State News

MySpace: No Sex Offender Data to AGs

Posted May 15, 2007
Updated May 16, 2007

— MySpace.com said Tuesday it wouldn't comply with a request by attorneys general from North Carolina and seven other states to hand over 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," the security officer, Hemanshu Nigam, said in the news release.

The statement did not specify which laws MySpace would break by handing authorities the information, and a call to the company was not immediately returned.

In December, MySpace announced it was partnering with Sentinel Tech Holding Corp. to build a database with information on sex offenders in the United States.

Software to identify and remove sex offenders from the site has been used for 12 days, and MySpace has "removed every registered sex offender that we identified," Nigam said.

In a letter Monday, attorneys general from North Carolina, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania asked MySpace to provide the number of registered sex offenders using the site and where they live.

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said Wednesday that he was angered by the Web site's refusal to hand over the information.

"It's outrageous that MySpace chooses to protect the privacy of predators over the safety of children," Cooper said in a statement. "We will take action to require MySpace to give law enforcement and parents the information we need to protect our kids."

MySpace, which is owned by News Corp., and other social networking sites allow users to create online profiles with photos, music and personal information, including hometowns and education. Users can send messages to one another and, in many cases, browse other profiles.

MySpace's policy prevents children under 14 from setting up profiles, but it relies on users to specify their ages.

90 Comments

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  • whats it to ya May 17, 2007

    NCTeacher

    I see your view..and it is my view to the Tee..all this starts at home..Parents should be more aware of what thier kids view on the web..Parents should have Parental log on to thier childrens computers untill they are educated about the web and understand its dangers..untill then..its up to the parents to grant them more free travel time on the web..(but still in thier control untill they hit 18)...just my imput.Its happening here at home.Its working..granted they get upset..but your the boss..and protector..show some authority.

  • NCTeacher May 16, 2007

    It shouldn't be the governments issue to even take on. Parents should monitor what their children are doing online and they won't have to worry about predators at any website.

  • lady-in-raleigh May 16, 2007

    I am all for the AG going after these sex offenders, but basically the company (sentinel) that myspace teamed up with is a leading online identity and background verification company, so yes they would have info as to who is a sex offender. They basically teamed together to get rid of sex offenders, my thing is if they teamed together to get sex offenders then why not team with the AGs and together they all can get sex offenders and keep them away from your kids and mine.

  • BITEME2 May 16, 2007

    ahhh ha ha ha, nice try AG.

  • Dude May 16, 2007

    Yay for myspace. If your kid is on myspace talking to one of these offenders, then that shows a lack of judgement on their part. It doesn't take a genious to figure out who is a shady person on myspace! Come on people!

  • NCSU May 16, 2007

    aren't there so many better things to be concentrating on? this just seems to be a grab for attention, i'm sure the sex offenders don't use their real names anyway

  • special k May 16, 2007

    all the public libraries in my area have blocked myspace

  • colliefan May 16, 2007

    Cooper seems to be grandstanding for a run at governor. Also, do our public libraries and WCPSS libraries block My Space?

    A few years ago, a young teen contacted me on a message board for Neurofibromatosis and told me she wanted to set me as one of her friends. I told her my age and told her if she wanted to still contact me, I would need her mother's permission. She tried w/o her mother's permission and I told her firmly that I needed her mother's permission. She never tried to contact me again.

  • special k May 16, 2007

    there are laws in place though to prevent this so maybe the people making the laws should think about it and write them different - can't break the law or they'll be slammed for that and truly what sex offender would use their correct name and city when filling this stuff out - if i didn't and i'm a law abiding citizen why would they - maybe myspace should say okay and when they get the lists and there are no returns what then?

  • jeebk04 May 16, 2007

    My understanding is they are being asked to "hand over the names of registered sex offenders who are using the site". I assume that AG's office is going to give them an updated list of all registered sex offenders and they can simply look for these names to see if they are registered. Not a big task when you break down what they are being asked to do. This requires no monitoring. Simply comparing one list with another. And, as I said earlier post, if this will keep these sickos hands off one child, IMHO, it is worth it.

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