Bid To Block Paedophiles On Facebook Fails

(Daily Mail) – GOVERNMENT PLANS to prevent paedophiles using social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace have failed over concerns about human rights laws. 

The Home Office has been forced to climb down after announcing in April that it was putting measures in place to restrict registered sex offenders from accessing internet sites used by children.

The new law would have applied to more than 30,000 sex offenders on the register, according to the Observer. Failure to comply would have carried up to five years’ imprisonment.

However, concerns that the plan is incompatible with the right to privacy has forced the Home Office to shelve it.

According to the newspaper, there are fears that any move by the police to share the personal details and email addresses of registered sex offenders with the social networking sites would be open to legal challenges. 

Following a ruling by the Court of Appeal earlier this year, the decision to shelve the new law was taken.

‘We’re seeking leave to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court,’ a Home Office spokesman told the newspaper.

There is a growing concern about paedophiles using networking sites to target children.

In its annual report, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOPC) said there had been a marked increase in the use of webcams linked to instant messaging technology to incite a child to perform or to witness a sexual act.

The CEOPC report says: ‘Cases in the past 12 months range from instances where offenders have infiltrated social networking and other online environments to collect pictures of young children to examples of sustained grooming and blackmail with offenders seeking to meet a child offline for abduction and sexual abuse.

‘The online and offline worlds are truly converged: the “virtual” environment is simply an extension of the real, physical world and that is as true for young people as it is for offenders.’

In the U.S. sex offenders are already banned from accessing personal networking sites, and the personal details of paedophiles are made public.

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