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Social Networks to enforce anti-pedophile safety net

New government proposals could see sex offenders details, all 30,000 of them, being passed on to social networking websites like Facebook, Bebo or Myspace to prevent them from contacting young people.

Websites could be asked to monitor the activities of registered sex offenders and perverts; those who fail to provide the correct email address could be face up to five years in the clink.

But the plans were lambasted by organisations working to promote the rights of children; The executive director of children's campaign group Kidscape, Michele Elliott, pointed out that : "These people aren't unintelligent, they will get other e-mail addresses. I just don't see how it can work in practice."

In effect, the government plans amount no more than a Public Relation exercise as there are too many loopholes that can make the announced scheme woefully ineffective.

Email accounts can be created in seconds, perverts can create several accounts, use shared wireless connections or even give out fake details which will prevent them from being recognised and ISPs from tracking their usage.

A recent report by the Ofcom showed that nearly half of children and teenagers aged between 8 and 17 have an online profile and that most parents are unaware of the online activity of their children.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.