Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Prosecutors Want MySpace Sex Offenders Exposed

Article from ABCNews.au
Top prosecutors in eight US states have asked MySpace to expose convicted sex offenders who have posted their profiles on the youth-oriented social networking website. The state attorneys-general have sent the News Corporation-owned website a letter saying: "We are gravely concerned that sexual predators are using MySpace to lure children into face-to-face encounters".

Prosecutors inked the missive after getting word that an investigative company hired by MySpace in December of 2006 has ferreted out thousands of convicted sex offenders with profile web pages. "Perhaps thousands more sexual predators - not registered or using fictitious names - are lurking on your website," stated the letter signed by the attorneys-general. "We remain concerned about the design of your site, the failure to require parental permission, and the lack of safeguards necessary to protect our children."

They gave MySpace until May 29, 2007 to reveal the names and addresses of registered sex offenders found at the website and to explain what its doing to remove their profile pages and help police uncover wrongdoing. MySpace says it is in the initial stage of checking its membership roster with a Sentinel Tech Holding company database of registered sex offenders and removing profile pages of those that match. "We agree with the attorneys-general that keeping bad people out of good places on the Internet is a challenge and a priority," MySpace security chief Hemanshu Nigam said in a statement. "It requires a commitment to develop new technologies and build tight collaborations between companies, law enforcement and policy makers."

MySpace this month launched software that identifies known sex offenders and deletes their accounts. MySpace is lobbying for a US federal law requiring convicted sex offenders to register their email addresses to make it easier to screen them from membership websites used by young people. US law requires people convicted of sex crimes to register their addresses with local police after they are released from custody.