Home Office: Networking sites to get sex offender email addresses

Home Office proposals launched today would give social networking websites such as Facebook the email addresses of registered child sex offenders to help keep children safe online.

The first UK Social Networking Guidance has been developed by a taskforce of industry, charity and law enforcement representatives.

Under the proposals, the police would provide the websites with the email addresses of offenders, to enable them to stop the offenders using their sites. Sex offenders would face up to five years in prison if they failed to provide, or gave false, email addresses.

Networking sites ‘integral to children’s lives’

NSPCC head of policy and public affairs Diana Sutton said: “The proposals to monitor the access that registered sex offenders have to social networking sites recognises the integral part that these sites now play in children’s lives.”

Links would also be displayed to agencies including the police, the NSPCC and the Samaritans on networking websites, under the best practice guidance. Child Exploitation Online Protection Agency chief executive Jill Gamble said: “One click will allow young people to report virtual attacks of a sexual nature such as grooming to specialist officers, backed up by support from organisations such as the NSPCC.”

A new kitemark was also launched by home secretary Jacqui Smith to set standards for filtering software to prevent children accessing abusive or violent material on home computers.

Related links

Essential information on child protection

Disabled people excluded from social networking

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