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Louisiana law outs sex offenders online

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Sex offenders in Louisiana are about to have a much tougher time using the Internet.

According to a new law that takes effect Aug. 1, any Louisiana resident on the sex offender registry must include in his online profiles (the language of the bill is strictly masculine):

“an indication that he is a sex offender or child predator and shall include notice of the crime for which he was convicted, the jurisdiction of conviction, a description of his physical characteristics ... and his residential address.”

Moreover, the information must be visible not only to other users of a site, but also to people who aren’t logged in.

The new law leaves much up to interpretation: Will people be found liable for accounts they made years ago and forgot about? Are they banned from using sites that hides users’ profiles from people who aren’t logged in?

It certainly will have more effect on some sites than others. Facebook famously bans convicted sex offenders outright from using the site. However, Forbes has noted that with the exception of Match.com, most other major sites do not ban sex offenders from creating accounts.

Anyone found guilty faces a minimum of a $1,000 fine and two years in prison.

State Representative Jeff Thompson, who helped author the bill, indicated that its purpose isn’t to further shame sex offenders as much as to combat predators online.

However, he admitted the law likely will cause its own problems.

"It may not be the perfect solution," Thompson told MSNBC.

Photo by Rochelle, just rochelle