When will politicians learn to do a bit of research before coming up with wacky new ideas? The latest suggestion for protecting kids online is to force sex offenders to register their email address on an online database. Anyone with even a tiny bit of knowledge about the online world will immediately realise how completely futile this is.
If I started now I could probably have 100 new email addresses at countless different providers by the end of the day. I could use anonymizing services to further cover my tracks. I could join a multitude of social networking sites using fake email addresses; some of the sites don’t even insist on an email address.
It’s a stupid idea; it shouldn’t have made it past the “hmm, I wonder if…” stage without someone saying: that’s never gonna work. Do these people not have technical advisors?
The only way to protect children online is to educate parents and teachers so that they can educate and monitor their kids. I don’t know how much setting up a pointless database like this would cost, but I’m sure it’s enough to fund a few free training sessions at local community centres.