ELECTRONIC SECURITY AND
TARGETING OF ONLINE PREDATORS ACT

LAWS OF NEW YORK, 2008
CHAPTER 67

AN ACT to amend the correction law, the penal law, the executive law and
the state finance law, in relation to the protection of people who use
internet services from convicted sex offenders

Became a law April 28, 2008, with the approval of the Governor.
Passed by a majority vote, three-fifths being present.

EXPLANATION--Matter in italics is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law
to be omitted.

The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
bly, do enact as follows:

Section 1. Legislative purpose and findings. The danger of recidivism
posed by sex offenders who commit predatory acts against children, and
the protection of the public from these offenders, are of paramount
concern and interest to the legislature. As a result, the legislature
has enacted a series of laws to monitor sex offenders and protect the
public from victimization, specifically, a system to: register sex
offenders; provide law enforcement agencies, entities with vulnerable
populations, and the general public access to information contained in
the state's sex offender registry; prohibit high risk sex offenders from
entering upon school grounds; and civilly confine dangerous sex offen-
ders who would likely re-offend if released. Such laws have enhanced the
state's ability to protect the public and prevent further victimization,
sexual abuse and exploitation.
However, existing law has failed to keep pace with rapid advances in
computer technology, particularly the internet. People meet, socialize
and exchange ideas through online services such as social networking
websites. Such websites are accessible to minors who may easily be
presented with obscene or indecent material and be subjected to unlawful
sexual advances from adults. Therefore, in the hands of a sexual preda-
tor intent on harming minors, social networking websites and other simi-
lar services pose a clear and present danger to New Yorkers. Behind a
computer screen, convicted sex offenders are able to hide their identity
while attempting to engage children in illicit activity. Additionally,
given the secrecy, manipulation and deception that often accompanies sex
offending behavior, the internet -- with its promise of anonymity -- can
provide an opportunity for convicted sex offenders on probation or
parole to circumvent supervision, thereby undermining their treatment
and increasing the risk of recidivism.
Recent investigations conducted by the attorney general have found
that tens of thousands of known sex offenders use social networking
websites popular with children. Existing law, however, does not require
sex offenders to provide the division of criminal justice services
certain key internet identifiers, notwithstanding that such offenders
must disclose personal information such as their home address, expected
place of domicile and driver's license number. Moreover, while existing
law mandates that dangerous sex offenders on probation or parole be
prohibited from entering places where children congregate, such as
school grounds, there are no such mandatory prohibitions to prevent
offenders from victimizing children in cyberspace.
As a result of his investigations, the attorney general has worked
with various social networking websites and other types of internet
service providers to strengthen security of online services and better
police them of known predators. For example, in 2007, the attorney
general entered into a landmark settlement agreement with a large social
networking website that created a new model to enforce safeguards aimed
at protecting children and adolescents from sexual predators, obscene
content and harassment.
While such settlements have greatly enhanced protections for children,
existing law limits the ability of law enforcement to prevent a sex
offender from using the internet to contact a child in the first place.
For example, social networking websites are not currently able to access
internet information contained in the state's sex offender registry and
are therefore unable to preclude sex offenders from accessing such
website's most vulnerable users.
The legislature is mindful that more than 200,000,000 American adults
use the internet for employment purposes, to access educational opportu-
nities, communicate with family and friends, manage finances and pay
bills, stay informed of news and current events, and shop. Further,
persons on parole and probation currently face many barriers to employ-
ment and educational opportunities as a result of having a criminal
record. Studies indicate that access to employment and education great-
ly reduces the risk of recidivism by ex-offenders. Therefore, any meas-
ure that restricts an offender's use of the internet must be tailored to
specifically target the types of offenses committed on the internet
while not making it impossible for such offenders to successfully rein-
tegrate back into society.
This groundbreaking legislation enables New York to combat misuse of
the internet by convicted sex offenders by requiring sex offenders to
register their internet identifiers with law enforcement, permitting
social networking websites to access the internet identifiers of
convicted sexual predators in order to prescreen or remove them from
services used by children and notify law enforcement of potential
violations of law, and prohibiting certain high risk sex offenders from
using the internet to victimize children.
In balancing offenders' rights, and the interests of public security,
the legislature finds that releasing information about sex offenders to
appropriate and responsible parties will further the primary government
interest of protecting vulnerable populations and the public from poten-
tial harm.
Likewise, the law mandates that the court and the parole board prohib-
it certain dangerous convicted sex offenders from using the internet to
access inappropriate material, access a commercial social networking
website, communicate with others for the purpose of promoting sexual
relations with minors, or, in certain circumstances, communicate with
minors and further authorizes sentencing courts to impose as a condition
of probation reasonable limitations on a sex offender's internet use as
it determines to be necessary or appropriate.
§ 2. Short title. This act shall be known and may be cited as the
"electronic security and targeting of online predators act".
§ 3. Section 168-a of the correction law is amended by adding three
new subdivisions 16, 17 and 18 to read as follows:
16. "Authorized internet entity" means any business, organization or
other entity providing or offering a service over the internet which
permits persons under eighteen years of age to access, meet, congregate
or communicate with other users for the purpose of social networking.
This definition shall not include general e-mail services.
17. "Internet access provider" means any business, organization or
other entity engaged in the business of providing a computer and commu-
nications facility through which a customer may obtain access to the
internet, but does not include a business, organization or other entity
to the extent that it provides only telecommunications services.
18. "Internet identifiers" means electronic mail addresses and desig-
nations used for the purposes of chat, instant messaging, social
networking or other similar internet communication.
§ 4. Paragraph (a) of subdivision 1 of section 168-b of the correction
law, as amended by chapter 11 of the laws of 2002, is amended to read as
follows:
(a) The sex offender's name, all aliases used, date of birth, sex,
race, height, weight, eye color, driver's license number, home address
and/or expected place of domicile, any internet accounts with internet
access providers belonging to such offender and [any] internet [screen
names used by] identifiers that such offender uses.
§ 5. Subdivision 10 of section 168-b of the correction law is renum-
bered subdivision 11 and a new subdivision 10 is added to read as
follows:
10. The division shall, upon the request of any authorized internet
entity, release to such entity internet identifiers that would enable
such entity to prescreen or remove sex offenders from its services or,
in conformity with state and federal law, advise law enforcement and/or
other governmental entities of potential violations of law and/or
threats to public safety. Before releasing any information the division
shall require an authorized internet entity that requests information
from the registry to submit to the division the name, address and tele-
phone number of such entity and the specific legal nature and corporate
status of such entity. Except for the purposes specified in this subdi-
vision, an authorized internet entity shall not publish or in any way
disclose or redisclose any information provided to it by the division
pursuant to this subdivision. The division may charge an authorized
internet entity a fee for access to registered internet identifiers
requested by such entity pursuant to this subdivision. The division
shall promulgate rules and regulations relating to procedures for the
release of information in the registry, including but not limited to,
the disclosure and redisclosure of such information, and the imposition
of any fees.
§ 6. Subdivision 4 of section 168-f of the correction law, as amended
by section 5 of part F of chapter 62 of the laws of 2003, is amended to
read as follows:
4. Any sex offender shall register with the division no later than ten
calendar days after any change of address, internet accounts with inter-
net access providers belonging to such offender, internet identifiers
that such offender uses, or [any change of] his or her status of enroll-
ment, attendance, employment or residence at any institution of higher
education. A fee of ten dollars, as authorized by subdivision eight of
section one hundred sixty-eight-b of this article, shall be submitted by
the sex offender each time such offender registers any change of address
or any change of his or her status of enrollment, attendance, employment
or residence at any institution of higher education. Any failure or
omission to submit the required fee shall not affect the acceptance by
the division of the change of address or change of status.
§ 7. Subdivision 4-a of section 65.10 of the penal law, as amended by
chapter 320 of the laws of 2006, is amended to read as follows:
4-a. Mandatory [condition] conditions for sex offenders. (a) When
imposing a sentence of probation or conditional discharge upon a person
convicted of an offense defined in article one hundred thirty, two
hundred thirty-five or two hundred sixty-three of this chapter, or
section 255.25, 255.26 or 255.27 of this chapter, and the victim of such
offense was under the age of eighteen at the time of such offense or
such person has been designated a level three sex offender pursuant to
subdivision six of section 168-l of the correction law, the court shall
require, as a mandatory condition of such sentence, that such sentenced
offender shall refrain from knowingly entering into or upon any school
grounds, as that term is defined in subdivision fourteen of section
220.00 of this chapter, or any other facility or institution primarily
used for the care or treatment of persons under the age of eighteen
while one or more of such persons under the age of eighteen are present,
provided however, that when such sentenced offender is a registered
student or participant or an employee of such facility or institution or
entity contracting therewith or has a family member enrolled in such
facility or institution, such sentenced offender may, with the written
authorization of his or her probation officer or the court and the
superintendent or chief administrator of such facility, institution or
grounds, enter such facility, institution or upon such grounds for the
limited purposes authorized by the probation officer or the court and
superintendent or chief officer. Nothing in this subdivision shall be
construed as restricting any lawful condition of supervision that may be
imposed on such sentenced offender.
(b) When imposing a sentence of probation or conditional discharge
upon a person convicted of an offense for which registration as a sex
offender is required pursuant to subdivision two or three of section one
hundred sixty-eight-a of the correction law, and the victim of such
offense was under the age of eighteen at the time of such offense or
such person has been designated a level three sex offender pursuant to
subdivision six of section one hundred sixty-eight-l of the correction
law or the internet was used to facilitate the commission of the crime,
the court shall require, as mandatory conditions of such sentence, that
such sentenced offender be prohibited from using the internet to access
pornographic material, access a commercial social networking website,
communicate with other individuals or groups for the purpose of promot-
ing sexual relations with persons under the age of eighteen, and commu-
nicate with a person under the age of eighteen when such offender is
over the age of eighteen, provided that the court may permit an offender
to use the internet to communicate with a person under the age of eigh-
teen when such offender is the parent of a minor child and is not other-
wise prohibited from communicating with such child. Nothing in this
subdivision shall be construed as restricting any other lawful condition
of supervision that may be imposed on such sentenced offender. As used
in this subdivision, a "commercial social networking website" shall mean
any business, organization or other entity operating a website that
permits persons under eighteen years of age to be registered users for
the purpose of establishing personal relationships with other users,
where such persons under eighteen years of age may: (i) create web pages
or profiles that provide information about themselves where such web
pages or profiles are available to the public or to other users; (ii)
engage in direct or real time communication with other users, such as a
chat room or instant messenger; and (iii) communicate with persons over
eighteen years of age; provided, however, that, for purposes of this
subdivision, a commercial social networking website shall not include a
website that permits users to engage in such other activities as are not
enumerated herein.
§ 8. Section 65.10 of the penal law is amended by adding a new subdi-
vision 5-a to read as follows:
5-a. Other conditions for sex offenders. When imposing a sentence of
probation upon a person convicted of an offense for which registration
as a sex offender is required pursuant to subdivision two or three of
section one hundred sixty-eight-a of the correction law, in addition to
any conditions required under subdivisions two, three, four, four-a and
five of this section, the court may require that the defendant comply
with a reasonable limitation on his or her use of the internet that the
court determines to be necessary or appropriate to ameliorate the
conduct which gave rise to the offense or to protect public safety,
provided that the court shall not prohibit such sentenced offender from
using the internet in connection with education, lawful employment or
search for lawful employment.
§ 9. Subdivisions 15 and 16 of section 259-c of the executive law are
renumbered subdivisions 16 and 17 and a new subdivision 15 is added to
read as follows:
15. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, where
a person is serving a sentence for an offense for which registration as
a sex offender is required pursuant to subdivision two or three of
section one hundred sixty-eight-a of the correction law, and the victim
of such offense was under the age of eighteen at the time of such
offense or such person has been designated a level three sex offender
pursuant to subdivision six of section one hundred sixty-eight-l of the
correction law or the internet was used to facilitate the commission of
the crime, is released on parole or conditionally released pursuant to
subdivision one or two of this section, the board shall require, as
mandatory conditions of such release, that such sentenced offender shall
be prohibited from using the internet to access pornographic material,
access a commercial social networking website, communicate with other
individuals or groups for the purpose of promoting sexual relations with
persons under the age of eighteen, and communicate with a person under
the age of eighteen when such offender is over the age of eighteen,
provided that the board may permit an offender to use the internet to
communicate with a person under the age of eighteen when such offender
is the parent of a minor child and is not otherwise prohibited from
communicating with such child. Nothing in this subdivision shall be
construed as restricting any other lawful condition of supervision that
may be imposed on such sentenced offender. As used in this subdivision,
a "commercial social networking website" shall mean any business, organ-
ization or other entity operating a website that permits persons under
eighteen years of age to be registered users for the purpose of estab-
lishing personal relationships with other users, where such persons
under eighteen years of age may: (i) create web pages or profiles that
provide information about themselves where such web pages or profiles
are available to the public or to other users; (ii) engage in direct or
real time communication with other users, such as a chat room or instant
messenger; and (iii) communicate with persons over eighteen years of
age; provided, however, that, for purposes of this subdivision, a
commercial social networking website shall not include a website that
permits users to engage in such other activities as are not enumerated
herein.
§ 10. Subdivision 2 of section 97-bb of the state finance law, as
added by chapter 309 of the laws of 1996, is amended to read as follows:
2. The criminal justice improvement account shall consist of monies
received by the state pursuant to section 60.35 of the penal law and
monies received by the state pursuant to section eighteen hundred nine
of the vehicle and traffic law from any court of the unified court
system other than town or village courts and all other fees, fines,
grants, bequests or other monies credited, appropriated or transferred
thereto from any other fund or source. Such account shall also consist
of all monies received by the division of criminal justice services
pursuant to subdivision ten of section one hundred sixty-eight-b of the
correction law.
§ 11. This act shall take effect immediately; provided, however, that
subdivisions 16, 17 and 18 of section 168-a of the correction law, as
added by section three of this act, paragraph (a) of subdivision 1 of
section 168-b of the correction law, as amended by section four of this
act, subdivision 10 of section 168-b of the correction law, as added by
section five of this act and subdivision 4 of section 168-f of the
correction law, as amended by section six of this act, shall apply to
all sex offenders registered or required to register prior to, or on or
after the effective date of this act.

The Legislature of the STATE OF NEW YORK ss:
Pursuant to the authority vested in us by section 70-b of the Public
Officers Law, we hereby jointly certify that this slip copy of this
session law was printed under our direction and, in accordance with such
section, is entitled to be read into evidence.

JOSEPH L. BRUNO
Temporary President of the Senate
SHELDON SILVER
Speaker of the Assembly