News
News
12/5/2006
02:36 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

MySpace Ups Effort Against Sex Offenders

The popular social networking site is answering criticisms that it hasn't done enough to protect underage users.

MySpace.com has partnered with an online identity and background verification company to root out sex offenders from the popular social network.

MySpace.com, which is owned by News Corp., said Tuesday it plans to identify and delete the profiles of registered sex offenders based on a database that is to be built by Sentinel Tech Holding Corp. Information in the data store would be compiled and updated frequently from records kept by federal and state law enforcement agencies.

MySpace.com plans to employ a 24-hour dedicated staff to check profiles against convicted sex offenders' names, ages, physical descriptions, and distinguishing features such as scars and tattoos. The Sentinel database is expected to contain information on the 550,000 registered sex offenders in the United States.

MySpace.com has testified before Congress in support of a law that would require convicted sex offenders to register all of their e-mail addresses in a national database, which would make it easier to prevent them from joining sites like MySpace.com, which has a large base of teenage users. Under the proposal, failing to register e-mails would constitute a violation of offenders' parole or probation, which could land them back in jail.

Child advocacy groups have criticized MySpace.com for failing to do enough to protect users younger than 18. In response to the dangers of teenagers becoming victims of sexual predators, the site in June launched security measures to protect 14 and 15 year olds. In addition, MySpace.com hired Hemanshu Nigam as chief security officer. Nigam is a former federal prosecutor against Internet child exploitation for the U.S. Department of Justice.

Nevertheless, child advocacy groups maintain that among the biggest problems of social networks remains their failure to reliably determine the age of people joining the site, in order to separate children and adults. In fact, sex offenders could simply lie when registering at an e-mail carrier, making it possible for them to circumvent new security measures.

In October, MySpace.com had 49.5 million unique visitors, making it one of the largest social networks on the Web, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
IT's Reputation: What the Data Says
IT's Reputation: What the Data Says
InformationWeek's IT Perception Survey seeks to quantify how IT thinks it's doing versus how the business really views IT's performance in delivering services - and, more important, powering innovation. Our results suggest IT leaders should worry less about whether they're getting enough resources and more about the relationships they have with business unit peers.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Government Tech Digest Oct. 27, 2014
To meet obligations -- and avoid accusations of cover-up and incompetence -- federal agencies must get serious about digitizing records.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A roundup of the top stories and community news at InformationWeek.com.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.