Myspace Pumping Up Security

In an article from Techweb on Yahoo.com titled MySpace Beefs Up Security; More To Come, CSO Says, it talks about how they are using technology Sentinel Tech Holding to build a database and search technology to allow employees to monitor and remove profiles of registered sex offenders. They will use name, age, height, and eye color weed them out and cut them from the pack. Does anyone else think, what registered sex offender is going to use their real description, age, etc, on their Myspace account, won’t they be trying to trick young people into thinking they are talking to another young person?

Chief security officer Hemanshu Nigam, who joined MySpace last spring from Microsoft, hopes the database can be used by the rest of the social networking industry. “We saw this really gaping hole here,” Nigam said last week in an interview.

The concept, however, is unproven. It’s not clear how well technology for matching physical characteristics of sex offenders with photos works. And the database won’t include unlisted child predators. “Most of the people who are molesting children online are not registered sex offenders,” says online child safety advocate Parry Aftab of WiredSafety.org.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal applauds the effort but says any safety program without some form of age verification for new members would be ineffective. MySpace uses algorithms to analyze profiles and determine if members are lying about their age, and it deletes 30,000 underage profiles a week. The company continues to assess other age verification technologies, Nigam said. Source: Yahoo

This reminds of the Attorney General from Virginia who is pushing for creation of an email and instant messenger name database of registered sex offenders. Umm, does anyone who works with these guys ever tell them how this stuff works? Sure, they will submit their email addresses and user name, but do you think they will actually be using them when they are targeting kids? No, hello, is anyone out there in federal government thinking about anything? Ridiculous, if the government really wants to make a difference in the lives of children, then they need to create education programs to teach them what to look for, and programs to teach parents how to monitor and make sure their kids don’t get taken advantage of or worse.

This is another one of those feel good programs where they can point and say hey we are doing something, even though it may not be very good at what it is supposed to be doing. If anyone from the government wants some real ideas on protecting children online, feel free to leave me a voice mail at 304-521-2582.