Here’s the latest release from Attorney General Marc Dann on the growing MySpace Sex Offender issue:
Attorney General Dann announces that MySpace will turn over info on thousands of sex offenders who use site, action follows subpoena, letter demanding data
Columbus In what he called a major victory for Ohio’s families, Attorney General Marc Dann today announced that MySpace will turn over the names and other information about thousands of registered sex offenders who were members of the hugely popular social networking Internet site. The company’s decision to disclose the data comes three days after Mr. Dann filed a subpoena seeking the records.
Company officials had originally refused a request for the information issued on May 14 by Mr. Dann and attorneys generals from around the country after the company confirmed that the user profiles of thousands of MySpace members who were identified as registered sex offenders by Sentinel Tech Holdings had been deleted.
“Our families are safer today as a result of the company’s decision to relinquish these names,” Attorney General Dann said. “I would like to commend my colleagues from around the country for the leadership they demonstrated as we worked to convince MySpace to do the right thing. We now expect the company to continue to work with us to protect young people from the danger that lurks on the Internet.”
Mr. Dann said the information will be immediately forwarded to law enforcement officials who will use it to identify offenders who may be violating conditions of their parole or probation by accessing MySpace or using a computer to contact minors. “While conveying this information to us is a good first step, MySpace needs to do more, including implementing an effective age verification system that will make the site considerably safer.”
The fact that many registered sex offenders have used MySpace underscores how dangerous social networking sites can be for children, Mr. Dann and the other attorneys general said. The states remain concerned about other registered sex offenders who may be on the site using an alias and misrepresenting their age.
MySpace says it will continue to search its site for registered sex offender sand will provide information about all offenders found on the site, including email and IP addresses, to state officials.
Since May of 2006, a group of attorneys general from 52 states and territories, led by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper and Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal have been pushing social networking sites to do a better job protecting children from sexual predators who stalk the Internet and inappropriate content. According the Mr. Dann the effort to make MySpace and other social networking sites safer will continue in earnest in the months ahead.