Web Site to Give Data on Sex Offenders
The social networking Web site MySpace has agreed to submit information to eight state attorneys general regarding registered sex offenders who made online pages prior to being discovered and removed from the site.
Authorities hope to obtain such data as offenders’ names and any e-mail messages sent by them to aid in searching for potential lawbreakers.
Similar information is being requested from Facebook.com, another social networking site, said Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood.
MySpace deleted approximately 7,000 online profile pages created by registered sex offenders after the company implemented a system from Sentinel Technologies that lets firms compare user information with offender lists.
MySpace initially declined to provide the requested data due to legal restrictions, according to MySpace legal counsel Mike Angus. In some states, privacy laws allow firms to hand over information only after the issuance of a legal subpoena.
The attorney generals have also requested that MySpace establish methods of verifying age or parents’ consent, but this can be difficult due to the lack of records–such as a driver’s license–that can verify children’s age.
Meanwhile, MySpace is developing a technology called Zephyr, which is intended to let parents see if their child has set up an online profile, according to the firm’s chief security officer Hemanshu Nigam.
The technology may be soon be shared with other social networking sites.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from the Los Angeles Times (05/22/07); P. C2.