Eight state attorneys general Monday sent a letter to MySpace requesting that, by the end of the month, the social-networking site turn over data on registered sex offenders who use the site,” CNET reports. MySpace responded Tuesday that it was prepared to work with the attorneys general, but “its cooperation hinges on whether the state officials follow the law and subpoena the names, a step that a leader of the state attorneys general said was not necessary,” the New York Times reports (MySpace was referring to a federal law basically barring disclosure of criminal records without a subpoena). The social-networking site also said it had “already taken down the profiles of thousands of sex offenders since the beginning of May when it began running its own database check.” In an earlier statement, Nigam said MySpace “had launched software in early May to proactively identify and remove any known sex offenders from the site.” The company’s doing so using a national database of sex-offender data that it created with the help of ID-verification company Sentinel Tech. But even with that national list, finding all registered sex offenders is difficult without a law requiring them to register their email addresses and other online contact info. MySpace lobbied for such a law last year, and Sens. McCain and Schumer introduced legislation to this effect early this year (see my 12/8/06 item). The legislation’s still pending. Although eliminating all sex offenders on any social site would certainly help, not all pedophiles have been arrested and convicted. Too, MySpace is not the only social site where they could be active, and I wonder if the attorneys general plan to send similar letters to the many other social-networking sites that have teenage members.
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