Feeds

Sex offender email monitoring plan mothballed

UK.gov blames human rights judgment

The Power of One Infographic

A plan to require registered sex offenders to notify police of their email addresses and social networking identities has been shelved while the government battles a human rights judgment in the High Court, according to the Home Office.

The measure was the centrepiece of a suite of announcements on child protection on and offline in early April last year, but no detailed proposals have since emerged.

At the time Jacqui Smith said failure by the more than 30,000 registered sex offenders to supply online identities or supplying false identities would attract up to a five year jail term. "We need to patrol the internet to keep predators away from children in the same way as we patrol the real world," she told the breakfast television show GMTV.

However, in December the High Court found that indefinitely retaining details on the Sex Offenders Register with no right to appeal was a breach of offenders' human rights under European law.

A Home Office spokesman said officals had decided not to try to extend the reach of the sex offenders register online while government lawyers appeal that decision. He said the case had "an impact" on notification requirements, but was not able to explain how.

Other planned changes to the register, such as a trial of "Sarah's Law" allowing parents to demand details of sex offenders, have gone ahead.

The NSPCC, which supported plans to monitor internet use by sex offenders, said it had not heard of any developments. "It's hard to comment as we don't know enough about where this email register idea has got to," a spokesman said.

The policy was heavily criticised when it was announced by internet experts, who said the profusion of free email and social networking services and the simplicity of setting up new accounts would make it unworkable.

The Home Office said the government remains committed to collecting sex offender email addresses and social networking identities, which was first mooted by then-Home Secretary John Reid in February 2007. Last year it said the details of monitoring sex offenders' online identities would be handled by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP).

CEOP declined to comment on progress, saying policy announcements were a matter for the Home Office. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.