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New Requirements For Sex Offenders Using Social Apps Proposed In NY

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing new legislation that would regulate sex offenders using social media to target children. Photo Credit: Contributed
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing new legislation that would regulate sex offenders using social media to target children. Photo Credit: Flickr User Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen

A new proposal from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo would regulate registered sex offenders from using social media applications and other online methods to contact and exploit children.

In his 11th proposal of the 2020 State of the State agenda, Cuomo introduced legislation to prevent convicted sex offenders from using social media accounts, dating apps, and video game chat functions to target minors.

The proposal is an extension of New York's e-STOP law, which passed in 2008 and requires sex offenders to register some online activities with state officials.

According to Cuomo, “with the proliferation of online dating apps and social media, online predators are using different tools to exploit children, and the current law does not account for these new technologies.”

Cuomo’s proposal would require all sex offenders to disclose their screen name for each social media account or dating and gaming app they are using to the Division of Criminal Justice Services, as opposed to just giving the email address they use for those accounts.

Officials will then send that list to any provider that the offender discloses, and the provider will be required to review the data, develop policies on how to use it, and release this policy publicly to their users.

The new legislation would also make it a crime for convicted sex offenders to misrepresent themselves online.

The governor said that “by strengthening the current law and expanding it to include other technological tools used by sexual predators, it will also give law enforcement and prosecutors the ability to hold sex offenders accountable for predatory actions.”

”Protecting New York's children is our top priority and we cannot let technological advances become entryways that allow dangerous online predators to identify and prey on new victims," Cuomo said. "Our laws must keep pace with the world around us and with this measure we will help safeguard those using these web sites and apps, and stop those who seek to harm and exploit our children once and for all."

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