MySpace Pays Lip Service To Eliminating Internet Predators

from the incognito dept

Along with MySpace's rise in popularity has come an increase in the furor that it's a haven for miscreants, predators and pedophiles, and that it's a threat to the children. Of course, most of this criticism is misplaced, but the continual bad press could put a dent in the site, so it's now announced a plan to weed out sexual offenders and kick them off the site. MySpace says it will work with a company to build a database of sex offenders from government records, and somehow search through all its members profiles to look for matches. The problem is, this really doesn't sound like much more than lip service -- after all, the mere presence of sex offenders on MySpace isn't the problem, and if they're kicked off, it seems like they could simply build another profile and start over. This isn't to mention that it's also possible (likely, even) that predators using MySpace might be clever enough to use a fake name, or other false information to evade detection -- making it sound like these searches will be about as good at filtering out the bad stuff as MySpace's music-filtering technology, which never seems to work. Another story details MySpace's other great idea for catching predators: forcing sex offenders to register their email addresses with the government, so that social-networking sites could keep them out. Yeah, that sounds like a really effective plan, as long as you ban sex offenders from using free email services, too.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 2:48pm

    Better idea...

    Why not just have a "Convicted Sexual Offender" checkbox when signing up for an account and then a pull-down with common sex crimes and then have that displayed on the member's profile page?

     

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  2.  
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    Stu, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 3:26pm

    Same kind of nonsense that politicians do to make it look like they're "doing something".

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    BigDan, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 4:24pm

    ...

    This is retarded. If you want to protect your children from MySpace...DON"T LET THEM HAVE MYSPACE ACCOUNTS!!! If your kids are anything like mine, (get over artists) Don't let them use the computer when your not there! Jesus, for a little self accountability! Of course, anyone with a lick of sense already knows this. The next time they catch a perv talking to kids on my space they should arrest the kids parents too!

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Az, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 4:24pm

    Yes, because all sex offenders have been caught and recorded by the government *rolls eyes*

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 4:34pm

    Quite possibly, a headline that uses both "lip service" and "internet predator" at once is poorly conceived.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Nekenieh, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 4:36pm

    lame

    Nothing to see here folks, move along...

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Bob King Neverland III, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 4:38pm

    Dateline NBC

    Sounds like Myspace execs need to hire Dateline's Chris Hansen.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Murdock, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 4:43pm

    Its not that hard...

    Wired News tracks down creeps on Myspace Hmm, a guy who writes for wired figured out a way to do just that... and the caught someone.

     

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  9.  
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    uway, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 5:07pm

    easy fix

    since everything in myspace is free..there should be a monitoring system that prohibits sexually explicit content on messages and flag the ones with a certain amount of red flags and then send a letter letting them know if his or her account has too many flags to send or post messages till his account clears threw a email lock that is sent to your email within a week.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 5:12pm

    Pathetic

    Parents need to stop being idiots and let their kids know this:

    IF A PERSON YOU MEET ONLINE ASKS TO MEET YOU, DON'T SPEAK TO THEM EVER AGAIN.

    Of course, this can have some exclusions, such as a friend you do know in real life does in fact know them, and can vouch for them. Meaning, they are who they say they are.

    What young kids need to know is that they shouldn't be speaking to people they just meet in a chat room. Online profiles are rediculous. You can easily fake ANY information for anything. The only way to stop the problem would be to ban people from the internet or make kids stop doing stupid things.

    I myself have met people online, and I know I can trust them due to time. I have known one person for years, and I met her online and I can trust her. She has trusted me with her money before (online money transfer services), so quite clearly, I can trust her.

    If you want your kid safe, ban them from creating online-bitching-journals. Alot of kids that make them just crave attention, and act like whores. I've seen a 12 year old's MySpace where she says she is 18, and she has a poll on it, asking: "What do you think of me?", and one of the choices is "Fuckable". What kind of parent lets their kid do that?

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Really Really bad guy, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 5:43pm

    Re: Pathetic

    If you want your kid safe, ban them from creating online-bitching-journals. Alot of kids that make them just crave attention, and act like whores. I've seen a 12 year old's MySpace where she says she is 18, and she has a poll on it, asking: "What do you think of me?", and one of the choices is "Fuckable". What kind of parent lets their kid do that?

    You uh... forgot to post a link.. please?

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 6:36pm

    THe Adelaide Advertiser (One of Murdoch's papers, and one of the worst) has been running a anti-web scare campaign, publishing quotes from comments on kids sites which read like flames of the site and suggesting that they are part of new, evil, cyber bullying. People should learn to tell teh difference between harrasment, a flame, a ttroll, and a genuine user with a complaint. (and so should teachers who wrtie about it). I agree with #11 (assuming that you would have voted for the said option ;-) )

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 6:53pm

    Hold the phone, isn't it illegal to use sex offender information to discriminate against sex offenders?

     

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  14.  
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    PhysicsGuy, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 9:53pm

    The only way to stop the problem would be to ban people from the internet or make kids stop doing stupid things.

    that's the whole thing in a nutshell... if the the kids are stupid enough to strip half naked on their webcam and give out their personal info and agree to meet complete strangers from the internet... well they get what's coming to them. i did all kinds of stupid shit when i was younger online, granted most of it consisted of various forms of "identity theft" as they call it now-a-days... but i survived my online experience as a youth. i was smart enough to know that i should remain anonymous to the other users online... frankly, i think they should continue to let the pervs on myspace to teach these dumb ass kids a lesson: life's harsh and there are fucked up people out there so you can be doing stupid shit that's going to get you into trouble...

     

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  15.  
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    ZMan, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 10:17pm

    MySpace

    IMO, sex offenders are stupid for getting a MySpace page in the 1st place, but, eventually this will be a communist country, because the public cannot run their own lives, they need the government to tell them when the eat, sleep, etc. Pretty soon, the entire Internet will be monitored, cameras will be on all street corners, and we'll loose all freedom. Is this what you people want? It's coming, if we keep letting it these stupid ideas get passed..... This is violating their free speech rights. Cyber Police are coming..

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    The infamous Joe, Dec 6th, 2006 @ 4:19am

    If you build a better mousetrap...

    I don't have kids, so maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to me, from my own childhood, that the more rules my clueless partents put into place, the more creative I had to get into breaking said rules. The internet is everwhere, so hovering over your 15 yr old's shoulder while she checks her email is just going to make her head to school a library, a coffe shop or a friend's house. I suppose you could always just cage your children up, set to open on their 18th birthday....

    I say, this time, I have to agree with Mr. Physicsguy: If some kids strips half naked, takes pictures, lies about her age, and then plays the attention-whore card, well, you can hardly blame anyone for not knowing she's really 15 or what-not. Not to mention, I'm pretty sure that myspace won't let you make an account if you're less than 16 (my girlfriend tried to make a myspace page for her dog) so any kid under 16 with a myspace has already shown no qualms about lying.

    ..and #10, we're still waiting for that link. :-D (and I want to know what you voted, and how you knew she was 12-- and if that had any bearing on your vote) Do tell.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    rich, Dec 6th, 2006 @ 3:58pm

    Internet safety

    Not good enough! All this does is allow kids to tell their parents that Myspace is getting rid of the bad guys. Many parents will let their guard down, hopefully most will not. You want to protect your kids only, then parents need to get involved with their kids online, setup monitoring and review their logs frequently. -Rich www.TheParentsEdge.com

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Suzanne Stanford, Dec 12th, 2006 @ 10:46am

    Need For Federal Law To Mandate Protection of Mino

    I applaud MySpace in their plans to be socially responsible in trying to prevent convicted sexual felons from communicating with minors. It makes sense. Convicted sexual felons who have served time for crimes against childdren are not allowed to be in areas where children congregate. That said, why then should they be able to troll the net as their sexual playground.

    There should be a federal law mandating that all social networking sites cross reference with the National Sex Offender Registry before allowing users to subscribe to sites where minors socialize. Additionally, these sex offenders should have a flag by their name to indicate who they are. This is not in violation of any rights because a convicted felon has limited rights and is not supposed to be in areas where children congregate. Of course, they can use fake identities however, if caught, it will impact their sentancing. While this may not keep all sex offenders out, this certainly would be a deterrant and would send a clear message that the cyber playground is closed to them... and if they choose to climb over the fence... Well, that may be the last fence they ever climb over again once they're caught.

     

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  19.  
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    lil'bit, Dec 13th, 2006 @ 2:16pm

    Ohgawdnotanotherlaw!

    Oh heck yes, let's just pass another law that makes it look like something is being done.

    I would like to see some statistics on actual sex offenders at sites like MySpace vs stats on how many offenders and "children" are actually police posing in order to "catch" the offender. It's gotten to the point where anyone stupid enough to believe that really is a child with whom they are chatting, is stupid enough to deserve to get busted.

    Before we start passing more laws, we should also decide whether or not the children bear some responsbility, as noted in a prior posting. No, a well-developed 12 year old walking around braless is not asking to be seduced and/or raped. But a 12 year old that is posing as an 18 year old or older on-line, engaging in adult chat language and behaviour should not be surprised when treated as an adult and must bear some of the responsibility

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Raffi Gabriel, Dec 21st, 2006 @ 3:16pm

    I can arm you and your kids against Internet crime

    The bottom line is that kids and adults need to be in appropriate environments at appropriate times. Web companies such as Myspace can only do so much no matter how hard they try because there is no way to verify who's online. Until now that is. Keep your eyes on us, Checkmyage.com. It's our mission to solve this one problem. If you're interested in learning more please contact us. Sincerely, Raffi Gabriel Founder Checkmyage.com

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    britney, Jan 10th, 2007 @ 9:22am

    gayyy

    myspace is gay.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    John, Jan 16th, 2007 @ 10:50am

    Re: ...Not Letting You Kids Have MySpace Accts.

    Sorry to tell you that unless your kids don't go to the library, othr kids house that have computers or public computer kiosks amoung other things, you don't really know if your kids have a my space account or not. Therein lies the problem. My Space should at the very least use credit cards for age verification. At least a parent could see if the charge is on their card even if the little nipper steals the number. The really wouldn't even have to charge. A $1 refundable amount would be sufficent. That seems like an answer to me.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Mary, Mar 27th, 2007 @ 9:15am

    intrenet

    I think the hole thing is stupid what do you think.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Sandy, Mar 27th, 2007 @ 9:20am

    MySpace

    I think My Spaces are alsome Imean you have a pssword so and you agree with the praivatc So why is so bad

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    JJ, Mar 27th, 2007 @ 9:21am

    ckls;nkcsmckmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    dmkfASMckamdksdcn;ncknkclskccnkncsnjjjjjjncjsncjsnjsnn'nKmxkmkmkxmksm x, z kakamka

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2007 @ 8:37pm

    i thought that sex offenders were not even allowed to have any type of internet access as a condition of their probation, how did they get online and onto myspace anyway? i don't think there is any way of thwarting sex offenders from accessing free sites. i believe it is up to the parent to monitor their child, and it is up to the child to use their common sense and not allow these pedophiles into their homes and lives. ignore button? block? maybe? possibly?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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