State News

MySpace: No Sex Offender Data to AGs

Posted May 15, 2007 8:15 p.m. EDT
Updated May 16, 2007 11:56 a.m. EDT

— 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.