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MySpace to Begin Sharing Information on Sex Offenders

I think this is a decent idea, in general terms, though I doubt that it will do much to actually prevent predatory practices. 

Realistically, if a sexual predator is being "smart" they will have no real identifying information on their MySpace profile.  Given the absolute ease of setting up free and virtually untraceable email accounts, I don't see any way for MySpace and the Attorney General's office to "trace" predators to MySpace.  About the only thing that i can think of would be to require sexual predators to register their ISP Providers and addresses, and trace the original source of the profile that way.

I'll be interested to see if this actually "eliminates" any predators.  It is one thing to prevent predators from coming near schools and libraries.  The Internet is just so unregulatable, and is essentially one "big" play gorund for kids, and those who seek them.

MySpace to share sex offender data with states

RALEIGH, N.C. - Faced with legal demands from several state attorneys general, said Monday it will immediately begin sharing data on the registered sex offenders it has identified and removed from the popular social networking Web site.

MySpace balked last week when attorneys general from eight states, including Ohio, demanded it provide data on how many registered sex offenders are using the site and where they live.

The company said federal privacy laws required the states to file subpoenas or other legal requests before it could release the information. MySpace general counsel Mike Angus said company officials met with North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper and Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal last week to sort out the details of those requests.

"We hope to get requests from every state," Angus said. "From day one, we have preserved all the information in the hopes of getting these requests."

MySpace, owned by media conglomerate News Corp., obtained the data from Sentinel Tech Holding Corp. The companies partnered in December to build a database with information on sex offenders in the United States, and Angus said MySpace has already used the database to remove about 7,000 profiles out of a total of about 180 million.

The companies "developed 'Sentinel Safe' from scratch because there was no means to weed (sexual predators) out and get them off of our site," Angus said.

Last week, attorneys general in North Carolina, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania asked for the Sentinel data. The company initially refused, saying the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act required the states to file a subpoena or similar legal request before it could release the data.

North Carolina filed a civil investigative demand Monday, and states including Ohio, New York and Connecticut also pursued subpoenas. Blumenthal said his subpoena "compels this information right away - within hours, not weeks, without delay - because it is vital to protecting children."

Cooper said the information from the Sentinel system could potentially be used to look for parole violations or help in investigations. He said lawmakers in North Carolina are considering legislation that would further restrict access to social networking Web sites, including one that would require parents' permission for minors to set up a profile.


Chris Nichols 1.800.906.5984


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