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Sex Crimes and Social Media -- Forced Disclosure on the Rise?

As the availability of the Internet has widened dramatically, so has the proliferation of social media. The social phenomenon continue to explode as millions of users in Hawaii and worldwide join Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn to connect with friends, relatives and business associates. 

Continuous advances in technology offer many benefits to people in general. But they also enable access to those who would use it for the wrong reasons. At a minimum, most states, including Hawaii, require sex offenders to register. And controversy is now swirling about registered sex offenders who want to use social media sites.

Facebook and other social media sites strive to prevent these people from using their sites. But they don't have the resources to monitor their millions of users. So some states have either adopted new laws requiring sex offenders to self identify before using social media sites and others are contemplating new legislation:

  • Louisiana has approved a new law requiring sex offenders and child predators to include in his profile for the networking website an indication that he is a sex offender or child predator and shall include notice of the crime for which he was convicted, the jurisdiction of conviction, a description of his physical characteristics... and his residential address."
  • In New Jersey, lawmakers have proposed similar legislation that builds on Megan's Law, one of the strictest sex offense laws in the country.

Are these laws constitutional? Will they actually work? Most states already have laws on the books that call for sex offenders to comply with a stringent set of requirements. So, are these social media extra registration requirements redundant?

If you are a registered sex offender, you may consult an experienced defense attorney to help you understand your rights in Hawaii as they relate to engaging in social media.

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