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7/26/2007
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MySpace Defends Efforts To Vet Sex Predators

The social networking site responds to an attorney general claim that the site contains more than 29,000 sex offender profiles.

MySpace has not commented on the attorneys general's proposals for requiring parental consent and monitoring or on the Clayton case. Representatives declined to provide interviews Wednesday. The company claims the use of Sentinel Tech's database is one in a series of steps to make the site safer. Before working with Sentinel Tech, the company also hired Nigam to address security concerns.

Now it's backing legislation that would force predators to register their e-mail addresses so Internet companies can more easily identify them.

Cooper wants to increase penalties for soliciting children on the Web, ban registered sex offenders from using social networking sites, and prevent them from changing their names to hide their identities. He also proposes increased penalties related to child pornography, expand the definition to specifically prohibit displays of children's genitalia, and make it a felony for people to lie to state investigators.

Republican Congressman Lamar Smith of Texas immediately pounced on the issue and criticized Democrats for failing to focus on it while instead censuring White House aides.

"While Democrats continue to play political games, critical issues facing the American people are being neglected," he said in a prepared statement. "In the past six months, 39 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty, over 7,500 murders were committed, and 5,600 children were sexually solicited online. In a recent report, MySpace estimated there were nearly 30,000 sex offenders on its site. These numbers are troubling and it is our duty to address these problems for the American people."

Smith and a group of Republicans promised a legislative package for fighting violent crime, including terrorism and crimes against children.

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