UK could force convicted sex offenders to register screen names

Convicted sex offenders in the United Kingdom could be forced to register their screen names along with their email addresses. Home Office Secretary John Reid has proposed a new law that would mandate prison terms for sex offenders who fail to give their online identities to the nationwide Sex Offenders Register.

Sex offenders already have to register their names along with their addresses. Depending on the severity of the crimes, some offenders must inform the registry of address changes for the rest of their lives. The new law would extend that reporting to online information. Some critics of the law say email addresses can be created almost instantly which allows a determined sex offender to easily hide.

Lawmakers in the United States are pushing for similar regulations. Just last week a bill requiring sex offenders to register their online identities was introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. That bill mandates 10 to 20 years in prison for sex offenders who fail to give email addresses or who falsify their identities with the intent to lure children.