back to article MySpace stands firm on paedophile data pressure

MySpace has refused to act on demands from eight US states that it hand over user data which they say will help catch predatory paedophiles. Citing federal privacy laws, MySpace said the attorneys general who made the demand had not followed proper legal process. Security chief Hemanshu Nigam told AP: "We're truly disheartened …

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Silver badge

And rightly so

I have to commend MySpace on this stance. While it is certainly of utmost importance to nail paedophiles, we must not sacrifice our civili liberties to a witch-hunt mentality to do so. There is a due process to be followed to protect the innocent as well as apprehend the guilty, and this process must not be compromised for any reason. The ends can NEVER justify the means, even when it comes to protecting children. All too often, volatile issues such as this are used to scapegoat innocent people (as witness the recent Operation Ore), and to create social pressures against freedom and innocence until proven guilt.

After all, what would be the point in preserving children from predators only to have them grow up in a society that rapes them of their freedom?

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Anonymous Coward

Spot On

The worst thing in all this is that the Attorneys General KNOW that registered sex offenders using their own real names were on Myspace. The law enforcement where those sex offenders live are suppose to tract the activities of the sex offenders. The law enforcement could just as easily typed in the sex offenders names and found them on Myspace. This really about people dropping the ball then blaming someone else for it.

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Commendations to MySpace

Good job on this one. The legal process is there for a reason. It is a shame how most companies just buckle to accomodate the government, even when the government has no authority to ask them to. (i.e. NSA & AT&T)

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Anonymous Coward

MySpace

Civil liberties may be at the heart of this matter, but ask any parent that has lost a child to a pervert....convicted sex offender. Once a person is convicted of a sex crime they do not deserve the right to such protection. This is not a hunt for suspected sex offenders but convicted sex offenders. Prison does not rehabilitate them and they will do it again. Loss of these civil liberties is a very small price to pay to keep a child alive or if the child survived the attack, the emotional scarring that will be with them for the rest of their life. The sex offender made a choice. The victims did not get to make a choice. Let sex offenders be hunted down for the rest of their life. MySpace and every other social networking site should be very willing to help law enforcement get these people off the street and not offer the opportunity to molest again. It is because of attitudes such as this, which makes these perverts feel safe to continue to ruin live of people.

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Anonymous Coward

definition sex offender

The definition of sex offender really matters as to whether or not they deserve no protection. Yes, I am a mother, yet, I do not believe it is correct to label a young adult a sex offender for having a relationship with another young adult. Nor should a legal adult necessarily be labeled a sex offender for a relationship with a consenting minor. Case in point in many states adult of 18 and minor of 17 have a relationship, he is a sex offender. There are cases where the 18 year old has been convicted of this, the two marry when the 17 is of age, and the couple have to deal with his conviction, registration, even after having children of their own.

Real sex offenders, children who prey on young children, etc is who they need to go after. Going after the others just overburdens the system and the people involved.

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Anonymous Coward

Emotive Issues

I'm surprised to find myself backing MySpace, along with most of the previous posts.

There are legal processes in place, of which the legal organisations are fully aware of - and they must also be painfully aware that if these are not followed, they are handing 'get out of jail free cards' to many of these people who should really be locked away.

Secondly, as I think the first poster stated - who specifically are they looking for? Remember that there are people on the sex offenders list who are NOT 'dangerous predatory pedophiles', such as those who have committed the heinous crime of underage sex by a year or two (ie fairly recent case of 17 yr old boy who was arrested for sex with his 15 yr old girlfriend and placed on the register).

The authorities have a job to do, but must not let their hand be forced by the emotive issues surrounding the subject, otherwise the wrong people will be victimised and those who really should be targeted will walk free to hurt others.

Please don't read this as a 'civil liberities at all costs' rave - I'm a parent too and the thought of this kind of invisible threat to my kid horrifies me.

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Anonymous Coward

Due process

There's a process in place to protect civil liberties and allow law enforcement to do their job. Since there's no mention of immediate danger to a child MySpace was correct in denying the request without due process. Now if one of these people was a suspect in a time sensitive crime, such as kidnapping, then there would be a case for bending the rules.

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

I believe in this case you're advocating giving up liberty to make a bureaucrats job easier.

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Anonymous Coward

Loss of these civil liberties is a very small price to pay

That's a key phrase. One you might hear often in China or North Korea or Cuba or the Taliban controlled regions of the Middle East.

Please continue to use that phrase as each and every right you have is eroded away in order to battle to the latest hysteria. Why we could even write a song or maybe a comedy skit:

Take my civil liberties. Please.

Where does it end? How about: The government of the United States, in order to Protect the Children (TM), have decided it is in your best interest to not allow you the right to vote in 2008. See, we determined that (current bogeyman) has a potential to cause harm and in order to prevent that harm you will not be allowed to vote. Or cook with butter. Or transport poetry across state lines without a license.

To quote Benjamin Franklin:

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

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Silver badge

Try a little rational thought...

> MySpace and every other social networking site should be very willing to help law enforcement get these people off the street and not offer the opportunity to molest again. It is because of attitudes such as this, which makes these perverts feel safe to continue to ruin live of people.

No, it is because of attitudes like yours that people cannot have a rational discussion of this subject and want to sacrifice all of our fundamental liberties because of fallacious "think of the children!" arguments.

> Loss of these civil liberties is a very small price to pay to keep a child alive

No, it is too high a price to pay because parents are lazy.

It is the job of *parents* to take care of their children, not the State and not Myspace. The internet is not a child minding service which will look after the kids whilst the parents put their feet up, if you have a child you cannot abdicate your responsibility to someone else running a program at the end of a broadband connection.

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re: MySpace

Protecting children may be at the heart of this matter, but ask any man that has been falsely accused of being a pervert.... sex offender.

Google "Operation Ore" sometime.

Being falsely accused of a sexual offence does not f**k up a person's life one single iota less than being a victim of an actual sex offence.

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Anonymous Coward

Tainted evidence

A consideration for the author of the "MySpace" post... considering that there was no immediate danger that could have justified an emergency handing over of information from MySpace, what would you prefer: MySpace cooperating with the Attorney General's requests, thus breaking federal law and opening themselves up to lawsuits and damaging the integrity of our legal system while we're at it, OR would you prefer that they insist that the AGs follow due process, get a subpoena, protect MySpace from lawsuits, and while we're at it generally protect the legal integrity of the system?

Really now, is this that hard to deal with? That MySpace doesn't want to BREAK THE LAW? Am I the only one that has noticed that nowhere have they said they would fight a subpoena if they received one - they have just said that they need some sort of court order to hand over the information requested. The AGs are lawyers, one and all. It would take them less time to prepare and send a subpeona than they probably spent drafting this piece of political excrement of a letter. Because, I remind you, they KNEW. Or, if they didn't, they are INCOMPETENT. This whole incident wasn't about protecting the children, this was about playing politics - at the expense of the children. End of story.

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Anonymous Coward

Is it MySpaces problem alone?

Is it MySpaces problem alone? Or is it just copping the blame because there are far too many parent's who's parenting skills are so pathetic that they should have been neutered at birth.

Parents are meant to LOOK OUT FOR their children, not just to abandon them to whatever they want to do. Parents should be aware of what their children are doing online and what it is possible for them to do online. Just throwing a computer into a child's room and assuming that everything is "OK" because the child doesn't disturb their lardy arses while watching cheap TV soaps is not parenting, it's hiding from responsibilities, pure and simple.

Yes, children will do their level best to get into trouble, most of us did this as children as well. We also found ways to do the things that our parents told us not to do, but we were looked after and our parents tried to stop us getting into too much trouble.

Consider this - how many parents would just let their children play in a busy road? Is ensuring that they responsibly use the Internet any different? If you, as a parent, don't understand the Internet, then yes, it can be difficult and daunting due to the pace of change and the way technology like the Internet has rapidly come about, but it's your responsibility as a parent to do something about it. It's NOT the state's responsibility, it's NOT the child's school's responsibility, it's YOUR responsibility.

While I can very readily sympathise with parent's who's children have been "groomed" on the Internet and society in general's desire to ensure that they cannot prey on children again, it's time to take responsibility. There MUST NOT be this state of fear where everyone's a suspect until they've been convicted of something - or have enough money to buy the best lawyers - it's just a road to ruin, fear, bigotry and misery.

MySpace claim that they are trying to clean up the problems that they admit they have had, but it's not their fault by a long way. How exactly are they to police however many millions of posts, blogs, pictures and videos that are uploaded? All they can realistically do is to react when something "bad" has happened, clean it up and wait for the next "bad" thing to happen. If parents didn't let their 12 year old children post pictures of themselves up in a public place, along with enough personal information to track them down to where they live there wouldn't be this problem.

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Had to sign up for this

Myspace is totally correct for doing this (although I think the letter is a publicity stunt to show us how secure the information is).

For the person above who spurred me into signing up, and who says (quoteth);

"but ask any parent that has lost a child to a pervert"

.. Yes, you ask them and they will respond "he should be ****** shot" (replace the star's with your most favourite word)... And they're right! We should get rid of these people who desire YOUNG children (that's the term I see sex offenders as I'm 22 and find it perfectly fine to fancy 15/16 year olds).

I myself don't use myspace, and do not know of the problems going on there... but trying to use parents who have lost children to sex offenders is TERRIBLE, and I couldn't stand by and not comment on THAT hideous act, trying to give away (any nationalities) civil liberties.

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RE: Tr0n

You're 22 and find it okay to fancy 15/16 year olds? Eesh. The moral rule (whilst young) is half your age + 7. So stick to 18 and above!

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Anonymous Coward

RE: loss of cilil liberties

>> Loss of these civil liberties is a very small price to pay to keep a child alive

No, it is too high a price to pay because parents are lazy.

It is the job of *parents* to take care of their children, not the State and not Myspace. The internet is not a child minding service which will look after the kids whilst the parents put their feet up, if you have a child you cannot abdicate your responsibility to someone else running a program at the end of a broadband connection.

Let's take down the warning signs in the neighborhood about convited child molesters. Stop the Law Enforment agencys from notifiying a neighborhood that a molester is moving in. Let them move in to range of school bus dropoff/pickup, day cares, elementry schools etc etc. Lets just give them the oppertunity to molest again. Maybe one day it will be your kid than you can blame yourself for being a lousy parent then. It is not just up to the parent but everyone to do what they can do to keep this from happening to anyones child.

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Ultimate Solution

Let's just all stop having children -- all problems solved!

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Title

Whoa hold on, what the preivous poste was saying is that to many parents have adbocated thier duty to protect thier kids.

you want a simple and effective way to p[roctect your kids from online preditors??

Dont let them have a computer in thier own room.

Have it out in the open were you can see what thier are doing. buy soft ware to block sites. Yes actualy monitor what your kids do.

If you are depending on the cops to ask my space to violate federal law to protect your kids then we got a problem. Yes that what this issue comes down to,

I've seen to many kids in the public system that are introuble cause momy wont deal with timmy. Coulimbine any one ??

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Anonymous Coward

the problem is...

They are now putting some many people on sex offenders register that simply are young people having sex with other young people of approximately the same age, and in my honest opinion unless the circumstances are extraordinary they do not deserve to be classed as a sex offender, but of course we do seem to have witch hunts going on nowadays...

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Silver badge

Definition of a sex offender

According to the law, you can be a sex offender if you slept with a girl aged 15 years and 11 months whom you met in an over-18s-only nightclub.

You can also be a sex offender if you got caught taking a leak in an alleyway at night while all the public toilets were locked up.

And if you have ever received junk mail addressed to a former occupant of your home, or been refused credit because of the actions of a former occupant, you'll know why it's a bad idea to make lists of names and addresses of sex offenders available.

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