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MySpace Agrees to Turn Over Sex Offender Data

Posted May 21, 2007

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— MySpace will turn over information the company has about sex offenders to the state Attorney General's Office.

State Attorney General Roy Cooper, along with other state attorneys general, had requested the information to look for potential parole violations by offenders who may be barred from using a computer or contacting minors and in ongoing investigations that may involve these offenders.

“We’re pleased to see MySpace step up to the plate and provide us with this very important information,” Cooper said.

Law enforcement can now use the database to see if sex offenders are violating their parole on the Web site.

Cooper is also calling for new laws that would require age verification and parental consent on social networking Web sites.

MySpace had been hesitant to provide the names of registered sex offenders who use the social-networking Web site. In a statement, MySpace's chief security officer said state and federal laws prohibit the Web site from sharing such information.

"We are doing everything short of breaking the law to ensure that the information about these predators gets to the proper authorities," said Hemanshu Nigam, MySpace security officer.

It is not yet known what led MySpace to change its stance on the issue.

MySpace has confirmed that Sentinel Tech Holdings has already identified thousands of registered sex offenders. MySpace said it has deleted those users from its site but has preserved information about them and will provide it to the attorneys general.

The social networking company said it will continue to search its site for registered sex offenders, and will give the states information about all offenders found on its site including their email and IP addresses. However, the information provided by MySpace does not include sex offenders who have not been convicted, are not registered, or are using aliases on the site.

75 Comments

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  • Tired Of Excuses May 22, 2007

    It all goes back to the age old saying "Don't talk to strangers" on the internet or face to face. At least Cooper is making an effort and is taking this matter seriously. It's just too bad that parent's don't parent their children. You need a license to drive a car but just about anyone can spawn a child then punt the responsibility to others to care, feed and house it.

  • jeebk04 May 22, 2007

    At least Cooper is trying. Is he wasn't, the same folks who are blasting him(IMHO), would be blasting him for not doing it
    And, for those of you who have "all our kids passwords to their accounts". I just wonder and worry how many accounts they have you have absolutely no idea about........

  • Decker May 22, 2007

    Exactly, They are going after Myspace like it's the only networking website. If they would like to go after every website. They can go to FaceBook, HotorNot, yahoo personals and many others. Myspace is just the big name. But if Cooper goes after the rest then he will be alright. But aiming after one website is silly and pointless. Myspace is not the only one.

  • latanya512 May 22, 2007

    You are correct snake lady. When my teenagers opened myspace acct, I got all their passes just to see what they were putting out there and what was coming in. I give them some privacy but hey, I have to keep up with them. The pedophiles can get information from any website about children. Myspace is not the only one.

  • Decker May 22, 2007

    What I am saying is that me or you can search on myspace and find these guys just as easy as myspace can. So why should myspace be the one ripped through the ringer because of this? If you had read an earlier story about this someone said in the matter of 30 minutes they pulled up the registered sex offenders in their area, searched their names on myspace (in their area), and matched the pictures with them. They found 12 or so in 30 minutes. Now why does Myspace have to do that process when the police or even me or you can do it.

    Roy Cooper is going the WRONG ROUTE to fix a growing problem in America. I believe Sex Offenders are bad, and need to be stopped. But I feel getting myspace to do something me or you could do is silly... I mean it does get the job done, but there were other much simplier routes.

  • wralopinion May 22, 2007

    BigDecker... what are you talking about? Taking the job away from the Police? Please. So, I guess if there is a murder and it's videotaped, a business should not release the tape - I mean that tape did the job for the Police.

    Your argument is so out there and baseless. Law enforcement has always used every legal opportunity they have to pursue those breaking the law.

    In all fairness, I never cared for Roy Cooper in the past... but he's got my vote of confidence now.

  • Decker May 22, 2007

    And because of this whole thing with myspace the last few months Roy Cooper is a 0 in my book. Takes the job away from the Police and makes Myspace the cops. Come on now!

  • Decker May 22, 2007

    mom2three, I was that person under a different name. But I still don't see what information they are giving. I think the information they are giving would be public information that ANYONE could get. It's not more so that I don't think Myspace should give it to them as it's the Police Dept.'s job to search for it.

  • saetravina May 22, 2007

    I wish everyone would stop trying to make myspace a bad thing. It's a wonderful tool for communication among those who are unable to call long distance all the time or those of us who work.

    You don't HAVE to use your real name when you sign up. Please tell me why a sex offender would actually put their real name to log on and look for people....seriously.

  • wralopinion May 21, 2007

    MVNULL-

    I think we actually agree, just under different words... perhaps I should have expanded my original point.

    Yes, every website SHOULD clearly have its Privacy policy posted, as MySpace does. While there are in fact limits, it is the organization/site (as a private entity) that determines those limits.

    My original line "...[MySpace] can decide what information it chooses releases...." is in fact true.

    From MySpace: "Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, MySpace will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary: (1) to conform to legal requirements or to respond to a subpoena, search warrant or other legal process received by MySpace.com, whether or not a response is required by applicable law; (2) to enforce the MySpace.com Terms of Use Agreement or to protect our rights; or (3) to protect the safety of members of the public and users of the service. MySpace reserves the right to transfer..."

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