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Fraud in Internet Dating Prompting Regulation

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the you-mean-i-shouldn't-believe-everything-i-read dept.

371

anaesthetica writes "According to the Washington Post, an increasing tide of fraud in internet dating is prompting lawyers and lawmakers to examine possible regulations and consumer protections. Wire fraud scamming, plane ticket ripoffs, fraud perpetrated to fund trysts, fake "date bait" messages -- these are just a few of the issues the courts are beginning to deal with. Dating websites were immunized from lawsuits over false statements by the recent Communications Decency Act. Other attempts to regulate internet dating, such as the 2005 'mail-order bride' legislation, are already being challenged in court, but an increasing number of states are sponsoring their own legislation."

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WTF? (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485379)

What's being described here is already covered by existing fraud statutes, isn't it? What's with the call for more regulation?

-jcr

Re:WTF? (4, Insightful)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485404)

Lawmakers make laws. That is what they do! Politicians need to be seen as "doing something about the problem"... even if they know that more laws won't help, they want to be seen as "taking a stand" and "standing up for the people" on an issue. If a politician doesn't call for more regulation, then he will be accused of "doing nothing to help the victims".

Re:WTF? (4, Interesting)

general_re (8883) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485410)

This is how legislators keep busy and stay out of trouble. Someone gets burned by an online dating experience, and raises a stink about it in public, and politicians hear that - usually correctly - as a call for someone to Get Out There and Do Something About This. Because we, as a society, have a sort of tacit understanding with our representatives, a shared delusion if you will, whereby they pretend that if only they can pass enough laws, they can build a world where nobody ever gets hurt or offended or upset or inconvenienced or whatever. And we pretend to believe that they can, in fact, actually accomplish such a thing, and reward them by re-electing them, or occasionally promoting them, for their bold attempt at creating what P.J. O'Rourke once called the "Nerf world". I say "pretend", but that's not really true, of course - the reality is that most politicians and the citizens they represent really do believe that an ouchless world is possible. Or if they don't believe it, they sure as fuck act like they do.

Re:WTF? (1)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485441)

This is how legislators keep busy and stay out of trouble. Someone gets burned by an online dating experience, and raises a stink about it in public, and politicians hear that - usually correctly - as a call for someone to Get Out There and Do Something About This.

So let's vote in some libertarians to strike all the useless laws and 99% of the tax code, and put some lawyers out of business while we're at it.

We can call it "ex-lex".

Re:WTF? (0, Flamebait)

revscat (35618) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485610)

You know, I would, except libertarianism is a complete failure. See sig.

Re:WTF? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15485865)

Libertarianism is like communism: both look great on paper.

Yes, but one has been tried and failed and the other has not yet been tried on a large scale basis. The theory that the earth rotates around the sun also looks pretty good "on paper" - and turns out to look pretty good in practice also in spite of the naysayers who found it in conflict with their world view.

Re:WTF? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15485728)

You know, especially with conservatives pissed off at the new big-government Republican party, you guys would normally be surging with popularity and election wins, except you disqualify yourself with certain kooky positions, like drug legalization. If you want to be a mainstream party, and you have tremendous potential, you need to boot the hippies and appeal to the mainstream. And you'll never get any portion of the Republican base with your position on abortion [lp.org] . Saying "government should be kept out of" the abortion issue is like saying government should stay out of the homicide issue, or the racism issue, etc. You're effectively saying, in lame pussyfooting language, that abortion should not be illegal. But abortion snuffs out a life - so much for being for "a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives." Come back when you've rid the party of the druggie fringe, and when you've rid the platform of blatant inconsistencies.

motivation of politicans (1)

NoSuchGuy (308510) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485868)

This is how legislators keep busy and stay out of trouble. Someone gets burned by an online dating experience, and raises a stink about it in public, and politicians hear that - usually correctly - as a call for someone to Get Out There and Do Something About This.

How many were "burnt" (=shot) by easy to get fire arms?
How many were "burnt" by the RIAA / MPAA?
How many were "burnt" by DRM?
How many were "burnt" by software companies that are not liable for the damages their software caused?

I mentioned weapons, the big media, DRM, BigSoft Inc., did I miss someone or something? Healthcare and education are missing.

Re:WTF? (1)

enrevanche (953125) | more than 8 years ago | (#15486140)

Politicians have no such delusions. They just want to look like they're doing something. The extra noise also provides a sort of camoflage for the rest of the crappy laws they sponsor or support on behalf of their financial supporters (special interests, corporate america).

Re:WTF? (1)

afaik_ianal (918433) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485465)

What's being described here is already illegal, but the laws are difficult to enforce online. They are not proposing making these kinds of fraud illegal, but putting regulations on the "middle-men" (the dating sites) to make it harder for criminals to get away with it.

To say that the regulations are not needed because the crimes are already illegal is a lot like saying that regulation of financial systems and institutions is irrelevant because tax evasion is already illegal. The point of regulating should be to help enforce what is already law (although I realise there are often other reasons for putting in regulations).

Re:WTF? (1)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485716)

What's being described here is already illegal, but the laws are difficult to enforce online. They are not proposing making these kinds of fraud illegal, but putting regulations on the "middle-men" (the dating sites) to make it harder for criminals to get away with it.

However, the fact remains that it should be the -perpetrators- punished for the crime, not the sites on which they commit them. (This is a different story if the site itself commits fraud, of course, and "Find a hot chick to bang tonight!" certainly does seem like borderline false advertising.) But a site should not be liable if a con artist uses its services, whether that site be this one or a dating service. Non-Internet dating carries risks, and one of those risks is that your date is a liar. Why should anyone expect anything different in a different medium?

Generally, I'm not too hot on anything that requires a website or ISP to "police" content put up by users. If the user's conduct is so horrendous as to reach the level of fraud (or other illegal activity), -that person- should be punished. It's a bit like punishing someone who put up a lightpole if someone posts a fraudulent message on it.

And to a certain extent, people do need to be aware of the old truism--if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Re:WTF? (3, Insightful)

ericdano (113424) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485567)

It is easier to take on "problems" like this, in an election year, rather than issues like balancing the budget, fixing levees, or fixing the immigration problems we have.

"internet dating"=oxymoron? (1)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485582)

Call me old fashioned, but to me "internet dating" sounds like an oxymoron anyway...

So who is the legislation supposed to protect? People from themselves? ...Because they don't realize that "find your perfect soulmate for $39.99 a month" or "find a hot chick to bang tonight" are too good to be true. Let people live in their fantasy world where everyone has a soulmate and there are plenty of hot local babes" willing to please, just a few mouse click away and $5.99 registration fee.

Re:"internet dating"=oxymoron? (1)

NATIK (836405) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485644)

Internet dating dosnt have to be on one of those halfway pornsites. There are real dating sites where people chat with each other looking for partners. My own father found his new wife on a dating site (never mind that she is a total bitch, but you cant win everytime).

Re:"internet dating"=oxymoron? (1)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485696)

I have heard of plenty of people who left their wives/husbands and kids for some "perfect soulmate" they met online. After a while that "someone" doesn't turn out to be that great and they are back on the net looking for the next "perfect soulmate".

I think people project their own idealized image of a soulmate unto the other individual they meet online. It is very easy to do when you only see their typing and a picture of them 10 years (and 50 lb.) ago. I am not saying people don't do it in person too, it's just that it is much easier online.

Re:"internet dating"=oxymoron? (3, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485700)

I have heard of plenty of people who left their wives/husbands and kids for some "perfect soulmate" they met online.

I actually know one putz who did exactly that. Dumped his wife after about thirty years of marriage, and now he complains that her family doesn't invite him to family gatherings.

Of course, there were always the people who'd run off with a secretary or something like that. All the net does is allow them a larger pool of homewreckers to scan for.

-jcr

Re:"internet dating"=oxymoron? (1)

NATIK (836405) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485703)

I am not saying that isnt true, but your orginal post sounded like all dating sites were clones of those semi-porn "Find the nearest hooker" sites, which I pointed out that they are not.

The difference is (2, Interesting)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485674)

now women are starting to get bit.

That's the fastest way to get Congress to act on something: show that it affects women as well as men.

Filters vs regulation (1)

vsquad (863713) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485883)

The problem with most internet regulation is that it just doesn't work, unless we're talking about the Chinese goverment. It's much more productive to let customers decide if they like a service with the help of reviews. Any decent service does filter for most basic fraud and has some sort of honesty system in place. Better match sites let members describe themselves in the kind of detail that makes fraudsters apparent. A site that is a good example of this is: http://www.personio.com/ [personio.com]

Re:WTF? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15486137)

Yes, it is covered by regular laws already. The problem is one of the internet dating companies has a criminal background screening process and a patent on doing this with online dating. Its backers are conservatives who seem to have mixed with the conservative ownership of the Washington Post. The next part is easy: get an article written to promote the problem your business model markets itself as solving. This sort of thing happens all the time. One particularly easy to spot example is the so-called War on Drugs and the large amount of press promoting certain drugs as problem and not the already-covered-by-existing-laws behavioral problems of some drug users.

blah blah election year nothing to see here! (4, Informative)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485385)

existing anti-sexual assault, anti-fraud, anti- laws more than cover this.

this is yet another potential grand stand style red herring politicians can use to distract you from real issues.

I hope I saved you a lot of time you would have spent inquiring further into this.

Re:blah blah election year nothing to see here! (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485568)

this is yet another potential grand stand style red herring politicians can use to distract you from real issues.

That's right ... we need to get back to the real issues. Like gay marriage!

Re:blah blah election year nothing to see here! (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485599)

or the iraq war, our soaring international government debt, the decline in medical care and rising poverty rates, voter fraud and insecurity, energy policy.. you know.. responsibility with our money and future

Re:blah blah election year nothing to see here! (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485827)

There's a reason we avoid topics like that.

They're super depressing!

actually no... (1)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485630)

the "pro-common sense legislation" should cover this.

common sense is quite a valuable tool, it is free and available to all, just have to reach for it and use it - simple as that!

Re:blah blah erection year nothing to see here! (1)

Zemran (3101) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485819)

As long as this does not mean that I will have to walk away from this screen to meet my next wife I don't care.

Think about it (3, Insightful)

dracho (774428) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485396)

The little heading under the title should sum it up, plain and simple: it's from the "you-mean-i-shouldn't-believe-everything-i-read dept." Do a little homework, and think things through. Common sense... the world is losing it all too fast in my opinion. Being uneducated is one thing, and not a bad thing, but is this what we're coming to? People make their own decisions without doing any homework and stubbornly stick to that no matter what? :\ Whatever, me just blowing off steam I guess...

Re:Think about it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15485407)

People make their own decisions without doing any homework and stubbornly stick to that no matter what? :\ Whatever, me just blowing off steam I guess...

Hey, being stubborn is my decision and I have a right to make it!

Re:Think about it (1)

Toba82 (871257) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485608)

Being uneducated is one thing, and not a bad thing, but is this what we're coming to?
Last time I checked being uneducated WAS a bad thing.

"Bald ugly pervert seeks quick poke" (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485613)

Next thing they'll be expecting truth in advertising too.... C'mon folks lying to get a date + sex is as old as the hills.

Nobody ever got prosecuted for wire fraud for embellishing to potential dates over the phone or by any othger means. Using the internet does not really change anything.

Re:Think about it (2, Insightful)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485617)

It is called "people wanting to be victims and wanting to be babied by the politicians."

A bunch of idiots got fooled by another bunch of (slightly smarter) idiots with a website, that they can find their "soul mates" and consequently a "happy married life" for a $5.99 membership fee. In the end they found out that the "hot local babes" are just pictures from pr0n sites and it was actually the employees of the website who replied back to them. This made them realize that their own little world where they are soooo good looking, hot and desirable by the opposite sex is just a silly fantasy, so they called their representative to do something about it (just like when they used to run to mommy when they got their knee bruised)...

Re:Think about it (2, Interesting)

Imsdal (930595) | more than 8 years ago | (#15486034)

Common sense... the world is losing it all too fast in my opinion.

So, pray tell, when was exactly that glorious time when common sense did prevail? Did it coincide with the crusades, the Spanish Inquisition or the Salem witch burnings? Or perhaps with slavery?

As mad as the world is right now, the strange fact is that it has never been more sane.

Re:Think about it (1)

Tx (96709) | more than 8 years ago | (#15486044)

As mad as the world is right now, the strange fact is that it has never been more sane.

Worrying, isn't it.

Hmm... (4, Interesting)

whereiseljefe (753425) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485398)

Reminds me of the proposition 2 crap that happened down here in Texas. While us citizens were busy screaming about adding proposition 2 to the Texas constitution (it would ban gay marraige), despite the fact that gay marriage was already illegal under state law, our loving congress and our wonderful governor Rick Perry slipped by some amendments that allowed them to spend the principle of the education budget (normally legislature can only spend the interest on things other than education) to give Wal-Mart a multi-million dollar loan to build a distribution center in south texas.

And to think there is still no budget for the public school system down here (we've been bickering about it since our supreme court struck down the curring Robin Hood system about... 1, 2 years ago?)

Re:Hmm... (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485413)

Ah...Texas passed the new school funding laws 7-10 days ago and the used car sales man we call a gov signed them into law. But he is better than the yankee we had as gov before him :)

Re:Hmm... (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485486)

Aggie cheerleader pretty well sums it up for him too.

On a related note, I was behind Carol Keaton Strayhorn's red Suburban the other day. She drove slightly below the speed limit, but turned out of my way fairly quickly. I think I'll vote for her.

Re:Hmm... (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485490)

Vote for Kinky!

He might not know what the hell he is doing - but it would be fun. Hell, it would be a fscking blast if he won.

Texas would never be the same :)

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15485627)

I second that. There are only two real voting choices in the upcoming election: vote for a politician, or vote for Kinky. Personally I think we've had enough fucking politicians for a while.

Re:Hmm... (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485485)

What in the world would Wal-Mart need a loan for? They're not exactly strapped for cash.

Got an article?

Re:Hmm... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485595)

What in the world would Wal-Mart need a loan for? They're not exactly strapped for cash.

But why would you need to use cash if you can get a low interest subsidized loan?

Re:Hmm... (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 8 years ago | (#15486113)

What in the world would Wal-Mart need a loan for?

Same reason Pepsico don't pay any taxes. Your govt isn't looking out for you, they are looking after big business.

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15485558)

huh? no budget for the schools? who pays for the schools then? maybe.. the folks in the district?

Obligatory (1)

Bombula (670389) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485402)

[insert Steve Guttenberg / Rosanna Arquette Amazon Women on the Moon reference here].

What? (4, Funny)

eclectro (227083) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485420)


Who would want to date when you can play Dungeons and Dragons?

Anyway, doesn't everyone here know that all the cute pictures online are fake and you are talking to somebody who weighs 300 pounds and whose real name is "Bubba"?

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15485430)

uhh... the law is obviously not intended for the average slashdot user.

which is an interesting mixed blessing.

Re:What? (2, Funny)

Vladimus (583117) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485540)

Seriously, guys (and gals?), be careful out there. My 250-pound ex wants me to do a little Photoshop work on her pic.

Re:What? (2, Funny)

innocence18 (897646) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485566)

Don't knock it till you've tried it alright, Bubba and I are very happy together!

Re:What? (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 8 years ago | (#15486128)

Yup, can't beat those man-breasts huh?

Re:What? (1)

Wescotte (732385) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485657)

Anyway, doesn't everyone here know that all the cute pictures online are fake and you are talking to somebody who weighs 300 pounds and whose real name is "Bubba"?

I find that hard to believe since all the good sites have their cities listed under thier pics!

Re:What? (1)

pr0f3550rcha05 (978013) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485796)

There are certainly some above-board sites, but the fake/spammy ones also list cities under the fake profiles. First, it's pretty unlikely that you are going to go through a bunch of other cities (or sites with slightly different names directed at different cities) and realize that a similar picture is listed again with a different name and different city. A second alternative, for the more fastidious fakers, is to set up a certain number of profiles and then either filter their email list or use scripts in their page to look up your (the site viewer) IP's rough location and then list those same profiles for everyone with filled in.
As a last resort, you could just run some extension of the old stock-pick scam: Pick a random stock, and send 4096 people an email with the news that the stock will go up, and 4096 the same email except that the stock will fall. After the stock did one or the other, email the 4096 with whom you were right a similar email, and again with the 2048 and 1024 with whom you continue to be right. Eventually you have a number of people left (say 256 people who have now been given 5 'perfect' picks) who think you are an incredible genius/sending legitimate 'personals.'

Anyhow, using common sense and caution is usually the best idea on the Interweb just as it has been for thousands of years before it.

Re:What? (1)

loraksus (171574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485779)

I do believe Guild Wars, WoW and EQ are the drugs of choice these days.

Fraud is defined as... (1)

w33t (978574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485426)

"A piece of trickery; a trick.
      1. One that defrauds; a cheat.
      2. One who assumes a false pose; an impostor."

Interestingly I think these are the exact same definitions for "Date" as in an event, and "Date" as in a person.
--
Music should be free [w33t.com]

With regulation, dating sites will look like this: (5, Funny)

SpecialAgentXXX (623692) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485440)

Man Seeking Woman

His Qualities
  • Age: 30
  • Hair: Balding
  • Eyes: Bloodshot from staring at PC too long playing MMORPGs; glasses
  • Body Type: football... that is the shape, not the athlete
  • Education: Trade School - DeVry's Technical
  • Income: $25,000 - $30,000
  • Housing: Lives with parents
  • Social Style: Introverted, shy, nervous around women
  • Sexual Behavior: N/A, virgin

Your Qualities
  • Age: Barely Legal
  • Hair: Blonde
  • Eyes: Blue
  • Skin: Tanned
  • Body Type: Athletic
  • Housing: has her own place
  • Sexual Behavior: anything past 1st base would be nice

Re:With regulation, dating sites will look like th (1)

loraksus (171574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485460)

You'll have to consider all the anime / manga "specialists" who are looking for an Asian gal (and possibly something like "must like shibari, nosehooks and tentacles" (not that anything is wrong with that).
There seems to be a great many of their number in the /. crowd.

Re:With regulation, dating sites will look like th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15485494)

Mommy my stomach hurts...

Re:With regulation, dating sites will look like th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15485660)

Actually, it's 35, not balding, $90k base or $150k+ if you include the options (not even close to underwater, even with tech stocks declining) and stock purchase plan, college educated, my own apartment only because I just finished a messy divorce (had a townhouse, sold it in the divorce, still have half of the resulting sale), savings, retirement, and haven't lived with my parents in 15 years.

Doesn't help, because of the football part and the introversion. And maybe the football part wouldn't be a problem without the introversion, who knows. However, with dating sites as they are (regulated or no), my odds for the rest of my life are non-existent unless I buy a bride overseas or find a low-aiming gold digger.

After all, all those damn profiles out their say "must not be into playing games".

Dammit.

Curse you, WoW!

Re:With regulation, dating sites will look like th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15485886)

low-aiming gold digger

And what's wrong with that? Just do a good prenup (or better yet, skip the marriage part) and when you wear out the first one, move onto the next. Never actually let her spend much of the money pot - just let her think she can later!

OMGWTF!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15485444)

So that MILF is really a MIDWTF? Time for a lawsuit!

More useless hype ... (2, Insightful)

Mr. Lwanga (872401) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485447)

More useless hype to distract you from the real world.

Re:More useless hype ... (2, Funny)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485542)

Thank God. The real world is boring as hell.

funny (4, Funny)

sxtxixtxcxh (757736) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485451)

after reading the title, and skimming the summary, i read "14 comments yro.slashdot.org" as "14 yr old.slashdot.org"

I consulted on a case of this. (4, Insightful)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485457)

Back in February, I consulted with a law firm on a dating site fraud case.

The client sued a dating site because he saw a profile (faked), joined, chatted for 2 hours,
then "she" gave him a get lost jerk phone number.

In discovery, the email address given by this "woman" was phony.

While the dating site is protected under the CDA (see http://www.techlawjournal.com/topstories/2003/2003 0813.asp [techlawjournal.com] ) and the case was dropped. I can see
a case against a site for failing to do a basic check of the email address and removal of a phony profile. That by not checking, the dating site gets an unfair benefit from the deceptive information posted -- a person being tricked into paying a fee to contact the person in the fake profile.

Re:I consulted on a case of this. (2, Insightful)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485528)

I suppose he's also sued women for standing him up on a date? Or perhaps that girl in a club who gave him a fake phone number. Better yet, that "girl" he met who he later found out had a rather large bulge up front. People get scammed in the game of dating all the time; that's just part of it.

Re:I consulted on a case of this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15485596)

The problem is less the false information and more the having to pay the dating site in order to obtain the false information in the first place. But I could be wrong, didn't read the article, and am an anonymous coward.

Re:I consulted on a case of this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15486088)

You pay to enter most dance places (to meet the girl and get the false info) too .

Oh wait, this is slashdot, of course you wouldn't know that.

Bring on National IDs and USDA Inspectors (4, Funny)

MonkeyBoyo (630427) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485470)

That way I can be sure that I am corresponding with a virgin who just turned 18.

Re:Bring on National IDs and USDA Inspectors (3, Funny)

One Childish N00b (780549) | more than 8 years ago | (#15486231)

Hey man, just stay on Slashdot - given the standard of bickering here recently, I'd hazard a guess that around half the UIDs in the 9* range are virgins that just turned 18 - you're spoilt for choice!

Let the market decide (3, Insightful)

SonicSpike (242293) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485473)

Here is a noble idea:

Let the free market figure it out!

For example, if Yahoo dating service is able to block 98% of scammers, while Match.com is only able to block 75%, then who should win?

The answer lies within filtering technology, and innovating approaches to improving the quality of service. The market will sort things out on its own; that will force innovation (progress) and foster competition.

Regulation and legislation usually stifles competition and innovation. If people can't get good service at one place, they will go to somewhere else that meets their needs. That is called the free market!

Re:Let the market decide (1)

Kuukai (865890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485533)

For example, if Yahoo dating service is able to block 98% of scammers, while Match.com is only able to block 75%, then who should win?

If more than 50% of viruses are on Windows, and less than that are on anything else, who should win? The free market is broken, at least with goods/services where more than one marketable factor is involved... (which is most)

Re:Let the market decide (1, Insightful)

SonicSpike (242293) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485552)

It is the free market, and it does work. Like gravity, it is a natural law and always functions with specific parameters.

In your Windoze analogy it should be obvious that viruii are not enough of a problem for people to start switching to Linux or Mac OS based solely on the amount of viruii they contract. As soon as viruii become a huge problem, then people might either fix it (AV companies anyone), or decide to move to a less vulnerable OS. It is really a cost-benefit analysis.

Re:Let the market decide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15485590)

It is the free market, and it does work. Like gravity

The law of gravity isn't quite so easy to break, though.

Re:Let the market decide (2, Insightful)

revscat (35618) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485626)

It is the free market, and it does work. Like gravity, it is a natural law and always functions with specific parameters.

That's the stupidest goddamn thing I've read all day. The free market is an illusion. Something invented by people. There is no Santa Claus, there is no spoon, and there is no fucking free market.

Fundie Christians have Jesus and libertarians have the free market. Yay for humanity.

Re:Let the market decide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15485797)

And Slashdorks have their gay-ass fetish over a fucking operating system for chrissakes. Humanity is a bunch of irrational beings who need to have a religion so bad they'll make one out of practically anything.

Re:Let the market decide (1)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485679)

The free market is not a natural law. Unlike a natural law, the market will change depending on how we (people, economic agents) describe it. So by calling it a "natural law" _we_ let it function (and we act) as if it is a "natural law". One could probably say that it is like the effect of "observing" in the quantum world (the process of observing a system will change its state).

Re:Let the market decide (1)

Kuukai (865890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485792)

In your Windoze analogy it should be obvious that viruii are not enough of a problem for people to start switching to Linux or Mac OS based solely on the amount of viruii they contract.

This is what I meant by "when more than one marketable factor is involved". No one's paying attention to the greater virus vunerability, because there are plenty of other things to worry about. I picked Windows for my analogy because many of the reasons people won't switch (established user base, exclusive content) could easily be reasons people on a dating site would choose to ignore scamming (plus other things like evil subscription plans, etc.). Like you said for viruses, some people might use some form of third party software to filter scammers, but (just like with viruses) way too many won't. I don't see Free Market flying in and saving the day on this one, but maybe I'm missing something...

Re:Let the market decide (1)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485561)

For example, if Yahoo dating service is able to block 98% of scammers, while Match.com is only able to block 75%, then who should win?

Okay, now what if they're both only able to block 1% (+/- 1% false positives)?

I guess we'll just let the free market's panacea of just-short-of-fraudulent marketing fix everything.

Re:Let the market decide (1)

Eivind Eklund (5161) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485625)

To let the market sort it out may require labelling laws.

A "perfect market" - the kind of market that goes in there and sorts things out, optimally - requires that all actors are perfectly rational and have perfect information, and that there are no transaction costs. I don't know about you, but I'm definately not rational. Oh, and while I'm a quick shopper, I'm not instant. Fortunately, I'm clairvoiant, so that part is taken care of - the labels may be a bad idea after all. They just help all you normals...

Eivind.

Re:Let the market decide (2, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485669)

Regulation and legislation usually stifles competition and innovation.

No, it USUALLY doesn't.

If people can't get good service at one place, they will go to somewhere else that meets their needs.

The real question here, which you are conveniently ignoring like oh-so-many Republican politicians, is HOW LONG will this "one place" be able to scam their customers, fooling them into believing they ARE getting "good service" before they figure out it's all a big scam/hoax?

Re:Let the market decide (2, Insightful)

RsG (809189) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485701)

Free market economics don't work where the service providers are depending on human stupidity and/or desperation to operate. For a free market to correct itself, consumers need to be educated about the product or service they're buying, and they need to be discerning when two or more choices are presented. Neither is exactly true when dealing with online dating schemes.

Additionally, it's too damn easy to spread false information via astroturfing when people are depending on word of mouth to determine which service to use. In the case you describe (Match vs. Yahoo), what's stopping Match.com from sending out people to random message boards saying "I found a girl at Match"? The whole reason this kind of slimy advertising works is because this particular market doesn't have any kind of objective source of product information.

You said that if Yahoo had a 98% success rating and Match had a 75% one, the market would favour Yahoo. Well, who's going to determine those figures? And if those figures can be gotten reliably, who's going to make sure the end user has access to them? And even when those two conditions are satisfied, you're still dealing with a group of end users who may not care - desperation and sex together are a wonderful way to supress common sense. Does the fact they're clueless and unhappy mean that they should be scammed?

Re:Let the market decide (1)

Solokron (198043) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485744)

Meanwhile, Yahoo and "child safe" AOL both have scamming bots rampant in all their chat rooms and have done nothing about it. It is to the point that 95% of names in rooms are bot scripts scamming for people to join an adult or poker website to look at pics or gamble so the script kiddy can get a small commission 10,000 times over daily. Sites like http://www.bot-depot.com/ [bot-depot.com] only make it more popular. One n00b conversation scenario: Hello. >Hi. How are you doing? >Great! How about you? I like your profile pic. I am lonely. >Sorry to hear that. Anything I can help with? You should visit http://www.an9l-t33n-wh0res.com/affiliate=6969 [an9l-t33n-wh0res.com] >F!

Re:Let the market decide (1)

Solokron (198043) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485756)

Meanwhile, Yahoo and "child safe" AOL both have scamming bots rampant in all their chat rooms and have done nothing about it. It is to the point that 95% of names in rooms are bot scripts scamming for people to join an adult or poker website to look at pics or gamble so the script kiddy can get a small commission 10,000 times over daily. Sites like http://www.bot-depot.com/ [bot-depot.com] only make it more popular.

One n00b conversation scenario:

Hello.
>Hi.
How are you doing?
>Great! How about you? I like your profile pic.
I am lonely.
>Sorry to hear that. Anything I can help with?
You should visit http://www.an9l-t33n-wh0res.com/affiliate=6969 [an9l-t33n-wh0res.com]
>F!

Re:Let the market decide (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485802)

Here is a noble idea:

Let the free market figure it out!

For example, if Yahoo dating service is able to block 98% of scammers, while Match.com is only able to block 75%, then who should win?


Whoever's got the most pretty shinny flashing pictures on their front page.

Free market my backside. You're assuming the free market, in this case made up of socially inept losers and naive twits, is going to rationally and wisely choose the best service offered. That is just one of the many problems with letting a free market do everything for you. The free market is full of boneheads with more money than sense.

Idealism is a trap. (3, Insightful)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485968)

Regulation and legislation usually stifles competition and innovation. If people can't get good service at one place, they will go to somewhere else that meets their needs. That is called the free market!

This really is a noble idea, but like many such ideas, it is far too simple to work all by itself. There is nothing inherently wrong with regulation; it's just mindful engineering. Many systems, if you don't apply intelligence and sculpting to their growth progress, will just end up being wild free-for-alls which do not necessarily favor humans. This is why farmers try to discourage weed growth among their crops. Our intelligence is a tool designed to give us an edge in the wild; ignoring it needlessly strips us of that advantage. Sorry, but I don't have claws and fur, so why on earth would I want to handicap myself?

--I remember while visiting Orlando, and Buffalo and a few other U.S. cities, and being amazed at the apparent lack of zoning laws. The cities were a total mess. Industry and housing and retail sectors were all mixed together. I saw nasty chemical plants next to schools, next to gun shops, next to more housing, next to burned out housing. . . It was insane and stressful and totally unnecessary. --Yes, it made the ideologues happy because some high-minded theory about evolution or something was being adhered to, but the result were stupid cities which were uncomfortable and stressful to live in.

Humans have the ability to measure the effectiveness of systems and employ tactics to increase efficiency. --Yes, free market economies are a good base-line for allowing natural efficiencies to take hold, but so are implementing required standards, -for example, the the legally imposed engineering standards placed on boiler manufacture during the steam age when faulty or stupidly made engines exploded on a regular basis. --The free market may have in time have come around to building safe boilers all on its own, but things got a lot safer for the populace almost immediately when the public decided to make it illegal for companies to build lethal steam-bombs masquerading as engines.

Free market economics is one tool, and while it sometimes works, as with all tools, it also sometimes fails miserably. Why get upset when other tools are suggested? You can't solve every problem with a hammer. Sometimes a drill, or a screwdriver, or a piece of sandpaper are better fits for a problem. More often than not, all the tools used in concert in an intelligent manner turn out the best results.

I for one am glad that bridge designs need to meet certain critical standards before cars are allowed to cross and that we don't have to wait around for the stupid companies to be weeded out through economic failure due to their bridges collapsing some percentage of the time.

Of course, it is true that regulation through government bodies can and does also cause big problems, but those problems stem from stupidity and greed rather than an inherent flaw in the style of solution. Regulation can stifle creativity, but the Free Market model allows for unnecessary dangers to the population. Human Intelligence is the stuff we use to balance out the difference.


-FL

Re:Let the market decide (1)

cffrost (885375) | more than 8 years ago | (#15486205)

In this free market, wouldn't Yahoo and Match both advertise their 99.9% scammer filtering rates?

ISO constituent (4, Funny)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485475)

Wise, benevolent legislator seeks voter to guard and protect. Will keep you safe from all harm. My turnons are exotic travel, tax hikes and campaign contributions. LTR preferred.

Obligatory bash.org quote. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15485480)

Welcome to the Internet, where men are men, women are men, and 16 year old girls are FBI agents.

(Paraphrased)

Re:Obligatory bash.org quote. (1)

radinator (805064) | more than 8 years ago | (#15486139)

"Welcome to the Internet, where men are men, women are men, and 16 year old girls are FBI agents." ...and they're men!

Dating? (1, Funny)

Vladimus (583117) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485554)

What is this "dating" of which you speak?

My view as an international matchmaker (3, Informative)

asiansweetheart (977645) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485636)

Let me offer my view on this, the view of the owner of an international matchmaking site http://www.asiansweetheart.net/ [asiansweetheart.net] . I introduce Thai ladies to western men through my website. I have a small membership mostly because it is so much work to recruit good ladies. On the other hand, scammers are very active. In fact, one of the biggest scams in Thailand is the army of bar girls (that's what prostitutes are called here) that spend the afternoons sending love spam to all their previous customers after they return to the west after their vacations in the Land of Smiles. Those love spammers are often very organized, keeping careful notes on which guy they asked for how much money for whatever emergency (mother sick, motorcycle broken, buffalo died, etc., etc.). They also have plenty of profiles posted on the free dating sites. So although the profiles are not really fake, their sole purpose is scamming. And they are quite successful, receiving loads of cash each month from soft-hearted suckers in the west.

The problem here in Thailand is not that most Thai girls are bad. It is that most are so nice, and shy, and not very open about showing their photo on the internet, or too shy to actually make contact with a foreigner even if they really want to. The scammers are a small but aggressive and active fraction of the population. So the scammers end up being a large fraction of the Thai ladies meet-able online.

The typical westerner vacationing in Thailand cannot easily tell the difference from a nice local girl and a scammer. But I can spot them instantly as can every other Thai person.

But even without local knowledge the average foreigner can just use their head a little. When that sweet little thing you met online starts asking for money, or plane tickets, or other big ticket items then it is pretty obvious you are being scammed, isn't it? What's the point of yet more legislation?

Re:My view as an international matchmaker (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485707)

When that sweet little thing you met online starts asking for money, or plane tickets, or other big ticket items then it is pretty obvious you are being scammed, isn't it?

You're kidding, right?

Hell, people still fall for the 419 scams!

-jcr

Re:My view as an international matchmaker (3, Interesting)

Imsdal (930595) | more than 8 years ago | (#15486070)

In fact, one of the biggest scams in Thailand is the army of bar girls (that's what prostitutes are called here) that spend the afternoons sending love spam to all their previous customers after they return to the west after their vacations in the Land of Smiles.

How is a girl who asks for money becuase she wants money a "scam"? If that is what we all shuold be protected from, we are truly doomed...

man woman (0, Offtopic)

wjsroot (732775) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485665)

obligatory... man woman No manual entry for woman.

Photos (2, Funny)

IainMH (176964) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485766)

I want to see regulation against using photos that were clearly taken BEFORE YOU STARTED EATING LARD BETWEEN MEALS!

IMBRA was a MAJOR fuck-up (4, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485789)

As mentioned in the summary - the first attempt at legislation along these lines is being challenged in court because it was, well, absolutely idiotic and probably completely unconstitutional.

The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005 has the following requirements
on websites that bring American men and foreign women together:

  1. Gather mandatory background information and documents on the American client's past criminal history.
  2. Provide the man's background information to any woman who has correspondence with an American through their site.
  3. Check the National Sex Offender public registry and state public registry for each U.S client.
  4. Secure a signed, written consent from the lady before releasing her contact information to the American client interested in her.
  5. Provide her a brochure (created by our government) to explain her U.S. rights to her.


Some of those requirements are reasonable - but (1) and (2) are absolutely nuts. Simply chatting with, or even sending a simple note to, a woman means that a guy has to give out way more information than he would ever give out to a woman he just met in a bar or other similar 'dating' situation.

The background information includes things like details of part marriages, names and ages of any children, his current address and full name, etc. The kind of information that fraudsters and identity thieves would just love to get their hands on.

Furthermore, there is no recriprocation - the woman are under no obligation to provide any verifiable information at all to the men.

The law goes so far as to try to impose itself on all 'international' dating websites, even if the ownership is 100% non-American and are hosted outside of the US. The enforcement mechanism is to deny marriage visas to any woman who admits to meeting her American husband or husband-to-be through a website that has not officially adopted the rules and been certified by some sort of quasi-governmental certification authority.

Unfortunately, it really doesn't help all the honest Joes out there that most of the websites that discuss the IMBRA are laden with misogyny, using terms like "feminazi" that are really self-labels for the writers as probably not being fit to marry a woman - American or otherwise.

Re:IMBRA was a MAJOR fuck-up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15486232)

Unfortunately, it really doesn't help all the honest Joes out there that most of the websites that discuss the IMBRA are laden with misogyny, using terms like "feminazi" that are really self-labels for the writers as probably not being fit to marry a woman - American or otherwise.

While I've never used the term "feminazi," whenever I speak the word "feminist" the disgust in my voice would probably lead you to put me in the same category.

If we are talking about the same sites that I frequent on the subject, it is not "misogyny" at all, but actually far to little reaction to the rampant misandry (hatred of men) that is modern feminism. Just look at this act (IMBRA) as an example. It presumes -- presumes! that a person is either a criminal or sexual predator simply because that person is male and seeking a foreign spouse. No such check is ever done on the foreign spouse nor on (the admittedly few) US women seeking foreign husbands. Feminism, in it's foaming-mouthed hatred of anything remotely masculine finds all men by definition evil and all women by definition saints.

Any man who does not fight feminism, at every opportunity is helping to seal his own doom.

Any woman who does not fight feminism, at every opportunity is helping to seal the doom of her father, and as applicable, her brothers, present and future (if straight/bi) lovers and sons.

D'oh! (1)

Lord Aurora (969557) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485842)

Man, I couldn't see this coming at ALL. Let's see...non-moderated dating sites, rapists with internet access, and the fat girl down the street who lied about her age...the government FINALLY decides to regulate this?

They were pretty quick to regulate---

---wait---

---no, actually, the government has never been quick to regulate anything. Just point fingers.

marrying somebody you've never met (1)

Danathar (267989) | more than 8 years ago | (#15485985)

I've been on the internet dating sites before.

Anybody who decides to MARRY somebody they've never met before, ESPECIALLY if they are outside of driving distance is an idiot.

A "little" and I mean "little" common sense can go a LOOOOONG way. Most bogus profiles can be spotted a mile away. Also..anybody who is from Eastern Europe, Russia, is HOT and writes you an email that has non-specific information riddled through it can go in the trash. :)

Best of three (2, Insightful)

99luftballon (838486) | more than 8 years ago | (#15486009)

In my experience when internet dating potential partners have only two of the following three qualities: Attractive

Single

Mentally stable

Oh jebus. (1)

Jhou Shalnevarkno (980460) | more than 8 years ago | (#15486066)

Fraudsters will never die :( It's like the whole nation of Nigeria is a Scammers paradise, It's exuberantly GAY for us to tolerate such behavior, I think its high time the lawmakers did more than saying they'll do more! It's really becoming a bore to have to see everyone being fooled into fruitless business opportunities. Fraudsters really piss me off, I think its high time we actually did things ourselves regarding the matter. ---- There are two things I hate more than anything, and thats nigerian scammers and muzlims. ----

Everybody should go to jail then (1)

insanechemist (323218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15486224)

One piece of wisdom I learned from dating and running a couple sites is that men add an inch to their height, and women drop 20 lbs in online profiles. I never ran into any real scams, but I sure did meet some crazy people.
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