MySpace provided a written statement from its chief security officer, Hemanshu Nigam: “MySpace fully supports the key conclusions of the report: that industry has done a great deal of technical innovation in the online safety arena, that the risks minors face online are complex and multifaceted, that there is no single technological solution to the problem of youth online safety and no single technology that fully addresses any specific risk minors face.”
MySpace now cross-references the names of its members against public lists of registered sex offenders, and when matches are found, it deletes the accounts. MySpace uses a national searchable database sold by Sentinel that contains information on the estimated 600,000 registered sex offenders in the United States. “These sex offenders have full access to the Internet, but not to MySpace where we use Sentinel SAFE to remove them from our site. We then provide this information to Attorneys General in all 50 states. MySpace has been a leader in implementing this technology,” the company says.
MySpace took further steps to make it more difficult for young and adult users to interact inappropriately. For example, members under 18 can no longer designate themselves as “swingers,” and the company placed a lock on the age setting to prevent adult users from switching their ages in order to have freer access to minors. The site also made it easier for members to report objectionable content and behavior. Other social-networking sites have taken similar steps.
The issue is extremely sensitive for the Internet industry. The Berkman report included responses from Microsoft, AOL, Facebook, MySpace, and Linden Lab (which runs the virtual world Second Life), as well as telecom companies like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon.