Texas Bill Requires Sex Offenders to Register Online Game Names, Could Ban Them Completely from Game Venues

A bill under consideration by the Texas House of Representatives may require convicted sex offenders to register account names at online gaming networks with law enforcement authorities.

As HB 22 is currently written, the measure would seem to encompass online gaming venues such as Xbox Live, PlayStation Home and Second Life. However, no specific reference to online gaming appears in the bill, which has cleared committee but has not yet been taken up on the House floor.

In fact, a stricter interpretation of HB22 might preclude sex offenders from places like XBL and SL entirely. That’s because the bill bars sex offenders from using the Internet to access commercial social networking sites. Such a prohibition which might reasonably be extended to encompass the increasingly prominent social aspects of online gaming venues.

With an increasing number of pedophile arrests stemming from contacts made via online gaming venues, expect to see more bills like this going forward.

At this point, HB 22 has passed neither the Texas House or Senate. Its next stop will be the House floor. If it passes there, the Senate will take it under consideration.

Via: G4 by way of GameCulture

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49 comments

  1. 0
    Kamil says:

    Another attempt to not allow prostitutes from earn a living and driving then to appear in adult DVD to earn a living. We are the ones who allow them because we people are the ones who promote sex offenders and then bring bill to make life tough for them

  2. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    The only part of your post I really take issue with (something I’ve seen all over this thread) is number 2.  For five years (or the rest of their natural life, depending on the case) a convicted sex offender has no right to privacy.  They are required to post all contact info to all neighbors before moving into an area, and have a sign visible on his or he property.  They must submit to random drug tests, and polygraph tests in some cases.  In contrast, saying you can’t play WoW or use Facebook isn’t that big a deal.

     

     

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  3. 0
    Neo_DrKefka says:

     

    Here is the problem most people don’t realize you can be a sex offender for any old reason. From posting pictures of yourself as a kid and texting it. You can be a sex offender because some idiot was riding in his bike in on coming traffic at you and you almost hit him because the kid was an idiot and you decided to yell at him!
     
    There are so many reasons why you can become one it’s crazy and too be honest with you it groups you in with true offenders. If you live in a real politically correct town just like on a gamefaqs message board any and every message can be considered a TOS Violation and that’s how easy it is to get on that list.

     

     

  4. 0
    Wolvenmoon says:

    1.The government does not have the resources to enforce this law. "They cannot control the internets!"

    2.To control this, they would have to monitor all of the pedophile’s communications. This is a breach of privacy.

    3.No gaming network in their right mind is going to let pedophiles on their networks if they can identify them.

    4.It’s going to cost a WHOLE LOT in enforcement.

    5.If they did acquire the resources to enforce this for pedophiles, it would be another nail in the coffin for internet privacy for legitimate users.

    6.Pedophiles and other felons have no reason to pay for their own internet.

    Either keep them in jail, cut off all their communications, or turn them loose. Stop using them as a reason to constrict legitimate citizen’s rights. Pedophiles and other felons need to either have rights as citizens, or not. I’ll try not to reveal my bias past this : Why the FUCK are rapists, pedophiles, and other violent/sex crime offenders not BRILLIANTLY identified if they’re left in society?

    I do NOT want a ‘Great firewall of the U.S.A.’. I do NOT want anyone listening to everything I do for the same reason I don’t like a studio audience when I go to the doctor.

    This law will be ineffective in hindering pedophiles from accessing social networks. All it will do is tighten the noose around the neck of law abiding citizens’ rights.

     

    Here’s an idea to keep tabs on what pedophiles are doing! Bore a hole in their skull and plant a camera there. (Good luck if you’re falsely convicted though)

    I will not buy securom games. http://www.wolvenmoon.com/sharedfiles/message1.jpg and http://www.wolvenmoon.com/sharedfiles/message2.jpg

  5. 0
    GoodRobotUs says:

    Unfortunately, there are areas of America that consider that as bad as raping a child, and some of those areas are in Texas, though, I’ll quickly add that not all Texans are like it by a long shot.

    And that’s the thing that concerns me about this, it’s an overly-broad attempt to appease the voting public which has neither a definite direction nor a safety net of any sort.

    What concerns me is this: What do they plan to do with these online names? Make them public so parents can be aware? Spy on their every conversation? No matter what way you look at it, it’s taking the punishment beyond jail-time. In the case of repeat offenders, particularly repeat paedophiles, certain measures have to be utilised to protect those around them, but generalising into ‘sex offenders’ in general is overly broad and extremely ‘Big Brotheresque’.

  6. 0
    KayleL says:

    I understand for pedophiles, but the term of ‘sex offender’ is too vague. A sex offender could be a guy who shown his friend a nude picture of his girlfriend that been recently sent him.

  7. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Well, if you’re worried that you’re going to be "unduly punished" for (technically speaking) violating the law, DON’T VIOLATE THE LAW!!  Are you really stupid enough to expect people to be okay with violating the law, just because the punishment may be a bit harsh?  Come ON!!

     

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  8. 0
    chadachada321 says:

    I’m 17, and AoC in Michigan is 16.

    Let’s just say…sex "offences" might be a bit high for someone that grew up in my position…

    I also think it’s bull to charge kids for "possession of child porn" and things along those lines if a 15, 16, 17 year old girl sends a few pictures of herself to her 15+ year old boyfriend.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  9. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    More often than not, sexual predators can’t learn their lesson.

     

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  10. 0
    Michael Chandra says:

    Someone above posted an example of someone who was in fact not a sex offender, to be labelled as such. Makes this even more disturbing.

  11. 0
    JustChris says:

    Sexual assualts are no petty crime, but sexual offenders get the most undeserved stigma out of all criminals. Even ex-con murderers feel more socially acceptable in comparison. The argument to the stigma is that sexual offenders are more likely to repeat their crimes than murderers after getting out of prison. But the stigmatizing suggests that sexual offenders can NEVER learn their lesson and be morally re-born, forever pegged to be losers and social outcasts. Some criminals may never learn, but we should label criminals individually and not by the crime.

    GameSnooper

  12. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Yeah, because child rape isn’t heinous, right?

     

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  13. 0
    JustChris says:

    A mysanthropic view of handling prison overcrowding is that fast food restaurants and other places with mindless, menial jobs lifts some of the burden of the prison system by providing jobs to people that are otherwise unfit to function in society. Don’t quote me on this though- it’s an opinion I overheard somewhere but otherwise found interesting.

    GameSnooper

  14. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    You got this person’s name?  Or are you just making up a worst-case scenario to make it okay for child rapist to rape children again?

     

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  15. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    I personally believe the rights of citizens not to be raped to be more important than some perverts right to privacy, where he can lure children into his bedroom.  If there is a chance that this law can prevent child abduction or child rape, and do so by doing nothing more than removing these people from places where minors get together (which they are already legally banned from), then I say go for it. 

     

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  16. 0
    chadachada321 says:

    A 15 year old girl and a 16 year old boy have consensual sex in Michigan. The boy has committed statutory rape, and must be put on a sex offender’s list for the next (I think it’s 10 or 15 in Michigan) years for a victimless and baseless crime. This boy recieved a 32 on his ACT and had a 3.95 GPA through high school so far. He’s never done any actual crime, never hurt anyone illegally or anything of that nature, but because of a very unyielding law that Michigan (most states) have, there is no loopholes for consenting minors, even if they are only days apart in age.

    Now, he can’t get a job because of his felony/sex offender status. Can’t get into U of M like he was planning. Has lost all possibilities of having a normal life. All because of people like you. Now, this potential doctor or lawyer or even President has no chance of doing anything with his life. He is now more likely to commit crimes and steal and kill because of the stigma and restrictions people like you think is acceptable. Thank you for being part of the problem with America/Britain/Australia/Canada/where-ever you come from.

    When a person is released from prison, there should, within reason, either be a job lined up for them of around equal status/pay as the job they did have, or some other kind of way to help them back on their feet and back on track to becoming a normal, average citizen. It shouldn’t be such a huge stigma for college admission, it shouldn’t get in the way of your education and career. The reason many people go back to prison is because they have no other options after their life was fucked over, and there is no way to go back to normal. What is the point of prison time if they’ll never be able to be a normal citizen again? 

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  17. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    "But are we talking about U.S. citizens here? This bill targets registered sex offenders: people who have been tried and convicted of a sexual offense, like pedophilia or rape."

    Of course we’re talking about U.S. citizens. You don’t lose your citzenship by virtue of being arrested or convicted of a crime, even if that crime is "pedophilia or rape".

    "I must say, I don’t see a problem in it. This might help crack down on stalkers using our MMOs looking for their next conquest. Maybe even get people to quit calling US stalkers because we play Animal Crossing."

    Considering such fears have little to do with reality, keeping "stalkers" away from MMOs will do absolutely nothing to calm people’s fears about adults stalking children online.

  18. 0
    Vake Xeacons says:

     But are we talking about U.S. citizens here? This bill targets registered sex offenders: people who have been tried and convicted of a sexual offense, like pedophilia or rape. These people have sacrificed their rights. Why should the law protect them when they don’t abide by it?

    I must say, I don’t see a problem in it. This might help crack down on stalkers using our MMOs looking for their next conquest. Maybe even get people to quit calling US stalkers because we play Animal Crossing.

  19. 0
    chadachada321 says:

    True that…Bong Hits for Jesus was such bullshit. Anyone that has READ the Constitution should know that that case shat all over it (the Constitution).

    But sex offenders already have to be on an offender list that anyone can look at, and if they want to move to a location they have to TELL their neighbors what they’ve been labeled as. Also, there’s the case where a Georgian man is on the sex offender’s list, for robbing a store that had a girl working there. His crime was essentially kidnapping a minor (to "hold up" a store is to enslave them temporarily).

    Here’s the link: http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/stories//2009/03/15/sex_offender_law_georgia.html

    Georgia is (I sure hope) one of the worst states out there, and is definitely violating the 8th amendment as well. This is cruel and unusual punishment.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  20. 0
    Father Time says:

    So the doctor’s head explodes?

    That seems plausible.

    —————————————————-

    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  21. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    "The bill doesn’t ban people from the internet, only requires that they submit in writing how/what/why for approval before using screennames and stuff."

    So sex offenders will require government approval before being allowed to exercise their rights of free speech and freedom of association? I think the Supreme Court might have a problem with that, though I wouldn’t be surprised if they somehow managed to find a way to rationalize support for such a law (after all, it wouldn’t be the first time SCOTUS has managed to find a way to rationalize support for violating the rights of US citizens; see here and here).

  22. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Though if they require approval then it could very well be a ban.

    After all, at least historically, drugs were never ‘banned’, you simply need a special tax stamp to sell them.  The availabilty of the stamp legally ends up being a seperate issue.

    It is amazing how you can get around constitutional protections by simply making a technically compliant law tha de-facto sets up impossible requirements.

  23. 0
    Zero Beat says:

    I don’t believe she was convicted, but she was charged.  Not sure what happened after that.

    If you ask me, these things are not crimes, it’s kids being stupid, nothing more.  When the "perp" and the victim are the same person, what do you?  That’s a grey area from a legal standpoint.  We should educate kids and parents about these phones and also what happens when pictures of your naughty bits hit the Internet and the potential dangers, further explaining that while they are in no legal risk, the potential for embarrasment and also being turned down for a job are quite high.  I could go off for ten years about how it’s wrong for businesses to base hiring decisions on people’s MySpace and Facebook pictures that show them drunk, but that’s a different topic.

    And on a hilarious note, Miss California’s topless pictures are being "further examined" by the pageant comission.

    "That’s not ironic. That’s justice."

  24. 0
    zel says:

    Would this apply to sexual offenders like the one underaged girl that posted pics of herself online and got in trouble for it? I forget where it was but I remember reading an odd story about some underaged girl convicted as a sexual offender when she posted lewd pics of herself online. The irony of it made me chuckle.

    ————————————

    I am a signature virus, please copy and paste me into your signature to help me propagate.

  25. 0
    KaylaKaze says:

    The term "sex offender" is DRASTICALLY over broad. The majority of people who have been flagged as sex offenders aren’t pedophiles, rapists, or anything of the sort. You could be caught banging your gf in a deserted park late at night and get flagged as a sex offender.

  26. 0
    Father Time says:

    I say if the offender and ‘victim’ are the same person the victim has the right to drop all charges.

    Not sure how this would work siamese twins.

    —————————————————-

    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  27. 0
    Father Time says:

    Britain tried that with murderers and now we have Australia.

    Anyway you can get branded sex offender for all sorts of undeserved shit.

    Urinating in public, streaking, and a 18 or 19 year old going down on someone just under the age of consent (which varies by state) for example.

    The laws are so screwy.

    —————————————————-

    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  28. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Actually they already have something for that.  Judges have discovered that they can define the people as mentally ill and thus have them locked up in an institution (where due process does not exist) after their term.

    Oddly enough, it is also an example of why ‘innocent by reason of insanity’ is not the get out of jail free card people tend to think it is.  Once institutionalized they are under no legal obligation to EVER release the person.

  29. 0
    chadachada321 says:

    Agreed. What’s the point in putting someone in jail when by the time they get out they have no job, no car, and no house, and won’t be able to ever get a decent job again because of their felony, and has to register everywhere they live because of something that happened 10+ years ago, all of this essentially screwing over ANY chance of making a half-decent living again. So screwed, in fact, that this is partly why so many ex criminals are forced to commit more crimes to try and get back to how things were.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  30. 0
    Sukasa says:

    I don’t know why they just don’t go ahead and make sex offender a capital offense or find some island in the middle of the pacific and relocate them all there.  Sure its a bad crime but theres gotta be a line afterall supposly the whole pooint of putting someone in jail and then releasing them is that they have learned the error of their ways and served their time.  It just seems to easier to go ahead and kill them or send them far far away.

  31. 0
    Zero Beat says:

    It would be illegal if you’re filing your taxes or using some other government service online and you "forget" to mention that you were convicted of a felony.  As far as a message board TOS and stuff, it’s legal, but morally reprehensible.

     

    "That’s not ironic. That’s justice."

  32. 0
    SimonBob says:

    I think this shows an incredible amount of restraint.  Don’t they normally just execute their criminals in Texas?  You’d think the only electric-powered device they’d worry about a sex offender using would be the chair at the end of the green mile.


    The Mammon Philosophy

  33. 0
    Neeneko says:

    I am guessing that after the histeria is over there will be some serious challenges to laws spawned by fear of pedophiles.  In general the justic system does not permit continued punishment after one has served their term to completion.  Exempting one type of crime is legally dubious and the only reason they are getting away with it is that challenging these laws (or even worse, being a judge that throws them out) is political suicide.

    Also keep in mind… #sex offenders >> #pedophiles >> #pedophiles with risk of reoffending

    So the laws are built with the 3rd catagory in mind but then applied to all the others.

  34. 0
    Sukasa says:

    A large problem in america is that some "heinous" crime occurs and then there is an uproar by a group of people to pass a "Person (usually victim) name " law.  Then the law gets passed, and so we get tougher jail sentencing.  Problem though comes that we want people locked up for bad things but what happens when the prison gets overcrowded/full?  We don’t want our taxes to go up to build a new or bigger prison either.  So we have to release lesser cime jailees, where one might go and commit a crime and it was heinous and thus the circle begins again.

  35. 0
    Mad_Scientist says:

    I don’t know. I can understand the concern about sex offenders, but I wonder if sometimes people go too far with the laws dealing with them after they get out of jail. I think this bill does, actually, assuming the ban on commercial networking sites doesn’t just apply to people on parole.

  36. 0
    chadachada321 says:

    Isn’t it an invasion of privacy, though, to ask someone if they are a sex offender before letting them use your site? Not a legal one, as it isn’t forced unto you, but still something that would be uncomfortable to ask and would be very sticky from a legal standpoint if a sex offender chose "No" for "Are you a sex offender?"

    Which leads to another thing: Is it against the law to lie about yourself online like that? Not just about sex offending, but other things as well?

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  37. 0
    Father Time says:

    Err shouldn’t it be up to Sony Microsoft Nintendo facebook etc. if they want to allow the sex offenders to use their services?

    I mean Nintendo seems to have taken great lengths to prevent online chat between strangers in their service so presumably they won’t see a problem since the pedos won’t be able to talk to the kiddies.

    —————————————————-

    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  38. 0
    chadachada321 says:

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

    PS I’m just reading the bill now, I was only going off of the article as it was written above, so excuse any misconceptions you see, and do point them out.

     

    Crap. The bill doesn’t ban people from the internet, only requires that they submit in writing how/what/why for approval before using screennames and stuff.

  39. 0
    chadachada321 says:

    I think it is wrong to bar someone from the internet simply because they could use the internet to do something illegal. I have stolen before, so by their logic, I should not be allowed on the internet because I could commit fraud/scam someone online.

    That is my opinion at least.

    Also, it isn’t fair to ban someone from the internet if they have never used the internet for that malicious purpose before. Not all sex offenders used the internet to get them sex, so why should the internet be included at all? Actually, most sex offenders drive cars at some point, so we should ban them from those too! Many of them have used their freedom of speech to gain trust…we should take away that right too.

    In fact, their right to life was used to commit a sex crime, so let’s just take away that right too.

    I mean this in jest, of course, but I think that banning someone "from the internet" on a generic sex crime is wrong, especially if it has little to do with the internet itself. I would reccommend something along the lines of installing a tap-like device on his computer to make it impossible for him to go to certain sites, and against his probation to use a proxy to circumvent such restrictions. The best part about "no internet at all" would be if he got a flier or letter from the prohibition office telling him some information and then saying to go to the county website for more information. ^^

     

    Btw, paedophilia deals with the interest in pre-pubescent children. If a girl is 12 or 13 and is lured by a creepy dude, while still child molestation and rightly wrong, it would be wrong to call him a paedophile.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

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