Connecticut AG Upset That MySpace's Sex Offender Tracking (Which He Asked For) Works
from the logic-not-required dept
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has been at the forefront of the crusade to “protect the children” by blaming social networks for exposing them to sexual predators. This has largely entailed strong-arming the networks into doing all sorts of largely ineffective things that make for good political grandstanding. For some time, MySpace has been making moves to appease politicians, presumably thinking that it’s better for it to take some action to try and keep them off of its back. It’s put in place a system to identify sex offenders that have profiles on the site, using government sex offender databases, to track them down and kick them off. Blumenthal’s latest stunt was to demand MySpace and Facebook hand over info on how many sex offenders they’d discovered on their sites; MySpace has obliged, revealing that it’s identified 90,000 sex offenders on its site. So, you’d think Blumenthal would be thrilled to have some “proof” that the systems he pushed MySpace to put into place are working, that they’d blocked 90,000 would-be predators from contacting kids through the site. You’d be wrong.
Blumenthal instead says the figure “provides compelling proof” that refutes the study that came out a few weeks back — the study commissioned by Blumenthal and 48 other state attorneys general — which downplayed the sexual-predator threat social networks posed to children, like other research before it. So because the system he pushed MySpace to put into place is able to identify registered sex offenders, it supposedly proves that this is a real problem, one that he isn’t blowing out of proportion, and that MySpace has “monstrously inadequate counter-measures.” While we’d argue that most any counter-measure MySpace uses would be inadequate at stopping sexual abuse (because they’re fighting a problem that likely isn’t that big), it makes little sense why Blumenthal sees MySpace’s success at identifying sex offenders in its system, just like he wanted, as a bad thing. It’s really hard for MySpace to fight a problem that isn’t there, but that doesn’t fit Blumenthal’s political version of reality.