeping in the grassy areas on either side of the overpass have been warned by City of Miami police officers that, unless they move their bedding, tents and other personal belongings off the grass and underneath the overpass, they will be arrested for trespass to public property and their possessions will be destroyed.

This harassment of homeless individuals residing around the causeway overpass contravenes the letter, as well as the spirit, of the Settlement Agreement, to which the City of Miami was a signatory, in Pottinger, et. al, v. City of Miami, Case No. 88-2406-CIV-Atkins, a copy of which is attached for your convenience.

That Agreement concluded litigation against the City of Miami for violating the rights of homeless individuals by arresting them under various city ordinances and state statutes for engaging in "life sustaining conduct" on public property where there was no available shelter in which they could live. The Agreement defines "life sustaining conduct" as, inter alia, "eating, sleeping, sitting, congregating, or walking in public."

Para. VII (14)(C)(1). The Agreement defines "Homeless Person"as one who "lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate night time residence and has a primary night-time residency that is: . . .(c) a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings." Para. VII(10). "Public Property" is defined to include "all property owned by any governmental entity (federal, state, or local)," Para. VII (12), unless exempt pursuant to Para VII(12a).

Under the Agreement, City of Miami police officers may not warn, let alone arrest, a homeless person for sleeping on public property unless there is "available shelter," the officer has advised the person of and offered the "available shelter," and the homeless person has refused to accept it. Para. VII (14)(C)(2). Specifically, the homeless person to whom available shelter has not been offered may not be arrested, or threatened with arrest, for trespass by sleeping on public property, or for other misdemeanors conceivably associated with life sustaining conduct, such as sleeping in vehicles, littering, camping, erecting temporary structures in parks, etc. Para. VII(14)(C)(3)(a)-(k). Furthermore, the City is enjoined to "respect the personal property of all homeless people," even where arrest is permitted. VII(14)(F)(1). "In no event shall any city official or worker destroy any personal property known to belong to a homeless person, or readily recognizable" as such. Id.

As you are no doubt aware, the people residing under and around the western bridge area of the Julia Tuttle Causeway are homeless sex offenders. They are homeless because municipal and county residency restrictions have created vast exclusionary zones which have rendered virtually all affordable housing off-limits to them. They are engaging in life-sustaining conduct on public property that is not exempt under Para. VII(12a). Furthermore, because they are sex offenders, the homeless shelters in the City of Miami will not take them in. There is therefore no available shelter for this group of people. The Settlement Agreement is clear and unambiguous on this point: where a person is homeless, is engaging in life-sustaining conduct on non-exempt public property, and there is no available shelter for him, City of Miami police officers are prohibited from arresting or threatening to arrest him for trespass, and are prohibited from destroying, or threatening to destroy, his personal belongings.

Nor is there any basis under the Agreement for forcing the homeless persons residing around the causeway overpass, under threat of arrest or confiscation of personal property, to move their belongings under the overpass. The City of Miami has no right to require that its homeless population make itself invisible. The City of Miami is precluded by the Agreement from resorting to arrest and threats of arrest to achieve such a goal. The homeless population around the causeway will continue, inevitably, to grow -- as the exclusionary zones spread, with each additional bus stop, school and day care center, and as the number of sex offenders who have completed their sentences and are therefore released from prison increases as well. Just as the Pottinger Settlement established that the City of Miami may not "solve" its general homeless problem by sweeping it into jail, the City may not "solve" this particular homeless problem by sweeping it under a bridge.

We ask, therefore, that City of Miami police officers immediately be directed to cease and desist from arresting or threatening to arrest homeless sex offenders residing around the causeway overpass for trespass, and from destroying, or threatening to destroy, their personal belongings. We ask further that you notify us in writing forthwith (addressed to Ms. Sawyer at the address below) that this direction has been given so that we may inform the homeless offenders residing around the causeway overpass that they need no longer live in fear that they will lose their liberty or their property in contravention of the Pottinger Settlement Agreement.

Absent the receipt of such notification, we will invoke the "Enforcement/Mediation" provision in Paragraph 25a of the Agreement. Pursuant to that provision, we propose a meeting to either resolve this matter or to agree upon a mediator. If we do not receive requested notification within 48 hours, we will be in touch with your office to plan a time and place for the meeting.

Sincerely,

Carlene Sawyer
President, Miami Chapter of the ACLU of Florida
915 Palermo Avenue #105
Coral Gables, Florida 33134
Phone: (305) 299-4202
Fax: (305) 572-9922
Email: sawyerandfriends@aol.com


WA - HB-1142 - Calling for a study using radio frequency identification or other similar technology to electronically monitor sex offenders.

View the article here

Audio Removed due to TOS Violation


AN ACT Relating to electronic monitoring of sex offenders; and creating a new section.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:

NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. (1) The Washington association of sheriffs and police chiefs shall conduct a study using radio frequency identification or other similar technology to electronically monitor sex offenders.

  • (2) The study must include:

    • (a) An evaluation of the current state of radio frequency identification technology, including the capabilities and limitations of subcutaneous radio frequency identification tags;

    • (b) An identification of the ways in which current subcutaneous radio frequency identification technology may be used to electronically monitor sex offenders, including an evaluation of the costs and benefits of using the technology compared to the costs and benefits of methods currently being used to monitor sex offenders;

    • (c) An evaluation of developing subcutaneous radio frequency identification technologies, such as linking subcutaneous radio frequency identification tags with global positioning systems, and an estimate of the time frame in which the developing technologies will be available; and

    • (d) An identification of the ways in which developing radio frequency identification technologies may be used in the future to electronically monitor sex offenders, including an evaluation of the costs and benefits of using the technology compared to the costs and benefits of methods currently being used to monitor sex offenders.

  • (3) The Washington association of sheriffs and police chiefs shall report its findings to the legislature by December 31, 2009.


NM - Sex Offender Management Board - Meetings on Adam Walsh Act and Sex Offender Laws

Click the image to visit the site


OK - Indecent exposure trial is ordered - A Tulsa County district judge faces a felony count

View the article here

02/03/2009

By BILL BRAUN World Staff Writer

Tulsa County District Judge Jesse Harris must face trial on a felony count of indecent exposure, an out-of-county judge ruled Monday.

Osage County District Judge M. John Kane IV indicated that after "having carefully considered the law and the evidence," he found sufficient evidence to order Harris bound over for trial.

Kane slated a March 3 arraignment for Harris, at a time and place to be determined by a new judge who is likely to be assigned by State Supreme Court Chief Justice James Edmondson.

According to state statute, a judge who conducts a preliminary hearing shall not also handle the trial "except with the consent of all parties." Allen Smallwood, one of Harris' defense lawyers, said that a different judge will handle a trial in the case.

Harris, 54, was charged April 24 with two felony counts of indecent exposure. He has denied allegations that he exposed his penis on March 9 to two women outside a hotel in the 8200 block of East Skelly Drive.

Kane got the case in May after Tulsa County Presiding Judge Michael Gassett asked then-Supreme Court Chief Justice James Winchester to assign a judge from outside the judicial district of Tulsa and Pawnee counties.

Kane presided over a prolonged preliminary hearing that began Oct. 2. Testimony concluded Friday, and Harris did not testify at the hearing.

One contention of defense lawyers is that Washington County prosecutors, assigned to handle the case, overcharged Harris when they filed two counts — one involving each accuser — for a single alleged act.

Kane ordered Harris bound over on only one count, which will cover allegations involving both women.

One accuser is Kalisha Nolen, identified as a former girlfriend of the defendant.

The Tulsa World has a policy of not identifying alleged victims of sex crimes, but Nolen — also known by the first name of Kali — consented to publication of her name.

The other accuser was sentenced to prison in July on two felony DUI charges.

Lawyers for Harris have focused considerable attention in court on challenging the credibility of the two women.

Washington County District Attorney Rick Esser has said that credibility is a trial issue. Esser maintained that the prosecution's evidence at the now-concluded hearing was sufficient to establish that a crime was committed and that probable cause exists to believe that Harris committed the crime.

In his order issued Monday, Kane noted that the prosecution "is not required at preliminary hearing to present evidence which would be sufficient to convict at trial."

Any trial in this case will be conducted before a Tulsa County jury, Smallwood said.

Also Monday, lawyers agreed to take a deposition this week of a woman who was arrested Friday on a warrant issued when she failed to attend court to testify.

Rosa Luevano was a cleaning worker who saw the people in the parking lot and who was subpoenaed as a "critical" witness for the defense, Smallwood said previously.

After her arrest, Luevano was released on a personal recognizance bond and with an electronic monitor.


Sex Offenders and the 'Race to the Bottom'

View the article here

02/03/2009

By Amanda Kloer

Editor’s Note: Below is a post from change.org End Human Trafficking blogger Amanda Kloer, who worries that in the race to punish sex offenders and perpetrators of human trafficking, we’ve lost our focus on our goal – which is to prevent crimes from occurring. In a post on the End Human Trafficking blog today, I write about the balance law enforcement and victims’ rights group must strike between seeking individual punishment and the aim for more lasting, holistic reform.

In today's highly polarized political world, there are few issues upon which there is little debate. One of those issues is the immorality of sex crimes against children. That sex crimes against children are wrong is not debatable. However, the techniques to prevent these crimes and bring the perpetrators to justice are often hotly contested. Child advocacy groups, and especially child anti-trafficking groups, have recently begun to engage so fervently in the debate over these techniques that they may be losing sight of the ultimate goal in their "race to the bottom".

Prevention
The ultimate goal of sex offender-related policy is that sex offenses against children don't occur in the first place. Some states and municipalities, supported by child exploitation advocacy groups, have tried to prevent offenders from reoffending by placing strict restrictions on places they can live or work. In many places, child sex offenders cannot live within 2000 yards of places children gather, which includes churches, schools, playgrounds, parks, and other public places. However, these laws have been recently criticized because they either don't distinguish between the dangerous and non-dangerous sex offenders (i.e., someone arrested for raping a child vs. someone arrested for exposing himself on a public street), and because they create a false sense of security for urban families. Furthermore, many of these laws have become so strict they prevent sex offenders from effectively living anywhere.

Justice
Another concern is how to bring the perpetrators of sex crimes against children to justice. There has been a recent flurry of attention around the possibility of capital punishment since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Louisiana could not put a child rapist to death. The other countries which currently authorize the death penalty for non-homicide crimes (PDF) are Cuba, China, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Jordan (which in addition to rape have executed people for blasphemy, adultery, homosexuality, tax evasion and political dissent.) Is that a club we really want to join in the name of justice? And furthermore, would the death penalty really provide a disincentive for what is primarily a crime driven by severe psychological disease?

The Race to the Bottom
The slew of increasingly Draconian laws, some supported by anti-trafficking groups, aimed at demonizing sex offenders and preventing them from living and working in society have been called "America's New Witch Hunt" (PDF). I prefer to think of it as a "race to the bottom", a contest to see who can prove they despise child sex crimes the most by creating the toughest penalties for sex offenders. While it should be a priority to punish child sex offenders, we are very close to losing sight of our ultimate goal: keeping children safe. We cannot afford to focus all our resources on thoughtless blanket laws restricting residency of sex offenders and seeking the strictest penalties imaginable regardless of their effectiveness in prevention. We must instead put our energy into effective, community-based solutions for preventing offenders from re-offending and keeping children in safe places. I hope the child advocacy and anti-trafficking communities will continue to keep our eyes on the ultimate prize, safe children, and not be distracted by the race.


Review of the Department of Justice’s Implementation of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act

View the rest of the article here (PDF)

This document shows the registries are filled with errors, and are basically pointless, IMO. Also, how many of these "profiles" were created by someone else, like vigilantes, or someone just wanting to harass a sex offender?

12/2008

INTRODUCTION
This report examines the Department of Justice’s (Department) implementation of Title I of the Adam Walsh Act, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), which sets forth specific responsibilities for the Department in identifying, arresting, and prosecuting sex offenders who have failed to register or update a registration. Sex offenders who do not register or update registrations are considered non-compliant and are subject to prosecution under SORNA when federal jurisdiction can be established. When a warrant is issued for a non-compliant sex offender, the subject is referred to as a fugitive sex offender. Records on convicted, non-compliant, and fugitive sex offenders are maintained within the national sex offender registration system.

The national sex offender registration system is composed of two registries operated by different Department components. One is the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR), which is part of the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). NCIC is an information system that provides law enforcement agencies with around-the-clock access to federal, state, and local crime data, including criminal record histories and wanted and missing person records. The other is the Office of Justice Programs’ (OJP) Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Registry Website (NSOPR), which is an online portal linked to all states’ sex offender public registries. Using NSOPR, members of the public can access information on sex offenders in any of the states’ public registries. The information in both the FBI’s NSOR and OJP’s NSOPR portal is provided by the states, territories, federally recognized Indian tribes, and the District of Columbia (collectively referred to in this report as “jurisdictions”). The inclusion, accuracy, and integrity of the data are ultimately the responsibility of those jurisdictions.

At the state level, sex offender registration requirements and penalties for failing to register vary by jurisdiction, and the requirements for maintaining a registration are based on the nature of an offender’s crime and on state law. At the federal level, records of three categories of sex offenders are included in the FBI’s NSOR: individuals convicted of criminal offenses against minors, individuals convicted of sexually violent offenses, and individuals who are designated as sexually violent predators.

SORNA requires convicted state and federal sex offenders to register within 3 business days in the states in which they will live, work, and attend school after being released from incarceration or, in cases in which there is no term of incarceration, within 3 days of being sentenced. Once registered, convicted sex offenders are required to verify their registration information periodically with jurisdiction authorities. The jurisdiction registration authorities are also required to alert the FBI when they receive new or updated registration information. Absent an extension, state, territorial, and tribal jurisdictions must implement SORNA requirements by July 27, 2009 – 3 years after the date of SORNA’s enactment. The Department’s only mechanism for enforcing state and territorial compliance with SORNA requirements is to reduce the grant funding the Department provides by 10 percent. The sanction for a tribe is that the authority and responsibility for implementing SORNA are transferred from the tribe to the state in which the reservation is located.

At the federal level, the responsibility for implementing various elements of SORNA is assigned to several Department components. Two units within OJP, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART Office), are responsible for implementing the required changes to the NSOPR portal and assisting jurisdictions with required enhancements to their registries. The FBI is responsible for maintaining the National Sex Offender Registry. The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) has been designated by the Department as the lead federal agency for investigating non-compliant and fugitive sex offenders and for assisting states in enforcing their registration requirements. U.S. Attorneys’ Offices can pursue charges against sex offenders who are not in compliance with registration requirements resulting from prior federal convictions. They can also pursue charges against sex offenders who are not in compliance with registration requirements resulting from state convictions if those offenders travel in interstate or foreign commerce. The Department’s Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section assists federal attorneys with prosecutions of fugitive sex offenders.

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) conducted this review to assess the Department’s efforts to implement SORNA requirements and to assess whether those efforts have increased the number of fugitive sex offenders investigated, arrested, and prosecuted by the Department. In this review, we analyzed law enforcement and sex offender registration data from January through March 2008. We also examined trends in fugitive sex offender investigations, arrests, and prosecutions during fiscal year (FY) 2004 through FY 2007, and conducted interviews at the Department components involved with implementation of SORNA.


NY - Sex offender awaiting sentencing found dead in jail cell

View the article here

02/03/2009

By DAVE DELLECESE

MADISON COUNTY (WKTV) - An investigation is continuing into the apparent suicide death of an inmate housed in the Madison County Public Safety Building Jail shortly after 2 a.m. Tuesday morning.

According to the Madison County Sheriff, _____, 44, was found unresponsive by Corrections Officers as the officers were performing inmate cell checks.

_____ was treated at the scene by Corrections Officers, members of the Oneida Fire Department and Vineall Ambulance Service.

_____ was sent to the Oneida Healthcare Facility where he was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival.

He was sent to the Onondaga County Medical Examiners Office where an autopsy will be conducted.

The Madison County Sheriff's Office has notified the New York State Commission of Corrections. In addition to the ongoing Sheriff's Office investigation, the New York State Commission will conduct a routine independent inmate death investigation.

_____ was incarcerated awaiting County Court sentencing on a charge of criminal sexual act.

The charges stem from 2008, when _____ had been walking in the Village of Hamilton and asked a village police officer for a ride to Oneida.

Unknown to _____, area police were already investigating him after a couple who had been walking their dog along a canal trail in early July reported seeing _____ and a younger male under the age of 15 engaged in what deputies called "a suspicious incident."

_____ gave a statement to investigators in Oneida and was then charged with two counts of criminal sexual act.


NC - MySpace removes 90,000 sex offenders

View the article here
A good review from eAdvocate here
Another Article where you can comment, at ABC

So was all "90,000" using the service to prey on children, or you just making blanket issues and kicking any and every sex offender off the site, regardless of what they are doing?  Many use the site to keep track of friends and family!  I think these AG's are just trying to disprove a report, from the task force they hired, which said all this was blown out of proportion and all hype.  See here.

02/03/2009

By Marlon A. Walker

New figure is nearly double what MySpace officials estimated last year

RALEIGH - About 90,000 sex offenders have been identified and removed from the social networking Web site MySpace, company and law enforcement officials said Tuesday.

The number was nearly double what MySpace officials originally estimated last year, said North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper (Contact), who along with Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (Contact) has led efforts to make social networking Web sites safer for young users.

Cooper said he wasn't surprised by the updated numbers, and demanded that MySpace and rival online networking site Facebook — which claim to have more than 170 million users combined — do more to protect children and teenagers.

"These sites were created for young people to communicate with each other. Predators are going to troll in these areas where they know children are going to be," Cooper said. "That's why these social networking sites have the responsibility to make their sites safe for children."

The attorneys general received agreements last year from MySpace and Facebook to push toward making their sites safer. Both sites implemented dozens of safeguards, including finding better ways to verify users' ages, banning convicted sex offenders from using the sites and limiting the ability of older users to search members under 18.

Blumenthal, who received MySpace's updated numbers Tuesday through a subpoena, said the information "provides compelling proof that social networking sites remain rife with sexual predators." A preliminary number of sex offenders found on Facebook was "substantial," but he said the company has yet to respond to a recent subpoena.
- Not all sex offenders are predators, and how many were actually doing something wrong, except for being on the site?  I am willing to bet, very few, less than 10 maybe.  Guilt by association?  This is just pure fear-mongering!

MySpace executives said they were confident in the technology they use to find, remove and block registered sex offenders. The company uses Sentinel SAFE, a database it created in 2006 with the names, physical descriptions and other identifiable characteristics of sex offenders that cross-references against MySpace members.

"Sentinel SAFE is the best industry solution to ensure these offenders are removed from social networks," Hemanshu Nigam, the company's chief security officer, said in a statement Tuesday.

MySpace, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., has more than 110 million active users worldwide.

A spokesman for Facebook, which claims more than 61 million active users, said Tuesday that protecting its users has always been a priority.

"We have a policy prohibiting registered sex offenders from joining Facebook," said spokesman Barry Schnitt. "We are glad to be able to report that we have not yet had to handle a case of a registered sex offender meeting a minor through Facebook. We are working hard to make sure it never happens."

Still, Cooper said more should be done.

"Technology moves forward quickly, and it's important for these companies to stay ahead of the technology," he said. "And they're not moving fast enough for us."

The push for better restrictions came during a time when social-networking Web sites were seeing exponential growth, with most of it coming in the form of younger users. But along with the younger members came sexual predators who would lie about their age to lure young victims.

Blumenthal and Cooper, who co-chair the State Attorney General Task Force on Social Networking, have led the charge for tougher restrictions to be placed on who joins online social-networking sites.

The Internet Safety Technical Task Force report, commissioned by the attorneys general in 2008, researched ways to help squash the onslaught of sexual predators targeting younger social-networking clients. Enhancing Child Safety & Online Technologies, a report by the Internet Safety Technical Task Force submitted to attorneys general in December, pointed out there was no surefire way to guarantee online child safety.

"Our law enforcement officers investigating these cases tell us that predators are soliciting children on the Internet and in social networking sites," Cooper said. "We're working to provide more law enforcement to protect our kids, but social networking sites and technology companies must do their part as well."


'Del Harvey' on being a Perverted-Justice volunteer

View the article here

I wonder if she even realizes that a huge majority of those crimes are perpetrated by family or people that are known to the victim? Alison Shea (Del Harvey) is still seeking her own special place in the spotlight via several "communities" and or "causes". See this document, page 12.  Sounds like she has a lot of major issues in her life, and is trying to fit in somewhere.  See this article as well.

Del (Harvey)
"For instance, I'll pick up a phone and hear (without turning it on) a dial tone and then a woman's voice speaking. Or I can hear someone using that pressurized air stuff and I'll feel it on my forearms."

"Lots of stuff like that. But, like I said, the anti-psychotic drugs usually keep that to a minimum."

02/04/2006

How did you get involved with Perverted-Justice?
A friend of mine sent me a link to the Perverted-Justice Web site in December of 2003. I joined up and in February 2004, I was made a contributor. Frag called me and asked me to be involved in the first investigation with “Dateline.” While we were there, I was asked how I felt about becoming the decoy – the person who these men actually saw. Later, I started helping out in our efforts in liasoning with law enforcement, and it just snowballed from there.

In the investigations, you speak to these men on the telephone. You play a young boy, sometimes a young girl. Sometimes these potential predators even see you. How do you get these people to believe that you’re young, and male and female?
I can do the little girl or boy voice. I know it’s not something everybody can do -- it’s a bizarre combination. I wear a hoodie if it’s cool enough outside, or I wear a loose t-shirt. I’m short and skinny, and I can pull of anything I’ve needed to so far. I tend to wear really baggy pants – males or females tend to wear that kind of thing nowadays. I usually have a hat on or a hoodie up. -- All of them have believed it.

How do you feel about being a decoy?
I never felt threatened by being one, and we always had security on site. More than that, I think these guys are cowards. But a week after one of these investigations, I still feel creeped out at the thought that anywhere from 18 to 49 men (depending on how many showed up at the house) thought that I was the child that they were there to have sex with.

Do you think these men are expecting to be exposed?
They’re not only not expecting a cop, they also aren’t expecting one in the form of a 115-lbs. female.
- So Del, are you calling yourself a cop now?

Of all the groups you could volunteer with, what motivated you to help out with Perverted-Justice?
Well, one of the things that motivated me happened before I was involved with Perverted-Justice. spent a summer working at a level four psychiatric institution, a mental health state institution. I was working with the girl’s unit, girls aged 11 to 17. Easily 85 percent, if not more, of them had been molested or abused as children. So many of their issues were rooted in that. Seeing something like that motivated me. I had already worked with children as a lifeguard, as a youth advocate, but that drove me to push further. Perverted-Justice looked like a great opportunity.

So how long do you see yourself doing this type of work?
There is no doubt in my mind that I’ll be with Perverted-Justice for as long as it exists.

How do you feel about criticism that you guys are working outside of proper channels?
We were called “vigilantes,” and even with all these arrests, we still are. We work with law-enforcement whenever possible. We’re not a group of untrained civilians. We have training, and we’ve also been requested to train police in several different states.

I’ve never worked with a law enforcement group that’s thought poorly of us. They see how good we are. I think they can see that we’re motivated by nothing other than the desire to help.

Does it ever bother you to be chatting with potential predators? Does it take a psychological toll at some point?
It’s certainly something that would take a toll on anybody. The people you’re talking to aren’t exactly good people, but we have strict rules and regulations within our group — if you’re chatting with someone particularly nasty, we have certified counselors who you’re welcome to talk to at any time. You can take a break, and there’s no rule or pressure to keep going.


Task Force on Internet Predators Reports: People Need to Stop Freaking Out About Internet Predators

View the article here

01/13/2009

By Katherine Mangu-Ward

About a year ago, absolutely everybody who was anybody in the Internet world, plus 50 attorneys general joined the very respected and respectable Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School's brand spanking new Internet Safety Technical Task Force.

The goal was to figure out what to do about the Internet predators that seemed to be lurking in every corner, threatening children and generally ruining Web 2.0 for the rest of us. They promised to dig in and get back to us in a year with a really comprehensive report.

Today The New York Times reports on the report, which concludes:

Sites like MySpace and Facebook “do not appear to have increased the overall risk of solicitation” and that “posting personally identifying information does not appear to increase risk in and of itself.”

Moreover, the task force found, technological fixes like age verification and scans for sexual predators aren't effective at catching the relatively small number of predators online.

In other words, everybody needs to chill out. Your kid is no more likely to get hit on by a guy with a skeezy mustache online than they are at the 7-11. So let the kid cruise MySpace in peace.

For more on how the Internet, like the rest of the world, is full of people who have no desire to have sex with 12-year-olds, check out our Reason.tv interview with Craigslist founder Craig Newmark.