NYS Seal For Immediate Release:
April 14, 2008


Assembly Gives Final Passage To
Attorney General Cuomo's Internet Safety Bill

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assembly Codes Committee Chair Joseph Lentol today announced final passage of legislation developed by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to help prevent sex crimes by prohibiting inappropriate use of the internet by sex offenders. This bill (A.9859-A/S.6875-A) is the result of an agreement with the attorney general and the Senate to prevent sex offenders from preying on children through internet social networking sites.

"I applaud our Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, for his leadership and for working with the Legislature to craft this legislation that will make the internet safer for our children. The Assembly will continue to work with the Attorney General's office to halt internet predation whenever and wherever it appears," said Silver.

The lawmakers pointed to this legislation as another in a series of laws enacted by the Assembly Majority to monitor sex offenders and better protect New York's children from victimization. A second bill passed by the Assembly would make it a felony to lure a child for the purpose of committing a sex offense and any violent felony offense (A.8488-A/Titone).

The Electronic Security and Targeting of Online Predators Act (E-STOP) mandates that sex offenders register internet accounts and screen names used for social networking purposes with law enforcement; allows social networking web sites to access sex offender internet information in order to prevent offenders from preying on children and report violations of law to investigators; and restricts use of the Internet by certain sex offenders on probation and parole.

"The internet is a great tool for learning and communicating. Vehicles such as MySpace, Facebook, and Instant Messaging offer us and our families a world of cultures and characters within the privacy of our homes or anywhere one can access a computer," said Silver. "However, as a father and grandfather, I know that social networking web sites can present a clear and present danger to innocent and unsuspecting users. This bill puts appropriate safeguards in place to keep our children and others out of harm."

"This legislation creates strong online restrictions and requires sex offenders to keep law enforcement informed of their internet identifying information. E-STOP will help prevent sex offenses by allowing service providers to effectively screen and remove offenders from their networking sites. By passing this law, New York leads the nation in protecting our children from dangerous sex offenders." said Lentol (D-Brooklyn).

Under the bill:

  • All sex offenders who are required to register under Megan's Law must register with the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) all internet accounts and provide all electronic mail addresses and designations used for the purposes of chatting, instant messaging, social networking or other similar internet communications;
  • Registered sex offenders must notify DCJS within 10 days of any changes in internet information, or face the current penalties under Megan's Law for failing to register - a class E felony for a first offense and a class D felony for subsequent offenses; and
  • Sex offenders' internet information will be made available to social networking Web sites who are authorized to prescreen or remove offenders and advise law enforcement if there is a potential violation of law or a threat to public safety.

The bill also imposes new, mandatory conditions of conditional discharge, probation and parole on certain dangerous sex offenders, including prohibiting their use of the internet to:

  • Access pornography;
  • Communicate with other individuals or groups for the purpose of promoting sexual relations with minors; and
  • Communicate with a minor

Continuing the Assembly's commitment to protect children, legislation was also passed to make it a felony to lure a child under the age of seventeen. Sponsored by Assemblyman Matthew Titone, this legislation would create a felony for luring a child for the purpose of committing a felony sex offense or any violent offense against such child. A defendant convicted of luring a child to commit a felony sex offense would also have to register as a sex offender under Megan's Law.

"This bill helps keep our children safe by giving law enforcement another tool to prosecute those who prey on them," says Titone (D-Staten Island). "On the internet or on the street, it is a felony crime to lure a child for any sexual or violent act."