updated 5/24/2007 8:43:52 PM ET 2007-05-25T00:43:52

Connecticut and at least a dozen other states are considering whether to require convicted sex offenders to register their e-mail addresses as part of efforts to combat online sexual predators.

Three states — Virginia, Arizona and Kentucky — already require sex offenders to provide law enforcement with their e-mail addresses, as well as their home addresses.

The bills have support from the popular social networking site, which has been under increasing pressure to ferret out convicted child molesters and stop them from creating online profiles.

Connecticut's proposal would require sex offenders to register any e-mail addresses, instant message addresses or other Internet identifiers with the state police. Those who don't report the information would face up to five years in prison.

It also makes it a felony for any person to misrepresent his or her age on the Internet to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity.

The bill passed the state House on a vote of 149-0 on Thursday and awaits action in the Senate. It would be part of the state's version of Megan's Law, named after a 7-year-old New Jersey girl who was raped and murdered in 1994 by a sex offender who lived across the street.

"Megan's Law is based on keeping track of where sex offenders reside. So it makes sense to track their location in cyberspace," said Connecticut House Speaker James Amann. "The Internet represents a new frontier of sex predators."

MySpace says 13 other states are considering similar bills and is lobbying for similar legislation on the national level.

"Our laws need to change with the times," said the company's chief security officer, Hemanshu Nigam. "We can no longer unwittingly provide an advantage to predators online."

Typical MySpace profiles include photos, music and personal information, including hometowns and education. Users can send messages to one another and browse other profiles.

The company said Thursday that it has removed 7,000 registered sex offenders' profiles from its site after hiring a software company to identify them.

"Mandatory sex offender e-mail registration legislation would significantly expedite this process and help keep sex offenders off our sites," Nigam said.

Myspace balked last week when the attorneys general of eight states asked that the company share information on sex offenders, saying the information was protected under federal privacy laws. It agreed to release the data Monday after some of the officials filed subpoenas, which Myspace said was required under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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