Is a Sex Offender List an Invasion of Privacy?

A while ago, I learned that libertarians consider sex offender lists to be invasions of privacy. To a certain extent, I think I agree, and I’ll return to that in a moment. First, I’d like to consider why I would disagree.

As a woman, I am statistically more likely to be a victim of some form of sexual assault. As a being with empathy, I think rapists have done something horrific, especially child rapists. With that in mind, putting rapists on a list and forcing them to identify themselves so they are less likely to find new victims sounds like a great idea!

However, nothing is ever that simple. Many people on the sex offender list are not guilty or even convicted of rape. Some people are wrongfully convicted, and I don’t mean just of rape.

A full third of those on the list are juveniles.

There’s no distinguishing the “offender” convicted as a child or teenager with low risk of repetition from the hardened criminal who should be rotting in jail.

I think sex offender lists are a pretty good idea overall, as an attempt to help keep people safe from possibly the worst of crimes one person can commit against another. I also think they are poorly executed, and should be much more restricted than they are.

What do you think?

2 thoughts on “Is a Sex Offender List an Invasion of Privacy?

  1. Is a Sex Offender List an Invasion of Privacy?


    It’s an arrogant and selfish public safety “initiative” that circumvents actual privacy, security and safety for perceived safety and security for worrywart parents. Community notification is an intrusive and invasive invasion of privacy. It’s systematic and orchestrated abuse and neglect, not to mention legalized harassment and cyberbullying.

    Megan’s Flaw is an abject failure across the board. It’s too controversial and it’s merits are questionable. It gives one segment of society an advantage over another and in a manner that is totally disconnected from any statistical realities about the actual dangers faced. It implies that ALL sex offenders are safety threats around children which is patently false.

    Think of it this way. If the registry didn’t exist tomorrow, children would NOT be less safe or more vulnerable. Not “knowing” where someone lives would not create an imminent threat to children. It would actually be an acceptable risk because children somehow survived in this crazy world of ours before the registry even went Online. It was only the self-righteousness of the Walshs’ and Kankas’ that brought us the current train wreck we have today. What good does it do to “honor” your child’s memory with a reactionary law that stands for fear-mongering, ignorance and hate?

    This has nothing to do with “protecting children” and everything to do with abuse of power and technology.

    1. Thanks for your comment!

      While I think you’ve got some good points here, I think you would be reacting much differently if you had had a child raped and murdered. In such circumstances, from what I’ve heard, no amount of punishment for those who would do such things seems unreasonable.

      We used to not have vaccines and many children survived. Is it an acceptable risk to take them away? Simply because children did survive before something is not reason enough to say removing that something is an acceptable risk.

      I do think dissolving the sex offender lists would be an acceptable risk, but only because I don’t think it is really saving children at a greater rate than any other solution.

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