Jul 27, 2007 (08:07 PM EDT)
MySpace Defends Search Technology For Sexual Predators
Read the Original Article at InformationWeek
MySpace.com is doing all it can to minimize criticism that its popular social network is a haven for sexual predators. Last week, the site reacted to the revelation that it had grossly underreported the number of registered sex offenders signed up for its service by touting its use of a real-time search capability it developed with an online identification provider.
MySpace pointed to its partnership with Sentinel Tech Holdings that allowed it to remove the offenders from its site. "Through this innovative technology, we're pleased that we've successfully identified and deleted these registered sex offenders and hope that other social networking sites follow our lead," Hemanshu Nigam, chief security officer for MySpace, said in a statement.
The politicians weren't mollified. The new figure "screams for action," said Blumenthal.
A Significant Step
Critics wondered about the discrepancy between MySpace's original report of 7,000 sexual predators and the 29,000 it reported only two months later. North Carolina's Cooper pointed out that the 29,000 figure represents only the offenders who used their real names to sign up. MySpace has about 180 million registered profiles on its site. MySpace executives declined to be interviewed.
"These numbers dispel any doubt that age verification and other reforms are overdue and undeniable," said Connecticut's Blumenthal. "Steadfast opposition by MySpace to age verification and parental permission for minors has no shred of credibility."
Cooper is proposing a state law that would require parental approval before kids could sign up on social networking sites. "This proposal requires that these Web sites get a parent's OK before children under 18 join and post personal information, and give parents the chance to see what their children post," he said. A Clayton, N.C., mother was unable to get MySpace to delete profiles of several of her daughter's classmates who are under 14, Cooper said.
For its part, MySpace is backing legislation that would force predators to register their e-mail addresses so Internet companies can more easily identify them.