back to article MySpace erases 29,000 sex offenders

MySpace yesterday announced it had "detected and deleted" 29,000 convicted sex offenders on the social networking site, Reuters reports. The figure is considerably higher than the 7,000 it said it had identified back in May, after coming under strong pressure to tackle the sex offender menace. A coalition of Attorneys General …

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Anonymous Coward

so...

How exactly do they know??

Is there a tick box or something when you sign up?

Registered sex offender YES/NO?

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Anonymous Coward

Myspace scum first uncovered by Wired writer Kevin Poulsen

Kevin Poulsen created a program that cross-referenced Myspace entries against the database that at that stage contained the details of some 385,932 known sex offenders.

http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2006/10/71948

Myspace had at first declared that it was impossible for such a check to be done. Poulsen used the very technique that Myspace said could not work.

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Anonymous Coward

Doh!

Would it not have been better to strictly monitor their MySpace accounts? By banning them MySpace are either:

1) going to push them onto other social networking sites that don't know they're a bit wrong (the people not the site :)

2) going to lose track of them as they create new profiles with slightly different details (even though I guess they could have done this anyway)

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Welcome to Peado-geddon

So, the registered sex offenders (not necessarily Peadophiles) are being booted off My Space. Some thoughts:

If they are known to be on the Sex Offenders Register (SOR), they must have willingly given their correct names. This means that they are not trying to hide the fact that they are on the SOR, probably not the sort of people who are that dangerous, if dangerous at all.

Kicking them off MySpace could force them to use the site with fake details, possibly quite innocently, but this is potentially far more dangerous. Forcing someone out of society, rather than welcoming them in causes far problems than it solves.

It's the ones who don't let you know who they are that are the problem.

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did you read the article?

"Sentinel Safe" collates information from public databases of registered sex offenders and cross-references it against MySpace members.

Obviously this only works if they've used their real name, but it doesn't need a 'Sex Offender Y/N' question.

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Anonymous Coward

terrifying

If there are 29,000 registered perverts stupid enough to use their real name on my space think how many perverts there must be in total who are clever enough to change "George" to "Georgina" and "56 from Bognor" to "15 from Liverpool"

bugger, now I've let the cat out of the bag, there will be 29,000 new "Georgina, 15 from Liverpool"'s registered on MySpace by nightfall.

darn it's hard to keep on top of these perverts when you do absolutely no checking when opening new accounts.

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Anonymous Coward

@steve

yup, read the article, and knew fine how they'd done, was just posting as a little light entertainment...sheesh....

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Harassment?

Surely this is harassing someone who hasn't actually committed any crime. Or who has the misfortune to be named the same as somone on the register. You are guilty of thought crime. As I understand it due to draconian American legislation you can be put on the register for sneezing at a child, so the majority of them are more than likely not guilty of anything in the first place. It's creepy uncles feeling up their nieces who have and always will be the majority of paedos. Anyhow, clearly the kids are just too damn sexy.

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That makes sense...

so they have to delete sex offenders that might be stalking children from a site where people under 18 arent allowed to sign up for.... that makes loads of sense. maybe they should just delete the little prostitots that keep signing up and posting half naked pictures of their 14 year-old bodies for everyone to have to see. i think they are the bigger problem.

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Hasn't society come far

It's a good thing MySpace didn't launch in the 50s, or all known homosexuals would be ignomiously kicked off the site.

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Tell you what

Tell you what, if I had a MySpace account right now I'd be making sure that everyone knew it was still active. I wonder how many are looking around their MySpace contacts looking for ones that have recently gone quiet.

"Hey, I have not heard from 'Georgina, 15 from Liverpool' for a while - gosh! S/he must have been a perv!"

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Rob

you'll change your tune when it's your daughter or son found in the perverts fridge

One must have been convicted of a sexual related crime in order to be on a sex offender registry. Sneezing on a child is not going to do it & that comment is probably the stupidest thing I've ever seen on the internet.

Myspace has taken a valid action here which is just the same as saying no one under 14 can have an account. What about all those poor 12 year olds who can't participate in myspace. Boo hoo - they'll be scarred forever. Being able to log onto myspace is not some God given right that every citizen of the world deserves. It's a business that is choosing its clients wisely.

They have an obligation to do whatever they can to keep convicted sex offenders out. If you don't like what they did then just cancel your account. That will show them!

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Uhhhh

I'm slightly wise to DB's... call me foolish.... but for some reason i seriously doubt any SOF would be THAT stupid to use his or her own name.

I mean...thats like walking into a room with a bullseye painted on your forehead.

Sorry.... this smells of wikipedia-istic government tactics.

Either that or a publicity stunt... "saying ouuu look what we did... we did a good thing..yes?"

myspace.com.. most ad riddened and trash infested domain on the entierity of the net..well one of them.

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Ah..

I'd wondered where all my 500 15 year old male friends had disappeared to :\

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It's a start

Yeah, they took the easy target - convicted sex-offenders stupid enough to use their own names. But you've got to start somewhere. And do you think that's all they're doing?

I would like to think that MySpace are using heuristic algorithms to identify suspicious behaviour patterns - a process that *can* be run without invading privacy or slandering the innocent - and asking people who show up 'on the radar' for additional verification of their identity. It's easy, non-stigmatising, and anonymous.

My fear is that this will be done in a heavy-handed and intrusive way that assaults and stigmatises the innocent. Murdoch - Myspace's owner - is a media baron who tramples over peoples' rights in pursuit of sensational stories about sex offenders - and, indeed, in pursuit of profitably titillating stories about anyone he pleases - without regard to the damage that is done to people when their private lives are splashed all over the media. This is not an organisation that I would trust to protect either my privacy, or my children.

I have some doubts about the existing process: at least MySpace acted on serious legal evidence rather than hearsay, but the criminal justice system is far from perfect.

Still, it's the best we've got. and, while some of these 'sex offenders' are probably fifteen-year-old-boys caught in bed with a girl a day younger and registered for life (some states *do* press a case and convict, although most jurisdictions apply a degree of tolerance based on age difference and individual circumstances), some of them will indeed be dangerous predators with a lifetime of repeat offending.

An opinion? It'll probably do more good than harm, and it beats hell out of doing nothing.

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is that legal?

what have they done wrong?

if they have been convicted of a crime, done their time (if any) and been released then... they have every bit as much right to be on myspace, facebook or anywhere else as the archbishop of cantebury.

i'm sorry, but if these people are not actively (and proveably) taking part in criminal activities, then what justification is there for 'kicking them off' ?

if this is happening based on peoples past activities, which they have been punished for, then its a disgrace. might as well boot off everyone who has ever commited a crime.

2 possibilities, either:

a) they still pose a danger, in which case they should still be banged up

or

b) they no longer pose a danger, in which case myspace etc. should keep their noses out of it.

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Silver badge

Who will change their tune...?

@Rob:

> you'll change your tune

Ah, this is the "Civil Libertarians are hypocrites" argument.

Sure, I mean we people who believe in Rights are all just Ivory Tower, Bleeding-Heart Liberal Intellectuals who have no contact with the Real World (tm) and we should actually be *happy* to see people treated as "presumed guilty" just on the off-chance that it might prevent a crime.

Of course if *YOU* were one of those people kicked off MySpace because of a false-positive match between your name and that of a registered Sex Offender, you'd just go "Oh well, never mind, at least because they're denying me access there's a chance that someone else will be too and that just might stop a child being abused, so I don't mind being falsely accused of being a paedophile..."

Won't you...?

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@Rob

"...One must have been convicted of a sexual related crime in order to be on a sex offender registry..."

WRONG!!!

In fact the police regularly get people onto the sex offenders register for life because they have a caution. This is most definitely NOT a criminal conviction.

They basically tell whoever they have in that if they accept a caution for the alleged rape/child porn/flashing etc. etc. they will get off. If they don't, the CPS will prosecute and their name will be all over the papers, people will hunt you down mate, even if you get off and you don't want that do you?

What do you do? Especially considering most people, only find out that they are on the Sex Offenders Register after they have accepted the caution.

The really shocking thing is that most of the time there is little or no evidence and the CPS wouldn't take the case anyway.

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A step too far?

Unless I'm very much mistaken a sex offender is not necessarily a peadophile. I mean, you could rape a 90 old granny and be put on the register right? So are they doing this to protect old grannies as well? The main motivation seems to be protecting the "kids" (the same innocent kids that go out drinking, smoking and having sex at 14 - I know, I was 14 once). It seems to me this is taking a sledgehammer to crack a walnut. Ultimately (and I say this as a parent myself) it's up to the parents to teach their children how to behave responsibly.

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You'll change your tune when you find out what it takes...

...to become a "registered sex offender."

People have the quaint, misguided notion that "registered sex offender" = "baby-raping p(a)edophile." This is the image that law enforcement and legislators want people to believe, because it creates an awesome tool for hysteria and fearmongering--"You have FIFTEEN SEX OFFENDERS living in YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD!!! Only CONGRESSMAN BOB can PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN! Vote for CONGRESSMAN BOB!"

In reality, sexual predators are rare, even on the sex offender lists. Most people who are registered sex offenders have never attacked or harmed anyone and have been convicted of nonsense "crimes" like having sex in the wrong position or in the wrong orifice (in many US states, sex offender databases are litetered with people "convicted" of consensual sex acts with other adults), or simply people who go ton the wrong side of some law enforcement officer.

Here's a good one for you: In Florida, exposing one's genitals in proximity to a child is a "sex crime." So the father driving home on the interstate late at night who stops to take a leak on the side of the road while his kid is asleep in the passenger's seat is now a "registered sex offender."

You Brits have a great word for this kind of nonsense: bullocks. "Protect the children?" Sheesh. How naive do you have to be to believe that rubbish?

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Anonymous Coward

A Flea

"The main motivation seems to be protecting the "kids""

I think MySpace's main aim is to be seen to be trying to protect the kids etc. Actually protecting the kids is not important; if children were abused as a result of MySpace, and it was not reported in the media, and no legal action was taken against MySpace, then MySpace would suffer no detriment. It does not have emotions. The important thing is that MySpace is seen to be doing something, and that this is reported on in the media.

It makes for a positive story, and might help MySpace in future if it is taken to court for harbouring sex offenders, in the same way that companies spend a lot of money coming up with official policies on e.g. harassment, racial intolerance in the workplace, that are only ever posted to the intranet. The only downside is the fact that the audience will now associate MySpace with 29,000 sex offenders.

That's a good name for a band. "The 29,000 Sex Offenders". The cover of their first album will be a montage a la Sergeant Pepper, but with 29,000 sex offenders instead of e.g. Mae West, Oscar Wilde. Although Oscar Wilde *was* a sex offender. And so was Mae West, I think (she was arrested for obscenity).

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You Brits have a great word for this kind of nonsense:

Ah... Nearly right.

It's, "Bollocks". A Bullock is a gelded/castrated bull. But having pointed that out I can see why it might come to mind in a conversation covering actions taken against sex offenders.

Ouch.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: You'll change your tune when you find out what it takes...

Quote: Here's a good one for you: In Florida, exposing one's genitals in proximity to a child is a "sex crime." So the father driving home on the interstate late at night who stops to take a leak on the side of the road while his kid is asleep in the passenger's seat is now a "registered sex offender."

Hmm, I once went to Wet'n'Wild in Florida - I guess the German family who showered naked in the Mens' should have been all arrested. I knew about American sensibilities so I kept my kit on.

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Stupid

why dont they delete all the 18< year olds who are obviously too dumb to practice internet safety? they obviously dont deserve the internet....

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