State Politicians Continue Meaningless Grandstanding Against MySpace

from the nice-try dept

For quite some time now, the press has had fun hyping up the supposed "threat" of MySpace, when the reality is that most kids recognize the risks involved in talking to strangers online and can handle themselves on a site like MySpace. Of course, that doesn't stop politicians from grandstanding over the issue -- even to the point of Connecticut's Attorney General claiming that he has jurisdiction over the entire site because it can be viewed in the state. Well, that same Attorney General, along with the AGs of six other states are now demanding that MySpace hand over the names of sexual predators who are registered users of the site. This seems to assume that MySpace actually knows what convicted sex offenders are members of the site, which seems highly unlikely. It's also not clear what the AGs would do with this data once they had it, but that probably doesn't matter as much as making a big stand so they can make sure their re-election campaigns show they were standing up against online predators. That must be good for a few votes here or there -- even if it has nothing to do with actually protecting children online.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    OKVol, May 15th, 2007 @ 8:54am

    As an old fart on the Internet

    One bit looks exactly like another on the Internet. Identity is extremely difficult.

    A real and slightly intelligent predator will steal someone else's identity, like the child porn ring bust that proved to be mostly stolen identities.

    I heard on Indie1031.com radio stream that the states expect exact addresses of the predators. Try getting that from your web log...

     

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  2.  
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    Hyrulio, May 15th, 2007 @ 9:02am

    Good to see politions have their priorities right.

    Seriously.. paedophiles in the area, kids taking guns to school, general drug problems, and they decide to crack down on MYSPACE?! Please.

    Surely all they need is a low cost campaign to say to kids "Hey, don't give out details online, it's stupid, you will get raped!" and the problem will be mostly solved.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, May 15th, 2007 @ 9:04am

    And MySpace know they are sex offenders how?

    maybe they should send a strongly worded letter to the AGs and point out thier stupidity, since virtually no-one uses their real name for creating accounts online, event the typical idiots on MySpace. How can one be sure of wether a person is he same person as the registered sex offender, and how do MySpace check every account against the list?

    Maybe they should just put a radio button on teh sign-up page reading "Are you a registered sex offender? Yes/No", and point out that that is the best they can do.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    jLl, May 15th, 2007 @ 9:04am

    IP Addresses are all they can really hope for.

    And, we'll probably end up getting another "Shaq Raid":
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20061023/123049.shtml

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Ryan, May 15th, 2007 @ 9:04am

    umm

    How does this help?

    If a sex offender is using his real name (the only way MySpace could actually find him), how is that dangerous?

    Wouldn't itbe more useful to just look for older people with young kids as their friends?

    Not all sex offenders are going to repeat.

    If they've been released from prison, why can't they have a myspace account? We don't ban them from going to the mall, or the movies.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Tom, May 15th, 2007 @ 9:12am

    Re: As an old fart on the Internet

    It is not that hard to get an address form an internet user. Youe ISP has the mac of your modem and also has your billing address. Myspace can tell what IP and MAC are conectin to there site.

     

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  7.  
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    DUUUHHHHHHHHH, May 15th, 2007 @ 9:17am

    next they should demand that Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and others, hand over the names of all terrorists, because their countries can be viewed on TV from Conneticut. I really think they are on to something. It sure is great when simple solutions can be found to serious problems with nothing more than wishful thinking. Or maybe we could all learn how to wiggle our noses like Samantha from BEWITCHED, we could all use magic to get everyone to agree.That would be swell!

     

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  8.  
    icon
    Ron (profile), May 15th, 2007 @ 9:27am

    What're ya gonna do

    Well, the article states that once the AG's get the names of the predators then they will contact the people who contacted the predators to see if anything bad was going on. So far, I guess that sounds OK. I mean, if you know people who do bad things and who are likely to continue doing bad things and you keep track of what they are doing then when they do more bad things you can maybe stop it before it gets too bad. Now then, I don't know if there's any illegal activity involved in that snooping, I can't figure out how they will be sure they are looking at a predator, how they will be sure they are looking at the right person at that IP address (after all, the RIAA can't get it right and they have a lot of money to throw around), etc. I'm gonna go with the best preventative I can think of: responsible parenting.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    OKVol, May 15th, 2007 @ 9:29am

    Re: Re: As an old fart on the Internet

    And the predator is sitting outside your house with a laptop, just after he cracked your WEP password on your wireless router that your ISP convinced you that you needed, posting on MySpace.

    Or, the predator is proxying through your hacked system.

    Or, the predator is using a onion proxy system.

    Or, there are many other ways to hide your address.

     

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  10.  
    icon
    chris (profile), May 15th, 2007 @ 9:35am

    Re: What're ya gonna do

    I'm gonna go with the best preventative I can think of: responsible parenting.

    responsible parenting? this is america, we don't do that sort of thing here.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    T.J., May 15th, 2007 @ 9:37am

    It's not all bad

    Asking a site like MySpace to help federal and local authorities track down sex offenders wouldn't hurt anybody, in fact it'd be excellent for both law officials and MySpace. It would help parents gain trust in MySpace for being tough on sex offenders, and allow them to feel safer letting their kids use it. However state officials DEMANDING it is ludicrous. People need to understand the internet is a free environment, and attempts to control it are impossible. If MySpace turns over the list (which it had an independent investigation firm already research), it'll turn into a big political brownie points session, instead of what it should be; a chance to get sex offenders who are ACTIVELY trying to meet underage people online off the internet.

     

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  12.  
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    T.J., May 15th, 2007 @ 9:39am

    Re: It's not all bad

    Also its important to take into notion the fact that everyone from the age of 8 and up knows you shouldn't meet people off MySpace, much how I learned never to get in a car with a stranger. As a parent you should be responsible for what your child does, where they go, and who they meet. What ever happened to being active in your childs life, instead of wasting your time blaming the world for their faults. Your the one to blame. The best example of this (sadly) is in the South Park movie, where the parents start a war against Canada for putting foul language in movies.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    PhysicsGuy, May 15th, 2007 @ 9:40am

    Re: Re: As an old fart on the Internet

    yea, MAC addresses and IP logs are one thing (neglecting the fact that 90% of public libraries have internet access and there's open wifi spots all over the place, a MAC address isn't gonna do shit when you're using someone else's connection). have you have considered the amount of traffic and unique IPs that myspace gets? why should they track down and identify millions of users? what other web sites have to do this? it's absolutely absurd. let's use some common sense there tom.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anon, May 15th, 2007 @ 9:46am

    They think they know because...

    News Corp. hired Sentinel Tech Holding Corp. to look into it. And with a leak coming out of that company saying that thousands were found...

    I'm not saying they have the authority to do anything about it, but if the con's terms of release state that they are not allowed contact with children and they are actively trolling for such. I say bust the punk and put him/her back where he/she belongs.

    http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2007/05/attorneys_gener.html

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Jack Sombra, May 15th, 2007 @ 9:52am

    Re: umm

    "Wouldn't itbe more useful to just look for older people with young kids as their friends?"
    Not really, my ex has about 24 people on her friends list, 20 of them kids under 16. aka her kids,her step kids, her neices/nephews and so on

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Rod, May 15th, 2007 @ 9:56am

    grandstanding

    Since the MSM is the medium in which the political process takes place -- grandstanding is about all the politicians do. The truth is the child molesters should've been much more severely punished by the AGs who are now self-righteously demanding names. Blather. In Washington more grandstanders are trying to proclaim DHEA a dangerous steroid "drug" that needs to be banned . Why don't we just do this -- try freedom. Mr. Kennedy, you bloated picture of ill health, we don't need your advice, and certainly not your chains of legal constraint placed on us regarding life choices. Second - when we encounter criminals who are violent or who prey on children -- punish them severely. Now I'm not talking about presumed criminals convicted by pschologists who testify at divorce hearings - I mean real molesters. Severe punishment. Death penalty not a rarity. This would include the criminals who prey violently on any person, young, old, male, female. Then these bloated, phoney, self important demagogues won't need to make grandiose statements regarding MYSPace. Let's see if they'd step up to their real responsibilities and deal harshly with perpetrators of perverse vilolence. The reason they won't is often that they're protecting special interests.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Jack Sombra, May 15th, 2007 @ 10:03am

    "It would help parents gain trust in MySpace for being tough on sex offenders, "

    And for this reason alone this should NOT be done, there is absolutely no way to effectively police things like MySpace to catch all pedo's and anyone with a drop of IT know how and two brain cells know this.

    Anything MySpace or the authorities could do would just be wall papering in an attempt to generate a feeling of security, a false sense of security that the dangerous pedos could then take advantage of while only “catching” innocent people and harmless “registered sex offenders” (like the 17 year olds who had sex with a 16 year old once...years ago)

    False security is 10000 times worse than no security

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    T.J., May 15th, 2007 @ 10:06am

    Re: grandstanding

    Very pessimistic approach, but very accurate view on the political makeup of this country.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    TheDock22, May 15th, 2007 @ 10:21am

    Give it Up

    The only thing we can do to protect children online is to educate them. What do you think schools are for? It would not even have to be expensive, maybe a couple hours a year from 5th grade to 10th grade. It would get ingrained and the kids would be okay. We have drug, sex, and safety education in the schools right now anyway. Why not add Internet Safety Education?

    Home schooled kids, ah well they are on their own. I have no sympathy for home schooled kids.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    rEdEyEz, May 15th, 2007 @ 10:27am

    the next logical step?

    gee....maybe...

    politicians will create a new domain for them, like,

    .xxx for porn content,
    .kid for secure "children-safe" content,

    ...what shall it be? hmmm.

    how about .ped?

    "These social networking sites are a treasure trove for these sexual predators," Roy Cooper, attorney general for North Carolina, said Monday. "Sexual predators can groom dozens of children at once in order to find the one to lure for their sexual interests."

    "grooming" - poor choice of words, Mr. AG. Sickening.

    For some reason, the name "Foley" keeps coming to mind...

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    UniBoy, May 15th, 2007 @ 10:51am

    Witch Hunts

    A pretty good way to distract people away from the real problems and give them someone else to blame for their lot in life. All the politicians really care about is that THEY are not the ones being blamed...

    I wonder how much MySpace will have to pay for the lawsuit for the first innocent person that they label as a "predator?" I wonder what the ratio is of predators named "John Smith" to other people named "John Smith"? And how many "John Smiths" might be registered on MySpace by now?

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Avoid the Noid, May 15th, 2007 @ 11:05am

    sexual predators?

    The databases that contain addresses for these types of predators are very out of date... and often times, the addresses are last known whereabouts. MySpace does a good job of disabling/deleting questionable accounts. We've all seen them. There's a scantily clad girl in the picture and a quote that says "Girls Only"... when more often than not, these profiles are set up by horny dudes that add underage girls that think it's fun to take sexually explicit pictures.

    The easiest way to deal with this is to get your kids off the F'ing computer all day. And if you do allow your kid full access to the web, enjoy all the nasty and dirty things they can get into.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Sanguine Dream, May 15th, 2007 @ 12:33pm

    Re: the next logical step?


    "These social networking sites are a treasure trove for these sexual predators," Roy Cooper, attorney general for North Carolina, said Monday. "Sexual predators can groom dozens of children at once in order to find the one to lure for their sexual interests."


    What scares me about that statement is that he says it as if bars, parks, schools, clubs, and real phyical gatherings of people are now sex offender proof.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Chris Jones, May 15th, 2007 @ 12:57pm

    How does this really hurt?

    I have techdirt and wired top stories next to each other on my Google homepage, and both posted the same story with opposite opinions at pretty much the same time. I have to agree with Wired though. They point out that with little effort they manged to find hundreds of registered sex offenders, one of which was actively trolling for children.

    Is it really that terrible to try and patch up all of the loopholes that allow people to destroy other people's lives?

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Ahole, May 15th, 2007 @ 2:06pm

    Government

    the people that vote for these idiots are the ones that need slapped...there wouldn't be idiots in office if there weren't idiots putting them there...

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    TheDock22, May 15th, 2007 @ 3:00pm

    Re: How does this really hurt?


    Is it really that terrible to try and patch up all of the loopholes that allow people to destroy other people's lives?


    Yes. It's called Darwin Theory. If there is parent out there dumb enough to let their kid use the internet unsupervised and they are lured out of the house by a predator...that is simply weeding out the gene pool of those people smart enough NOT to do those things.

    A properly educated child would never dream of meeting anybody they met online without their parents or an entire group of friends around.

    What you are talking about is denying those sexual offenders who have changed, or were indicted for different reasons other than child misconduct a chance to use MySpace to keep in contact with friends and family. Since when did the USA decided to crack down on an entire group of people to actually catch 1 guilty person (just pretend with me here ;) )

    Next, all computer geeks will come under scrutiny to catch the hackers among us.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Scott, May 15th, 2007 @ 4:18pm

    What?

    Why is the AG introducing *legislation*?

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2007 @ 5:36pm

    Re: Re: the next logical step?

    I don't think that a predator would pick up too many children at a bar.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    HotGarbage, May 15th, 2007 @ 6:00pm

    Re: Give it Up

    It is not the responsibility of the schools to teach this exclusively. Ok, maybe a class or two on this topic with a practical application letting the kids search MySpace and see what kinds of information they can get off of each others pages. Fine. But the real responsibility is on the parents. That is where the blame is to be placed and where the education starts and finishes. If the parents are using the computers as babysitters (to keep their kids quiet and out of there hair) the way some use the television then it is the parents fault for not being interested in their kids lives,. Not interested in your kids life? Then you will be responsible for their death...or worse.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    The infamous Joe, May 16th, 2007 @ 4:24am

    Re: Re: Re: the next logical step?

    No, but you can pick a girl up at a bar and find yourself now a 'sexual predator' I bet.

    Fake ID's ftw. :P

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    jimy wimy, May 17th, 2007 @ 2:46am

    my space

    ye i use fake id's but i aint a sexual predator and shools cant teach any thing bout this

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Keith Richard Radford Jr., May 21st, 2007 @ 3:55pm

    Looking for TRUTH?

    Why would anyone who wants to bring peace and happiness to earth, wish their personal pain on the rest of the world forever? For the money!
    Politicians and Law Enforcement with the help of victims advocate groups has lied to the public.
    The reason victim’s advocates continue their style of activity is they are cashing in.
    Encouraging the infliction of pain and suffering rather than peace is a destructive activity use by theses activist.
    Requiring the breakup of families is extending entitlements which can only fail everyone.
    Our nations entitled have no room left for those that can not afford to buy justice.
    See how children as young as 3 year old children have been placed on the registry.
    How citizens are held indefinitely after their sentence has been served.
    See it now on You Tube at
    http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=evil9999999999999999
    Webmaster@theevilnextdoor.com
    Fax:818.237.5599

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Michelle, May 29th, 2007 @ 12:34pm

    Threats

    I have this 13 year old threaten to BLOW UP MY m****r f*****g house, and slap this bitch ass w***e, if I said anything about his back ground of nothing but POT and POT plant, blunts, etc.. The police said that they cannot do a thing about that because it was an internet case. This is all in writing to me, because I found out what DISFUNCTIONAL type of kids my daughter went to school with. This same boy has been to jail or juvenile on three occassions for fighting. Yeah, my space needs to be shut down! Let the kids and people get off their butts and socialize like normal people do!

    Michelle B.

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    jpimp, Jun 10th, 2007 @ 8:57am

    politicians always politicking

    you know we should just get rid of all the politicians and put all the master pimps in power with there hoes at the senate.

    www.myspace.com/78094881

    holler at your boi

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    jpimp, Jun 10th, 2007 @ 8:58am

    Re: Threats

    i have a kid to mami and i'd slap her if she ever knew those kids, just to show her that tough love.

    www.myspace.com/78094881

    add me and we can chat later

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    jpimp, Jun 10th, 2007 @ 8:58am

    Re: Threats

    i have a kid to mami and i'd slap her if she ever knew those kids, just to show her that tough love.

    www.myspace.com/78094881

    add me and we can chat later

     

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

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2007 @ 12:13pm

    who is kidding who?

    Discrimination allows superiority where truth is hidden and corruption tends to creep in.

    This is the human equation.

    People change day to day. Things change, steal rusts while conceited blows away, but the energy that makes us who we are moves through us as we experience our lives.

    Governments, Advocates, Churches, and Media put pressure on sex offenders who are struggling daily to make a way for their families.

    These groups are one in the same who have created the realm of secrecy and oppress for gain.

    To be ashamed of being a flawed human who makes mistakes, is the responsibility of the person/group/s allowing laws of decimation which is abuse.

    Inflicting pain on any person who has been betrayed by that societies recklessness to hide the truth because of its own shame is the ultimate in irresponsibility.

    By continuing to advocate lifetime sentences, separation, eradication, concerning sexual offenses is recognition of the breakdown of group/s and any system/s which supports this human rights abuse .

    There can be no justice where the responsible party is the society which refuses acceptance of its error.

    Thinking that labeling anyone concerning life and death decisions with regard to sexual offenses has no validity.

    The stigma/demonization/and continuance of the myth is perpetrated by the group/s and any system/s that makes people suffer for a belief that has only for centuries hidden its own truth.

    Please take time to write those who can change our laws.

    What ever we do we do to ourselves as money and power leads us by the ring in our nose rendering us unable to hear or see beyond the sound of our own greed.

    Mr. & Mrs. Keith Richard Radford Jr.
    http://www.SOSunite.com
    http://www.youtube.com/sosunite

     

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


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