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MySpace vs. Creeps

Frank Ahrens

Today, MySpace announced that it is building a new technology designed to block convicted sex offenders from joining the popular social-network site.

MySpace boasts more than 100 million profiles. Many of those are minors. As such, sites such as MySpace and Facebook have been hunting grounds for sexual predators. This technology, called Sentinel Safe, built by Sentinel Tech Holding Corp., an online I.D. verification business, aims to keep the bad guys off MySpace.

The technology, which MySpace says will be up and running in about a month, searches existing federal and state databases to find registered sex offenders.

There's more to the story, however.

MySpace parent company, Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp Inc., continues to be worried about the Delete Online Predators Act, passed by the House in the summer, that would ban social-network sites such as MySpace from computers at schools and public libraries, retarding access to the site from its key demographic as it attempts to turn MySpace into an advertising behemoth.

Today's announcement is likely a step to thwart such legislation, to show Congress that MySpace can regulate itself, thank you very much.

Today In The Post:

* It's a lot cheaper to start up a technology business today than ever before. Alan Sipress tells why.

Elsewhere:

* AOL keeps making stuff free. Now it's AOL Latino.

* CNet tells you the 10 things you need to consider before buying Microsoft's new Vista operating system software.

* Okay, strictly speaking, this doesn't have a lot to do with technology. But any time you get the chance to type the phrase "zombie chickens," you have to take it.

By Frank Ahrens  |  December 5, 2006; 11:21 AM ET  | Category:  Frank Ahrens
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Comments

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The real problem is with the sex offender registries. Have you ever actually looked at a map of the "offenders?" There are so many that the registries are useless. The reason is that they are not risk-based. As a result everyone who ever got into trouble for any sort of offense is listed whether they are a danger to the community or not, and there is no way to distinguish the serious predators who get lost in the crowd. Until there is a serious effort to make the registries useful the politicians will just keep mandating more sweeping and less useful such 'solutions' to show how tough they are on crime.

Posted by: Creep | December 5, 2006 9:30 PM

Frank - I'm surprised no one reported that this comes 1.5 months after WIRED NEWS reporter Kevin Poulsen who also knows how to write code proved that it could be done: http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,71948-0.html

Posted by: Amy Smith | December 7, 2006 10:31 AM

Is there ever a chance that our society might want to return to some of the narrow
thinking that was used by our forefahers when they initiated our Constitution. We have veered off track a long ways from the
reason the pilgrims left England. High ideals and morals could strengthen our national posture and economy. What kind of
a man could bring this back, it takes so much money to get in the race.

Posted by: Frank Wachholz | December 21, 2006 11:51 AM

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