The Great Sex Offender Migration

Sentinel CEO and America’s Right contributor John Cardillo assists in booting 90,000 sex offenders from MySpace site, eyes Facebook as ‘safe haven’

If Internet perverts everywhere felt a great disturbance in the Force today, it’s because social networking giant MySpace released a statement proclaiming that 90,000 sex offenders have been identified and kicked off its Web site with the help of Sentinel, a Miami-based Internet security firm specializing in online crime and predator detection, online child safety, and the protection of Internet end users from criminals and sexual predators. While that number is almost twice as many as originally disclosed last year, Internet-cruising children, pre-teens and teenagers everywhere may not be entirely that much safer.

“Without much effort at all on our part, we were able to look at Facebook and locate more than 8,000 of the offenders we kicked off of MySpace, but I expect that the actual amount is 15 or 20 times that number,” says Sentinel CEO John Cardillo, a former NYPD officer and America’s Right contributor. “It’s troubling that offenders who have been kicked off of other sites seem to have found a home at Facebook.”

In May 2008, Facebook announced its “Key Principles Of Social Networking Safety,” incorporating among other things increased cooperation with law enforcement and the implementation of site-specific technology and safeguards aimed at protecting younger Facebook users, as part of a promise made to attorneys general in 49 states to remove “profiles of all registered sex offenders.”

Obviously, says Cardillo, it didn’t work, and our nation’s children are less safe for it. Furthermore, he says, with its 150 million users at a cost of less than a penny per user, Facebook would only face a cost of less than $1 million to use Sentinel’s software and do the right thing. Developing their own software, according to Cardillo, could turn out to be cheaper yet. Either way, the profiles of 8,487 offenders who appear to have made the migration from MySpace to Facebook–or at least have maintained a presence there–is proof positive that something must be done.

“This only shows how easy it is for these offenders to slip into the shadows and mingle with the crowd,” Cardillo says. “And while I’m not a fan of an overreaching federal government, it does highlight the need for surgical intervention as a way of monitoring some of the more dangerous members of our society, and how they interact with the most vulnerable among us.”

One of the ways the government can proactively get involved is through careful legislation. On October 13, 2008, President Bush signed into law U.S. Senate Bill 431, better known as the Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act of 2008, or the KIDS Act. The KIDS Act was introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer in January of 2007 and, like its counterpart in the House of Representatives, passed unanimously with broad support from both parties.

This, my friends, is one instance where bipartisanship and government intervention truly is good for America and the American people. Furthermore, in an age of legislation which looks more and more like lost Tolstoy epics, the KIDS Act is fairly straightforward. From the non-partisan Congressional Research Service:


Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act of 2008 or the KIDS Act of 2008 – Directs the Attorney General to: (1) require sex offenders to provide to the National Sex Offender Registry all Internet identifiers (i.e., email addresses and other designations used for self-identification or routing in Internet communication or posting) used by such offenders; (2) specify requirements for keeping Internet identifier information current; (3) exempt Internet identifiers provided by a sex offender from public disclosure; and (4) establish procedures to notify sex offenders of changes in requirements for providing Internet identifier information.

Requires the Attorney General to establish and maintain a secure system to allow social networking websites to compare information contained in the National Sex Offender Registry with the Internet identifiers of users of their websites. Allows social networking websites to use such system to conduct searches as frequently as the Attorney General may allow. Authorizes the Attorney General to deny, suspend, or terminate use of the system by a social networking website for misuse.

Prohibits the Attorney General and social networking websites from releasing to the public any list of the Internet identifiers of sex offenders.

Exempts a social networking website from civil claims in federal or state court arising from: (1) use of the National Sex Offender Registry unless such website engages in actual malice, intentional misconduct, or reckless disregard to a substantial risk of causing injury without legal justification; and (2) any decision not to compare its database with the online identifiers contained in the National Sex Offender Registry.

Drawing from his own experience, Cardillo believes that, if properly and efficiently implemented, the KIDS Act “would provide a tremendously helpful tool to law enforcement and private industry to safeguard Internet end users.”

Basically, the KIDS Act boils down to the congressional facilitation of a two-pronged approach to keeping our children safe from sexual predators as they use the Internet, specifically the extremely popular social networking Web sites like MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, and more. The prong with which his company is most involved is the “technological prong,” featuring several complimentary technologies deployed in an attempt to create a single, robust, imbedded solution. The other prong, Cardillo says, is the “people approach,” which involves not only Congress, but also law enforcement, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private industry and, most importantly, parents.

“I think industry is doing well with a few exceptions, as is our government,” Cardillo says. “Law enforcement does an outstanding job, but needs help from our government in terms of manpower and funding. Non-governmental organizations like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children do a great job, but they rely on government and industry for funding, and on law enforcement for ‘teeth.’ Parents are the key, and as of now are not doing the job they should in both educating themselves in terms of online hazards, and monitoring their kids’ Internet experiences.”

Parents, Cardillo says, are the first line of defense, but he hopes that all groups will be able to work in concert, and with the help of technology, ensure that the end result is a positive one.

“It’s all about education and awareness,” he says. “We do a great job of catching known bad guys but, for end users, the same rules apply as they do in the real world. Don’t talk to strangers; tell a friend, parent or teacher where you’re going and who you’re meeting; get to know people before letting them into your world, and if you’re a kid, make sure your parents or guardians get to know them as well.”

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Comments

  1. Gail B says:

    I’m still in awe of John Cardillo for the work he puts into protecting our children and grands. I put the Code Amber Alert ticker on my desktop and check it each time before I leave the house.

  2. Brian says:

    The one problem that I have with the whole sex offender registry is the “one size fits all” mentality. As the parent of a young girl, I have searched our state database for those living close to us and find it almost intolerable, of what is considered having to register as a sex offender. There isn’t any real distinguishing between a 18 year old male guilty of statutory rape of his 16 year old girl friend or some one in their mid 40s-50s that have been sexual preditors and truly dangerous.

    Do I want to protect my child and all others, Heck yeah. But there should be some sort of “offense” ranking so that someone got caught with their pants down one time, isn’t categorized the same way as someone of a larger crime.

  3. Seeks Truth says:

    You know I am always amazed at the people who prefer government intervention rather than applying common sense.

    First of all, why do so many people allow their children to participate in Facebook which is a colossal waste of time, not to mention the dangers. We don’t allow it in our home for good reason.

    Secondly, if we enforced laws for criminal behavior as we should, these guys would not be prowling around. They’d be locked away somewhere doing enough time for the crime. Obviously the punishment isn’t stiff enough to change behavior.

    But no, rather than address the problem with tools we already have and common sense, we have to ask for government to please intrude and protect us against our own stupidity. Absolutely insane.

    This is another baby step to more intrusion and yet you people do not get it. Not even conservatives!

  4. miracle2k says:

    Am I understanding correct that this act basically ensures that social networks may choose not to block offenders, but are nevertheless protected against civil claims should something happen that involves their site?

    If so, this is an amazingly considerate piece of legislation. I am pleasantly surprised.

  5. Rix says:

    A staunch conservative an a proud father of two daughters (a teenager and a first-grader), I nevertheless believe that the danger posed by the so-called “sex offenders” is often grossly overblown. Granted, there are some who are outright scary and dangerous to the society; however, many are petty violators whose only “crime” was a lewd compliment uttered into an inappropriate ear, or even outright slander victims steamrolled by a “politically correct” judge. Also, why should the society extend the punishment outside the sentence term?

  6. Rix says:

    Relying on administrative measures to protect one’s children, instead of pro-active education and vigorous monitoring of their Internet activities is not unlike relying on a governmental stimulus package to provide one’s job.

  7. ZMan! says:

    http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com

    It’s all hype. The task force, hired by the AG’s themselves, said, this is all overblown hype.

    http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/pubrelease/isttf/

  8. The Fallen One says:

    http://www.oncefallen.com/InternetLaws.html

    There are a lot of problems with the latest wave of predator panic, which will become painfully obvious when servers start blocking you from the net because you look like or share a name, or online ID with someone on the registry. Its stupid. Predator panic is overblown. Or are we too focused on revenge we can’t see the harm in these laws?

  9. Anonymous says:

    The solution is to kick all the non-college people off Facebook and return Facebook to the glory days.

    I remember when the sex offender MySpace drama first started. Facebook was immune. Facebook was all 18+.

    Then Facebook allowed in high schoolers and everything went to shit.

    Solution: Kick everyone under 18 off Facebook.

  10. Anonymous says:

    After watching John Stossel’s segment on the misuse of identifying who the real criminals are I agree with Brian that there needs to be a ranking system in our law that is not mislabeling events.

    That said, I believe Rix, Seeks Truth,, Zman, and The Fallen One, are using their own judgment and not looking at what is really going on, and what the “evidence” really is.

    If you are around a few teenagers often enough you will understand that parents have their hands full… even good parents who are trying their best. Kids simply do not have the mental maturity to understand the dangers (no matter how much they are told). Also, Dr. Phil had a program on this last night (Tues) and along with NBC’s dedicated programs you have no excuse for not understanding.

    Rix may indeed have daughters he can be proud of but if anything will keep one humble, your kids can do it.

    As the parent of sons and grandsons I realize the importance of making our laws “just” and not using them as a whip to emasculate young men.

    Still this problem is bigger than we are and we definitely need to take strong action to deal with the predators. Remember what started this conversation. We are talking about PREDATORS.

  11. MSLGWCEO says:

    "Net threat to minors less than feared"
    - A long awaited report from the Internet Safety Technical Task Force concludes that children and teens are less vulnerable to sexual predation than many have feared.

    The report also questions the efficacy and necessity of some commonly prescribed remedies designed to protect young people.
    FULL REPORT pdf:
    The task force was formed as a result of a joint agreement between MySpace and 49 state attorneys general.

    http://cfcoklahoma.org/New_Site/index.php?option=com_fireboard&Itemid=0&func=view&id=628&catid=21#628

  12. Anonymous says:

    are these pages those of sex offenders?
    http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewProfile&friendID=1647294

    http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewProfile&friendID=27895667

    Most would say not. But to deny a class of americans a forum to communicate which is used widely by america's politicians is a denial of free speech.

  13. foytik says:

    While I agree it is good to keep known sex offenders off of social networking sites such as facebook, this can never be relied upon as a defense from predators. There will always be offenders who havent been caught yet, and thus are not on any list. So myspace still has sex predators there as well. What I think has to be done, in addition to removing known predators is the following common sense measures.
    - have a good method for users to report people that make inappropriate comments, have it investigated and if valid then have them removed.
    - People on these sites should know that it is too dangerous to arrange meetings with people they have met online. It is up to parents to explain that to their children.

  14. Gail B says:

    Seeks Truth,
    The way I understand this, John Cardillo is not a government control; he has his own company. I am thankful that there is someone dedicated to protecting online predators of kids on the Internet. Teens today are “13 going on 30″ and are in the age of technology, whether we like it or not. You don’t remember Chris Hansen and “To Catch a Predator” on Dateline NBC? Even those who got caught admitted that they had heard of the series.

    John says in the last paragraph, “It’s all about education and awareness. We do a great job of catching known bad guys but, for end users, the same rules apply as they do in the real world. Don’t talk to strangers; tell a friend, parent or teacher where you’re going and who you’re meeting; get to know people before letting them into your world, and if you’re a kid, make sure your parents or guardians get to know them as well.”

    Even though the KIDS Act is government-sponsored, I harbor no objection to having my tax money being put to work for protecting the children of American citizens. Would you rather that it be LEGAL for a sexual predator to surf the ‘Net for a victim and there be nothing to be done?

    We, the parents, can’t do it all; the children can’t do it all. The National Association for Missing and Exploited Children can’t do it all. The kids are out there “doing their thing” socially, while the sharks are circling them for a strike.

    If John Cardillo should become the Bill Gates of the anti-predator software industry to protect our young and innocent, he is to be applauded! I guarantee that the 90,000 predators wish John would go away! Conservative or not, the KIDS Act is tax money well used by the government, even if it pays for John’s software. (I don’t know if it does or not and, quite frankly, don’t care!)

  15. Bodenzee says:

    Protecting young children from predators of any type is laudable. Using government to do what responsible parents used to do, and should do today is not. Turning over the parenting of children to government has scary long term consequences; some of which are already becoming visible.

  16. Kris says:

    And now we may get this:

    Your phone calls are urgently needed now! President Obama has nominated David Ogden to be the second person in command in the U.S. office of the Attorney General! Ogden must be confirmed by the Senate.

    Call your two senators and tell them to vote against the Ogden nomination. Ogden is no friend of the family.

    • As an attorney in private practice, David W. Ogden has filed briefs pushing for gays in the military.
    • He has litigated numerous obscenity and pornography cases on behalf of clients like Playboy, Penthouse, the ACLU and the largest distributor of hardcore pornographic movies.

    In various cases, he has filed briefs opposing:
    • parental notification before a minor’s abortion
    • spousal notification before an abortion
    • the military’s policy against public homosexuals serving in uniform
    • the Children’s Internet Protection Act and the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act.

    Addiction to porn is so often the basis for offenders’ actions.

  17. Anonymous says:

    The burning question that continues to go unanswered is not how to protect our children from predators, but why there are so many of them.

  18. Jan says:

    I have four children and I never expect someone else to do for them what I should be doing. There are controls out there to utilize. We use them. We monitor their internet usage. We are actively involved in every aspect of their lives. Unfortunately, not everyone else takes their responsibilities as seriously. For example…we do not allow our children to go over to a friend’s house if we have not met and get to know their parents. We have had numerous children over to our house without ever meeting the parents. Several girls have been at our house over Christmas break for two weeks and again over the summer for almost a month. Never once have we met the parents. This is sad but we see it all the time. These parents don’t know anything about my husband or I. We could be child predators. Technology has provided many wonderful ways to monitor and control activity. As companies come up with other capabilities the parents need to embrace them through education and implementation. I, personally, do not want or need additional government involvement.

  19. Seeks Truth says:

    Anonymous @ 6:38 said,
    That said, I believe Rix, Seeks Truth,, Zman, and The Fallen One, are using their own judgment and not looking at what is really going on, and what the “evidence” really is.

    If you are around a few teenagers often enough you will understand that parents have their hands full… even good parents who are trying their best. Kids simply do not have the mental maturity to understand the dangers (no matter how much they are told).

    Actually, yes I do understand that parents have their hands full. I’m one of them. I also home educate so I know about a full plate.

    And, yes, I have been around many adolescents. I disagree that our young people do not have the mental maturity to understand. They do have the capacity — it is just that our society has low expectations and our young people have lived up to all that we’ve asked. That is not the way it has always been. John Quincy Adams was a diplomat to France when he was 13yo. That’s one example of many young people of that era.

    If you treat them like adults (not just privileges but accompanying responsibilities), they will rise to the occasion. I’ve seen it. But this can’t start at 13yo. It starts when they are toddlers.

    Does this mean they won’t ever mess up? Certainly not. We cannot expect them to never fail. They will. My job as a parent is to navigate the minefield and protect them from the really dangerous traps, but to give them increasing freedoms as they are able to handle them. Yes, this means much sacrifice on my part.

    Children are a precious gift from the Lord. 18 years is such a short season of one’s life that I really don’t understand parents who willingly give up freedoms for a little convenience today.

    People, wake up! Think generationally for the sake of your posterity. That little convenience that seems to help you today is the bomb that blows up in your children’s face!

    Gail, I know that Mr. Cardillo is a business man. I love the idea of private enterprise employing him. I hate the idea of his government contracts, that’s all.

  20. Dinatep Pines says:

    Think about it: 90,000 “sex criminals” on Facebook alone. Just how many of these perverts are there in total?

    With a force of 90,000, I think they could mount a powerful lawsuit that their free speech rights were violated. Are these perverts mentally ill, or do they just have a different lifestyle (different to what I consider to be normal)?

    Less than 50 years ago, homosexuality was considered to be a mental illness, and its practice was still illegal in most of the U.S. Then, homosexuals successfuly made the rest of us accept their lifestyle. They made a number of very sucessful lawsuits, and got their people jobs as physiologists, psychiatrists, lawyers, community activists and especially politicians.

    I predict that by 2020, if the U.S. still exists, most of these perverts that were kicked off Facebook will have special Federal rights and that an act like kicking them off Facebook will be prosecuted as a hate crime and the “rightist” perps will go to prison.

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