ESPN’s Erin Andrews: ‘No One Is Policing’ Internet, Which 'Needs to be Regulated’
July 28, 2010 - 6:41 PMESPN reporter Erin Andrews, a victim of stalking, appeared with members of Congress on Tuesday to announce the proposed "STALKERS Act."
“It needs to be regulated. It’s not. I mean, that’s the bottom line. It needs to be regulated. There’s no policing of it,” Andrews told CNSNews.com after the press conference on Capitol Hill.
CNSNews.com also asked Andrews if the government should monitor content on certain Web sites.
She said, “If somebody could think of something, I mean, they’d be a hero because, you know, there’s just a lot of stuff that needs to be policed; that needs to be looked at. No one’s held accountable for what they put on the Internet.”
Michael Barrett, an insurance agent from Illinois, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for recording a video of Andrews undressed in her hotel room through a peephole on the door and then trying to sell the video. Barrett eventually posted the video online.
Simplifying the Ambiguous Law, Keeping Everyone Reliably Safe Act, or STALKERS Act, was introduced in the House of Representatives last week by Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) and Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.). Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota plans to introduce the bill in the Senate.
According to Rep. Sanchez's press secretary Caroline Hogan, if the legislation is signed into law, it will expand the definition of “stalking” in current federal statutes to cover "any course of conduct in or substantially affecting interstate commerce," including technology like spyware and video surveillance.
Andrews, who appeared alongside the lawmakers announcing the proposed bill, said current stalking laws have not been updated to deal with modern technology.
“I need people to know how serious this is and that laws need to be tougher,” she said. “Penalties need to be stiffened.”
“I have seen with my own eyes, through first-hand experience that the laws have been taken way too lightly,” said Andrews. “They aren’t clear and they have not kept up with technology or the time.”
As a public figure, Andrews had some advice for other high-profile figures when it comes to protecting their privacy.
“I just think the biggest thing is you can’t let your guard down,” she said. “You have to be aware of everything that’s surrounding you.”
“Unfortunately, now with camera phones and, you know, there’s video cameras on every phone, basically anyone in the public eye pretty much knows they’re on notice 24-7,” said Andrews. “You can’t ever expect that people aren’t watching because someone always is.”
Andrews also told CNSNews.com that she plans to work as an advocate for stalking victims.
“I’m going to be working with the National Center for Victims of Crime and partnering with them and, simply, just like I said in there, just trying to strengthen some laws, make penalties a lot stiffer than they are,” she said.