e-STOP Will Help Protect Kids From Online Predators

March 7, 2008
Good parenting – and good governing – means doing everything possible to protect our children from the dangers of the world. From our schools to our streets, keeping our kids safe is a never-ending challenge, and we must always be mindful and vigilant.

In the 21st century we’re up against challenges the world has never seen before. The cyber world, in spite of its countless educational and entertainment benefits that our children may enjoy, has proven it can be almost as treacherous as the meanest streets. It is critical that we do everything we can to ensure our kids’ safety every time they get online. That’s why I fully support e-STOP – the Electronic Security and Targeting of Online Predators Act.

This groundbreaking legislation is the first of its kind in the United States. e-STOP requires that sex offenders register Internet accounts and screen names used for social networking purposes with law enforcement; it allows social networking Web sites to access sex offender Internet information in order to prevent offenders from preying on children; and it regulates use of the Internet by certain sex offenders on probation and parole.

With e-STOP in place, social networking Web sites will be able to effectively prescreen – and remove, if necessary – the offenders’ addresses from the site. They will also be authorized to contact law enforcement and government officials who investigate potential online sex offenses.

Many of these online hangouts have become dangerous places for New Yorkers – especially underage teens – mainly because these Web sites provide sex offenders an opportunity to expose minors to obscene material and unwanted sexual advances. This legislation will help prevent an untold number of sexual offenses over the Internet.

We are the first state to craft legislation with such strong online prohibitions and mandates, requiring registered sex offenders to keep law enforcement informed of their online activity.

As a proud sponsor of the e-STOP legislation, I acknowledge Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for promoting this important measure across New York State. I believe that we are moving in the right direction by protecting our children and families from online sex predators. By tightening our laws, we will help prevent future tragedies.