MySpace Releases Predator Names to AGs

MySpace is turning over the names, e-mail addresses and IP addresses of convicted sex offenders known to have joined the social network, North Carolina’s Attorney General Roy Cooper said today.

Cooper said he will share the information with law enforcement.

“We must keep barriers between predators and children and this information will help us do that,” Cooper said in a statement. “Parents know that sex offenders interacting with children is a bad idea, whether it happens on the Internet or in a neighborhood.”

MySpace, a Fox Interactive and News Corp. company, turned over the sex offenders’ personal information a week after eight attorneys general made the request in an open letter on May 14.

The law enforcement officials from Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania also asked MySpace to provide details on what it has done to alert other MySpace users who have communicated with these offenders.

In the letter, Cooper and a group of other state attorneys general said they believe data from Sentinel Tech Holdings, a company working with MySpace, indicate that thousands of known sex offenders may have been confirmed as MySpace members.

Today, MySpace confirmed that Sentinel Tech Holdings identified thousands of registered sex offenders as members of the site. MySpace said it already deleted these accounts and that it would continue to search its site for newly registered sex offenders.

It’s unclear if there is anything MySpace can do to stop sex offenders from registering under false names.

Similar letters from attorneys general were used in a case filed against MySpace by the parents of a minor who alleged she was sexually assaulted by a 19-year-old she met on the social network. The lawyers for that minor argued that MySpace negligently ignored the warnings of those letters and should have been held responsible for what happened to her.

The judge disagreed. If anyone had a duty protect Julie Doe, it was her parents, not MySpace, the court ruled.

“MySpace is a treasure trove of potential victims for child predators,” Cooper said in a statement at the time. “Sex offenders have no business being on this site, and we believe MySpace has a responsibility to get them off the site.”

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