Law enforcement officials are charging that the online social network MySpace has discovered thousands of known sex offenders using its service, but has failed to act on the information. So much for the Sentinel Sentry sex offender database.
Hemanshu Nigam, the chief security officer of MySpace, supports legislation requiring convicted sex offenders to register their e-mail addresses and instant messenger accounts with authorities. Sexual predators are pretty stupid when it comes to online chat, just watch an episode of To Catch a Predator, but does Nigam really think registering email and IM handles is going to curb the flow of the disturbed into Myspace?
Legislators should prepare for a rude awakening when they find out of ineffective email and IM registration and tracking will turn out to be. Just look at how easy it is to change email addresses, member names and credit cards at online dating and social sites.
For every sicko who ends up in a living room facing MSNBC’s Chris Hansen there are 10 others far more advanced in feeding their sexual addictions. Proxy servers in Russian republics, encrypted P2P networks California-based sex slaves and the ability to buy credit card numbers on the net for $6 are the real concerns.
Myspace will never fully eradicate predators from Myspace, everthing they do is a best-effort. While I applaud most social and dating safety initiatives, I certainly hope Myspace’sÂ hunger for revenue does not get in the way of their responsibility to do whatever it takes to keep members as safe as possible.