NJ AG Pushing MySpace For More Data

MySpace parent-company Fox Interactive Media (FIM) has until Monday to respond to demands from New Jersey’s new chief law enforcement officer to provide more details on convicted sex offenders who have profiles on the social networking site .

Attorney General Anne Milgram, who took office June 29th, recently disclosed that more than half of the 141 convicted New Jersey sex offenders with profiles on the social networking Internet site MySpace were on probation or parole and can be subject to tougher prohibitions against surfing the Internet.

It also said a second subpoena was served on June 29 for information on any sex offenders identified and deleted by MySpace since the state’s original request and that it would “use every available means to determine the exact nature of the offenders’ activities on the site.”

The information is the result of a May 21 subpoena from Milgram’s office demanding FIM disclose the names, e-mail addresses and IP address of any convicted sex-offenders who have joined MySpace since May 24, 2007.

In a statement, Milgram said the latest revelations are “proof in hand to confirm the worst fears of New Jersey’s concerned parents and educators; that sex offenders are active on websites used by children and teenagers.

“That is why it is important to always exercise caution on social networking sites and never give out personal information. It is doubly important that parents monitor their children’s computer habits and open a dialog with them on the subject,” Milgram added.

As recently as late May, FIM responded to a similar subpoena from the New Jersey attorney general’s office. That disclosure revealed that over half of the New Jersey sex offenders signed up with MySpace were possibly violating terms of parole or probation. But before prosecuting, Milgram wants to make sure she has a complete list of suspects to hand over to the State Parole Board and to Probation Services, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office told internetnews.com.

In an email to internetnews.com MySpace Chief Security Officer Hemanshu Nigam only said his company had complied with such requests in the past. He did not say if MySpace would do so again.

In late May, FIM was compelled to respond to a letter signed by attorneys general from Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The letter requested FIM provide details on what it has done to alert other MySpace users who have communicated with these offenders.

“MySpace is a treasure trove of potential victims for child predators,” North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said in a statement attached to the open letter. “Sex offenders have no business being on this site, and we believe MySpace has a responsibility to get them off the site.”

FIM cooperated, turning over approximately 7,000 names of registered sex offenders to law enforcement authorities in all 50 states.

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