The answer to the question in the headline is - of course - in the text of the story.
This is a difficult issue for a libertarian. I don't believe the State has the right - generally - to conceal information from the public. It exists to serve the public and whatever its servants know, they know on the public's behalf. However, the State also has a duty to protect the privacy of private individuals. You would not want your tax return published online as "public information", would you?
Here, I think the press is focussing on the wrong issue. The question is not "would you want to know if a sex offender was living near your children?". Knowledge is power and the obvious answer is "yes". There is also an argument that the "Megan's Law" approach is only achieving, in a modern mobile society, what used to occur naturally when people lived in more stable communities. The local paedophiles were known and children were warned against them by families and neighbours. Their proclivities were to some extent controlled by the knowledge that the community was watching them and, yes, might take matters into its own hands if children were harmed. Why should this not happen now?
A more difficult question is whether, having paid his debt to society by doing jail time, someone who committed an offence should still be regarded as an "offender". If a convicted, time-served, paedophile is so dangerous that his neighbours need to know his history, then he should not have been released. If he is safe enough to be released, then his privacy can safely be respected so as to maximise his chances of rehabilitation.
The real issue is the correct sentencing and/or treatment of paedophiles, which is itself a difficult issue.
We are all (or most of us outside Opus Dei, the Russian Orthodox Church and the Nigerian Anglicans) reconciled to the idea that a homosexual is no more "to blame" for his sexual orientation than a heterosexual. He is what he is and must be able to live his life on the same terms as anyone else - i.e. free to live as he chooses, provided his choices do no harm to others.
A paedophile has no more choice in his sexual orientation than a homosexual. The problem is that living his sexual life as he chooses cannot be done without harm, as he desires children too young to make sexual choices. In a sense though, criminal punishment is as absurd for him as it always was for homosexuals. [I can already hear my more conventionally right-wing readers going ballistic at this point].
A paedophile who cannot contain his sexual urges is in need of treatment. The closure of secure psychiatric hospitals under the guise of "care in the community" has in practice filled our jails with men and women who would previously have been their inmates. I suspect that many paedophiles fall into the same category. How much more humane would it be for a paedophile with uncontrollable urges to be "sectioned" or to admit himself for treatment, than to leave him to cope alone, to the endangerment of the children around him.
I also question whether the current witch-hunt about "child pornography" is entirely constructive. Of course anything which involves harming children in the making of it should be a crime. But Japanese style manga cartoons, or realistic CGI imagery - however disgusting it might seem to non-paedophiles - should probably be available to help them deal with their sexuality in a way that does not harm children.
This is a subject it would be much easier not to write about. Anything one does write can be misinterpreted. I am not sure, however, that the tone of the present debate is likely to lead to our children being safer. Surely that - not the expression of our revulsion - is the real issue?
Is Megan's Law a vigilantes' charter? - Law - Times Online