With the opportunity that online social networking provides for anonymity and the popularity of such sites among pre-teens and teenagers it is little wonder that they attract people with a propensity to seek sexual activity with the very young. Those familiar with Governing through Crime will recognize that this represents an all too familiar pattern in which ever more aspects of life are opened up to scrutiny and action around the problem of crime.
Corporations hire cops to do what cops have always done, sleuth out bad guys. Sounding like a classic gumshoe, former NYPD member, now MySpace security expert, John Cardillo explains:
"Criminals are impulsive; predators are impulsive," said Cardillo, chief executive of Security Tech. "They trip up more than they think they do, if you know what to look for. And we do."
Attorney Generals and legislatures can develop new laws requiring sex offenders to make their emails available and segregating youth centered portions of the web from registered sex offenders.
Parents facilitated by social networking sites can develop new strategies to control their children in the name of keeping them safe from predators.
None of this is meant to suggest that social networking sites do not attract sex offenders (of course they do, why wouldn't they be attracted to sites full of pictures and details about the young subjects they crave). But it is interesting that among its other marvelous and useful functions, cyberspace now allows those who have already done everything possible to separate themselves from the deviant and dangerous by moving to a gated community, sending their kids to class- and race- segregated private schools, and insisting on 24/7 control over their kids can now have a nearly endless space in which to still feel vulnerable about crime and their kids.
Moreover, it seems clear that no one can actually get molested online. Unless you agree to go somewhere and meet one of these sexual offenders, you don't get hurt. Which underscores another repetitious feature of governing through crime, that the best strategies have to do with making potential victims smarter about their own behavior rather than seeking to exercise more control over the X minus 29,000 sexual offenders still on MySpace.