Tuesday, April 18, 2006

MySpace Faces a Perp Problem

Wired News: "According to his MySpace page, the 41-year-old San Bruno, California, resident is single, a Sagittarius, a nonsmoker and nondrinker, and counts an online stripper among his six friends. But California's online database of registered sex offenders offers a different profile of the same man: convictions for forced sodomy, oral sex and 'lewd and lascivious acts' -- all with a person under the age of 14.
A 22-year-old man in San Francisco comes off as a typical college student on MySpace, professing a love for beat poetry, nature and obscure coffee house bands. His profile doesn't mention that he's a convicted child molester.
Wired News ran the names of randomly selected registered sex offenders in San Francisco and neighboring Sonoma County through MySpace's user search engine, and turned up no fewer than five men whose self-reported names, photographs, ages, astrological signs, locations and (in two instances) heights matched those of profiles on the state's online sex offender registry.
In two additional cases, the information posted on MySpace was sufficient to suggest a probable but not certain match. Repeated e-mails to all seven men through MySpace were not answered.
None of the men appeared to have minors listed on their MySpace friends list.
Assuming the profiles are authentic, the easily verified presence of registered sex offenders in the online community highlights the difficulties MySpace faces as it seeks to clean up its content and public image, while maintaining the flexibility and privacy that has drawn more than 70 million users to its website."

No comments: