A bipartisan congressional group is proposing legislation backed by MySpace.com that that would require sex offenders to register their online identity – e-mail addresses and instant-message user names – with federal officials, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer. The Justice Department would make this information available to social-networking sites so they could compare the data with their user profiles. Failure to register new e-mail addresses or IM names would result in fines and/or up to 10 years in prison.
The bill would make it illegal for someone to misrepresent his or her age on a social-networking profile for the purposes of engaging in sexual activity with a minor. MySpace, one of a growing number of social-networking Web sites, boasts 150 million registered users, of which 21 million are children under age 18. Other such sites include Friendster.com, Facebook.com, and Classmates.com.