Local News

MySpace Agrees to Turn Over Sex Offender Data

Posted May 21, 2007 12:39 p.m. EDT
Updated May 21, 2007 7:32 p.m. EDT

— 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.