Cleansing the Web of Predators

The Web is a great place for perverts to hide out. There’s no surprise there.

What might be surprising is that there are almost twice as many convicted registered sex offenders lurking on MySpace than Attorney General Richard Blumenthal thought there were, and those are just the people who have been identified and booted from MySpace.

Blumenthal wants MySpace to get tougher and bar offenders from the site and he’s going after Facebook too.
Blumenthal got a subpoena and MySpace has identified about 90,000 convicted registered sex offenders it has identified and blocked from the site 40,000 more than the company previously acknowledged.

Blumenthal was taking to task a recent task force report that downplayed the threat of sexual predators on social networking sites.

There are safeguards in place, but how well they work can be debated.

The KIDS Act of 2007 was put into place to protect children from sex offenders online. It requires registered them to submit e-mail addresses, instant message addresses or other identifying Internet information to law enforcement.

There are almost cetainly many more using false names and ages, he said.

"These convicted registered sex offenders creating profiles under their own names unmasks MySpace's monstrously inadequate counter-measures. MySpace must purge these dangerous offenders now -- and rid them for good. Social networking sites must be barred as playgrounds for predators -- a very real threat exposed by the response to our subpoena," Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal's office is working to identify any and all Connecticut offenders with MySpace profiles and will inform state authorities so they can determine whether terms of probation or release have been violated, he said.

“I urge all states to immediately incarcerate or take other appropriate action, including additional restrictions, against offenders violating legal restrictions,” he said.

MySpace will turn over the information to the Attorney General’s office for investigation starting today. Recent reports also indicate substantial numbers of convicted offenders with profiles on Facebook.

In 2008, Blumenthal and AGs from 48 other states negotiated a deal with Facebook to implement new privacy rules. His office is awaiting a response to his recent subpoena to Facebook.

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