Racy emails could land sender on sex offenders list

If you live in the United Kingdom, you'd better give serious thought before you forward the latest racy email to a bunch of friends or colleagues. You could end up on a sex offenders registry. Sophos, an antivirus and anti-spam company, is warning users that a recent amendment to the United Kingdom's Sexual Offenses Act, which was introduced in 2003, now lists electronic communication found to be "grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene, or menacing character" as punishable by a Sexual Offenses Prevention Order. Sending emails of a "sexual nature" could land the sender on the sex offenders register, according to media reports in the United Kingdom. The amendment brings electronic communications into the scope of offenses being monitored. Being added to the list is at the discretion of the police or a judge. "Being listed on the sex offenders register is no laughing matter," said Carole Theriault, senior security consultant at Sophos, in a written statement. "Although some senders might intentionally want to cause upset with an offensive email, others might see it as a joke or a marketing tactic. The problem is that a recipient might see things very differently, so it is wise to think twice before pressing the send button. "Businesses should clearly explain their electronic communication policies to their employees, as well as consider a security solution to help block undesirable messages from reaching a recipient's desktop," she wrote. No responsibility can be taken for the content of external Internet sites.

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