According to an MSNBC article published earlier today, many States are considering the creation of another type of Online Offenders Registry – one for anyone involved in the “cooking” or dealing of methamphetamine. Online Offenders Registries in the United States were previously restricted to sex offenders, namely, rapists and pedophiles. The question is, “What’s the point, and why just meth?”
Tennessee, the first to implement such a system in March of 2005, has the highest rate of meth abuse. Jennifer Johnson of the PR Dept. at the Tennessee’s regional version of the FBI makes a case for an internet registry that lists meth – and meth only – makers:
“Unlike other drugs where it is really [only] harmful to you and your family, meth is hazardous to all around you. […] That’s why we don’t foresee a heroin or cocaine registry.”
What Johnson is referring to are the “meth factories” required in the production of amphetamines. Unlike other drugs and illegal substances, “cooking” meth results in highly-dangerous toxic waste, that can affect entire communities and is relatively expensive to clean. However, given that Meth Makers’ Registry lists only contain the location of the meth lab in question and the name of those involved in its production, its viability as a measure of public safety and its preference over the creation of other drug registries becomes questionable.
Since the Meth Registry only contains the ex-location of meth labs, and doesn’t contain actual address of offenders, its unlikely that it would be of any use since its impossible for the same location – once compromised – to be used again for the same purpose. Given that it doesn’t list users of meth, but only those involved in the production and sale of amphethetamines, might it not be more useful to create a registry of more-commonly abused (and more dangerous) drugs like cocaine and heroine.
If the point of the National Online Meth Registry is to protect the public and provide information vital to the safety of individuals and the community at large, perhaps the efforts of the FBI would be best implemented in a registry that lists the actual & registered physical addresses of those convicted in the creation and distribution of meth and/or other more lethal substances.
In a time where tapping of phone lines and monitoring of any and all email has become the daily norm in the United States, its not the privacy issues that would inhibit the creation of such a registry1 but rather its purpose and usefulness to the society as a whole.
Such was the case when the sex offenders list was first proposed and later implemented ↩︎