MySpace faces fresh controversy over sex offender issue

Conn. AG subpoenas data on deleted user accounts; company defends removal efforts after PI claims he found sex offenders on site

Just two weeks after a task force whose formation was spearheaded by MySpace delivered a report saying that social networking sites were safer from sexual predators than many people had assumed, MySpace finds itself dealing with a new inquiry related to registered sex offenders by Connecticut's attorney general.

In addition, a private investigator doing work for a Hong Kong-based company involved in a legal dispute with MySpace is claiming that potentially thousands of pages on the social networking site were set up by sex offenders, based on a data-matching search he conducted. MySpace, which has yet to be given the purported findings, noted that the claims were made on behalf of a company it has sued, although the Hong Kong firm's lawyer insisted that he isn't trying to use the information as leverage in settlement talks with MySpace.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal served the subpoena on MySpace last Friday, asking the company to turn over all the information it has on individuals whose member pages and friends lists were removed from the social network after they were identified as registered sex offenders, or RSOs. The apparent reason for the request is to evaluate whether such information could point investigators toward contacts that known sex offenders might have had with other MySpace users, especially minors, before their accounts were deleted.

A spokesman for Blumenthal's office confirmed yesterday that the subpoena had been issued but declined to disclose any further details about the inquiry.

It isn't unusual for social networking sites to be asked for information about sex offenders from law enforcement officials looking into online safety issues. For instance, MySpace itself was subpoenaed in May 2007 by Blumenthal and other attorneys general who wanted the company to turn over the names of sex offenders using its site; two months later, the company said it had identified 29,000 Registered Sex Offenders (RSOs) among its users.

Similarly, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo subpoenaed Facebook in September 2007, seeking documents related to complaints that the company had received about the solicitation of underage users and the posting of inappropriate content on its Web site. First MySpace and then Facebook signed deals with a group of state AGs last year promising to improve online safety protections for children on their sites.

Hemanshu Nigam, MySpace's chief security officer, yesterday acknowledged receipt of Blumenthal's subpoena and said the company would comply and provide the Connecticut attorney general with the information he's seeking, as it has done in response to previous requests from state officials.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags sexMySpace

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jaikumar Vijayan

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?