Wednesday, July 25, 2007

MySpace catches out sex offenders

MySpace has apparently identified more than 29,000 registered sex offenders on its social network.

Is that all????

This is more than four times the number the News Corp.-owned site claimed to have found in May, according to the attorneys general office in North Carolina, in the US.

In the wake of several sex offenses that are alleged to have been traced to contacts on social-networking sites, MySpace earlier this year began checking its registered-user list against a database of registered sex offenders, according to a report by Ad Age, a trade journal for the advertising industry.

The North Carolina House of Representatives is considering a bill, already passed by the state Senate, that would require parental consent for children to join MySpace.

(First children, next single men over 40)

The AdAge article quoted John Aristotle Phillips, CEO of Aristotle, an age-verification technology firm, as saying, "On the most basic level, this is horrifying".

Well, of course he's going to say this, isn't he? Come on.

I'm in no way making light of this, but I really think we're in danger of opening a Pandora's box the moment we start to even talk about restricting the Internet.

Yes, there are some bad eggs out there--29,000 in Myspace's case--but there are many more decent folk who have no ulterior, perverted motives for using social network sites.

Predators are a fact of life--online or offline--so I can only hope the good citizens sitting in the North Carolina House of Representatives will recognise that and leave their legislation where it belongs---out of MySpace.

Tricia Holly Davis, chief writer, Travolution

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