Facebook now has over 900 million users worldwide, and as Michael Martinez of CNN reports, such a massive user base has inspired a new state law aimed at educating communities about sex offenders:
A new Louisiana law requires sex offenders and child predators to state their criminal status on their Facebook or other social networking page, with the law’s author saying the bill is the first of its kind in the nation.
State Rep. Jeff Thompson, a Republican from Bossier City, Louisiana, says his new law, effective August 1, will stand up to constitutional challenge because it expands sex offender registration requirements, common in many states, to include a disclosure on the convicted criminal’s social networking sites as well.
Martinez goes on to report that Facebook “applauded” the new law.
Like a number of states, Louisiana received a stimulus grant to build out broadband access. Unfortunately, the state will now be returning the $80 million it received. As The Washington Post’s Cecilia Kang reports:
The NTIA’s grant to Louisiana Broadband Alliance was intended to create a fiber optic network stretching 900 miles to the most economically distressed areas of the state. Six state agencies said they would coordinate on the project, which was to provide access to schools, libraries and health care facilities.
But the project didn’t meet the NTIA’s deadlines, and the state changed plans and didn’t give enough technical and financial details to ensure the project would be completed.
“We have worked closely with the state throughout the last several months to rescue this project but have now concluded that we have to move on,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce Lawrence Strickling, who heads the NTIA.
The Louisiana House of Representatives has voted to place a 15¢ monthly charge on statewide Internet service in order to fund online crime prevention. Reports the Washington Post:
The charge on Internet access would begin in 2010, charged to users on their monthly bill. Public libraries and public schools would be exempt. The dollars would flow into an “Internet Crimes Investigation Fund” for Caldwell’s office to investigate online sex crimes, online child pornography and Internet fraud schemes.
The tax now moves to the Senate. Governor Bobby Jindal is apparently against it.