Internet Bans

I’ve noticed many items in the news recently in regards to restrictions and additional punishments put in place for sex offenders. The more I read about these, the more I think that we are going too far in certain aspects. The latest example that I saw is an article in the NY Times that reports on a law passed by New Jersey which bans some sex offenders from using the internet. Not only this, but monitoring equipment must be installed on their computers and they are required to submit to periodic checks. I agree that sexual crimes should be punished severely, but at what point do we go too far? What other crimes receive this kind of monitoring after incarceration? At what point do these punishments spread to other types of crimes, and when will suspicion be reason enough to start this type of monitoring? Are thieves banned from going to stores where they might be able to steal things? Are bank robbers banned from entering banks? To me, this kind of punishment is excessive, and I do not see exactly what it aims to stop these people from doing. If they really wanted to commit another crime, there are plenty of other ways to do so that do not require finding victims on the internet. In a time when the internet has become a part of everyday life this is a very broad punishment to pass unilaterally. I also wonder exactly what the law defines as part of the internet. Does it ban all computer networks? Are they allowed to use a LAN without external access, or other types of private networks? Theres a lot of gray area there that would be very difficult to properly address.

There seems to be a fascination with sexual crimes and crimes against children in the government recently, and the repercussions of this trend are rather worrisome. As these kinds of severe punishments become more commonplace, they will be used more and more in other, less severe crimes. I see this as a bad sign, as a sign of a government that does not understand technology or the internet, and a sign of a government more obsessed with information on its citizens. Although these laws do not affect me, it is a slippery slope that can soon start impacting citizens who have not committed a crime. There is already a problem with warrantless surveillance, and I fear that these laws are a continuation on a road that I do not think any government should go down.

Presidental Canidates

I had some downtime today and took it upon myself to read up on the views of some of the candidates for the 2008 presidential election. In order to get a good feel for the different candidates, and since many of their own webpages lack good information, I read the Wikipedia pages on them. Of course Wikipedia has its issues, but the information on their views is factual in nature and well sourced. After reading the pages on Clinton, Obama, Thompson, Romney, and Paul, I must say that I like Ron Paul the most. His views on almost everything align with my own, such as his views on government spending, foreign policy, abortion, individual liberties, gun control and certain economic policies, just to name a few things. As much as I favor Ron Paul, it seems that he does not have the same support behind him that the other candidates do. I cannot see a Republican winning the presidency in 2008 due to their rampant unpopularity at the moment, so I think that the Republicans need someone who can easily distance himself from the Bush administration, something that Paul can easily do based on his voting record. I’m unsure if Ron Paul can win the Republican nomination, but I think that if he did, he would have the best chance against his Democrat opponent, however I don’t think that mainstream Republicans will go for someone like Paul.  Theres always a chance, however, and i will be voting in the Republican primaries this year, even if New York doesn’t matter since other states have loaded their primaries so early…