INTERNET LAW - New British Law Targets Online Pedophiles & Social Networking Sites

Kelly O'Connell, IBLS Editor
mail icon Email discuss icon Discuss printer icon Print

English Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has announced a new law that would force convicted pedophiles to hand over their e-mail addresses to the police who will take these and send them to social networking sites for blacklisting. The law stipulates that if such a person is detected using such a site, or using an un-registered e-mail address, the convicted child sex offenders could receive up to five years in prison. Smith said, "I want to see every child living their lives free from fear, whether they are meeting friends in a youth club or in a chat room.

Join the Internet Law Forum (ILF) to... discuss, share information and knowledge, questions and doubts... regarding the legal aspects of the Internet. The ILF is ALL about the INTERNET... business, laws and regulations, social media... Sign up to enjoy the benefits of the Free Global membership in the IBLS international community!

English Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has announced a new law that would force convicted pedophiles to hand over their e-mail addresses to the police who will take these and send them to social networking sites for blacklisting. The law stipulates that if such a person is detected using such a site, or using an un-registered e-mail address, the convicted child sex offenders could receive up to five years in prison. Smith said, "I want to see every child living their lives free from fear, whether they are meeting friends in a youth club or in a chat room.

The Government has also released a set of guidelines to help parents make the Net safer for their children. This is the UK Social Networking Guidance and was developed in consortium by a taskforce  assembled from industry, charity and law enforcement agencies, such as Vodafone, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). The Home Office has also been working with internet firms including MySpace, Bebo, Facebook, Piczo and Yahoo.

The announcement comes after a survey by telecoms regulator Ofcom found half of children aged 8-17 have a profile on a social-networking site. Also, more than 30% of those 9-19 who were online every week had received sexually suggestive comments via e-mail, instant message, chat or text message.

The Networking Guidance offers a wide range of suggestions and resources for Internet Service Providers (ISP's) and safety advice for parents and users, such as a number of links to agencies, like CEOP, NSPCC, and others. Also included is a description of the arrangements between industry and law enforcement to share information on illegal activity and suspicious behavior, and a plea for parents to teach their children to not to give too much personal information about themselves.

Jim Gamble is the Chief Executive of the Child Exploitation Online Protection Agency and also head of the Association of Chief Police Officers. He said about the new law, "This has the real potential to accelerate online child protection and if adopted and applied should provide the vital reassurance that we all need - not least every parent, teacher and child protection team - that protecting the young and vulnerable is being taken seriously across the board."

Home Secretary Smith claims that England is working hard to protect its youth, saying, "We have some of the strictest controls on sex offenders in the world to protect our children. We are working together with police, industry and charities to create a hostile environment for sex offenders on the internet and are determined to make it as hard for predators to strike online, as in the real world." Smith also launched a new kitemark for setting a standard for filtering software for home computers. On this, Smith said, "The launch of this new Guidance and the BSI Kitemark alongside our plans to crack down on sex offenders on the web, send a clear message that keeping children safe is a priority for us all."

Annie Mullins, Chair of the Home Secretary's Taskforce on Child Protection on the Internet and Head of Content Standards at Vodafone said, "The protection of young people is a priority for us all and this initiative demonstrates just how effective collaboration between a wide range of organisations including government, the police, non-governmental groups and industry can be. Social networking sites are a wonderful way to communicate and it's vital that we work together to help ensure children and young people can use them safely and responsibly."

Kelly O'Connell, IBLS Editor

[Reference 1]

[Reference 2]

[Reference 3]

email icon Email discuss icon Discuss printer icon Print