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345 comments

It's a good thing, then... (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323329)

...that MySpace isn't the government, and this woman is still "innocent", and is, in fact, not a sex offender, regardless of whether MySpace's own internal processes "identified" her as one.

It's amusing to me that the summary tosses around words like "wrongly brand", when MySpace hasn't "branded" - which implies a public, overt identification - anyone as anything. And even if the woman's friends ask why her profile is gone, it's not as if they're going to accidentally and arbitrarily believe she really is a sex offender.

Since the only mechanism via which MySpace can identify possible sex offenders registered on the site is comparison of items such as name, locale, DOB (for which many public lists, even of sex offenders, only use the month), etc., is this surprising? That someone with the same name, same birth month (which might have been all the matching information they had), and same location, which is pretty much all the information they have, could be seen as a match?

Is it further surprising that MySpace doesn't yet have a reasonable mechanism to deal with improper identifications as yet? Sure, maybe they should, but from their perspective, it's more important for them to respond to the requests to get people who are obviously sex offenders registered with their real information off the site. Since MySpace isn't a court or the government, the whole "better to let a hundred guilty men free than jail one innocent man" doesn't apply in the least. (Unless, of course, you think having MySpace removed from your life is a significant "punishment".)

No one has a right to a MySpace profile, MySpace isn't the government, and hasn't identified, much less "branded", the woman in any public fashion as a sex offender.

This of course ignores that sex offenders/pedophiles/etc. can clearly register under bogus names, addresses, and so on. On the other hand, is it a good idea to let registered sex offenders (arguments about an 18 year old with his 16 year old high school sweetheart getting tagged as a "registered sex offender" aside) who are registered with their real information remain on a site like MySpace? And just because "they can come back and register with false information," is that any reason to let persons who have registered with their real information stay? Sure, the mechanism for identifying such people may be imperfect, but again, repeat after me: MySpace is NOT the government, even if it was acting under pressure from various states/municipalities/etc.

But people do need to recognize that all a sex offender has to do is register with a false name and nothing more, and MySpace will not be able to identify them at all. However, MySpace can still say it has still done all it can reasonably do in response to the various demands to "remove" sex offenders from the site. MySpace's own business interests in this arena trump an exceedingly small number of individuals from possibly getting improperly flagged.

Re:It's a good thing, then... (4, Insightful)

purduephotog (218304) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323459)

This is very well written and I agree with every statement.

While I can't read the article, there should be a mechanism for her account to be re-instated- a 'white listing' that proves she has been validated. As was said, no one has a 'right' to a myspace profile. Those that say "Free Speech" mis understand the intended purpose- the Government can not Censor a Newspaper... not whether or not a company can let you post (baring discrimination based upon gender, race, orientation, ability, or intelligence).

I share the same name as a debtor, his calls come to my house. I have a 3" thick file on him. The government can do nothing to protect me, and there are no laws on the books to stop them from harassing me. Today's a good day- I can make light of it. Catch me on a bad day and I'll be in a foul mood for a week after one of their harassing phone calls.

In the end she'll work it out, I'm sure- if all else the press generated will pressure the company to reinstate the profile. Which is as the system should be.

Re:It's a good thing, then... (5, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323641)

"Those that say "Free Speech" mis understand the intended purpose- the Government can not Censor a Newspaper... not whether or not a company can let you post (baring discrimination based upon gender, race, orientation, ability, or intelligence).

I share the same name as a debtor, his calls come to my house. I have a 3" thick file on him. The government can do nothing to protect me, and there are no laws on the books to stop them from harassing me. Today's a good day- I can make light of it. Catch me on a bad day and I'll be in a foul mood for a week after one of their harassing phone calls.

In the end she'll work it out, I'm sure- if all else the press generated will pressure the company to reinstate the profile. Which is as the system should be."

The thing I would wonder about...what all other 'databases' are now being filled with information from MySpace? I'd bet you 10 to nothing this lady now turns up as a sex offender on other systems....other systems that may NOT get their data corrected.

Isn't that nice? It would be a shame for this inacurate information to catch up to her in the future, denying her a job, a clearance, a loan...raise her insurance rates...all those nice things that bad data can do to you these days.

I guarantee you ...the info pulled off MySpace indentifying predators...it also being distributed to at least a few police, state and fed systems. Of course you have nothing to fear if you are innocent? Try telling that to her in the future..when she gets mis-identified again due to data from this data pull....hell, she might not even know she's been turned down for something due to this...no one says they have to tell you why.

Re:It's a good thing, then... (4, Interesting)

rblancarte (213492) | more than 7 years ago | (#19324293)

Again, read the GP post. This woman was identified/branded/labeled as nothing.

The fact is, they did a very lousy job of cross referencing their sex offender DB and got a bad match. The fact is that a real search would actually result in a true positive.

NOW, what this does demonstrate is the lack of effort being put forth by MySpace in their "efforts" to identify sex offenders. This false positive really demonstrates that they are not doing a lot to really validate their lists. Along with the point of the GGP post where they state it is a simple matter for a registered sex offender to use false information on their MySpace registration.

RonB

Re:It's a good thing, then... (2, Insightful)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323765)

Actually, I believe there are laws about creditors harassing people, you should only have to notify them, and provide proof that you are not the individual they are looking for, if they continue, you can take legal action against them. Is it worth the money, probably not as the lawyer fees will probably be sky high...

As for the article, although the user wants her myspace account back, I believe the bigger picture is that myspace is going to share the database of sex offenders (or those they atleast thing are, whether or not they are correct) with the state attorneys general. This, in the long run, could come back and cause serious problems for an individual who is in fact not a sex offender, and never was.

Re:It's a good thing, then... (1)

ptbarnett (159784) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323887)

Actually, I believe there are laws about creditors harassing people, you should only have to notify them, and provide proof that you are not the individual they are looking for, if they continue, you can take legal action against them.

The GP didn't say explicitly, but the problem is that the laws protecting delinquent debtors from harassment by creditors only protects the delinquent debtor. They don't address the situation in which someone is mistaken as the delinquent debtor.

However, most states have laws against harassment. Depending on the wording of the law relevant to your situation, a simple statement about the mistake and a demand to cease further communication about the matter should be sufficient.

Re:It's a good thing, then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19324169)

I'm having a hard time understanding why the federal, state, or local governments would choose to use a list of profiles pulled off of MySpace as their official sex offender database. MySpace is getting their information from a government database, and it seems logical that the government, and any other agency concerned, would continue to use this pre-existing list. Any deviations provided by MySpace's list would be, by definition, incorrect.

I think the point you're trying to make is that if MySpace made the mistake, it's possible that someone else will too. In that case, MySpace is not the one you should be complaining about. Send a letter to your State Representative asking them to require more specific identification of Sex Offenders to prevent this from happening in the future.

Re:It's a good thing, then... (2, Informative)

ptbarnett (159784) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323771)

I share the same name as a debtor, his calls come to my house. I have a 3" thick file on him. The government can do nothing to protect me, and there are no laws on the books to stop them from harassing me.

Yes, there is. You just have to dig a little deeper.

I had a similar problem: my name was the same as a guy that was married to a delinquent debtor, and I would get calls from collection agencies trying to find her. When I made the mistake of talking to one of them to try to correct their error, they copped an attitude and it went downhill from there.

If you ask, they must identify themselves and provide a snail-mail address. I wrote a letter reiterating that I was not the person they wanted or related in any way to her. I cited the relevant penal code in my state and their state, and stated flatly that any further attempts to contact me would be considered harassment and I would file charges with the appropriate law enforcement agency.

I sent the letter registered, return-receipt requested, and I sent copies to the Attorney General in both states.

I never heard from them again.

Re:It's a good thing, then... (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 7 years ago | (#19324107)

Those that say "Free Speech" mis understand the intended purpose- the Government can not Censor a Newspaper

This is, itself, a classic misunderstanding. Free speech is a natural right; the Constitution only prevents the government from infringing on it*, true enough, but this does not mean that when any other body prevents you from speaking, they are not infringing on your rights. Corporate censorship is still censorship. You just don't have as much legal recourse.

*Theoretically. In practice, of course, the government infringes on freedom of speech all the time, and we put up with it.

Re:It's a good thing, then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19323481)

It has come to Slashdot's attention that you are a registered spammer in one or more jurisdictions. Slashdot is committed to removing registered spammers from its site, and will take all necessary means to block or remove anyone it determines to pose a threat to its users. Your profile is scheduled to deleted within the next hourly database sync.

Re:It's a good thing, then... (5, Informative)

Chr0me (180627) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323607)

Since the only mechanism via which MySpace can identify possible sex offenders registered on the site is comparison of items such as name, locale, DOB (for which many public lists, even of sex offenders, only use the month), etc., is this surprising? That someone with the same name, same birth month (which might have been all the matching information they had), and same location, which is pretty much all the information they have, could be seen as a match?
Considering that there are probably a lot of people named "John Smith" born in June a name and month match would be highly likely. You glossed over the fact the the DOBs for these two women were two years apart. And a human decided that a 22 - 26 month difference was "close enough."

You also ignore that the register sex offender was registered in Utah and that the woman whose page was taken down lived in Colorado and Florida previously, but not in Utah. so your same place argument falls too.

Did you RTFA before spouting off? Oh wait /., I forgot where i was.

Re:It's a good thing, then... (0, Flamebait)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323789)

Did you RTFA before spouting off? Oh wait /., I forgot where i was.

Yes, I did.

The matching system is imperfect, no matter the level automation or humans are involved.

Colorado was viewed as close enough to Utah.

The responsibility of the firm was to make a best guess about whether a person could be a match.

Someone erred.

Doesn't change anything I said in my post.

Did you think about the situation a bit before spouting off? Oh wait /., I forgot where i was.

Re:It's a good thing, then... (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323629)

Since the only mechanism via which MySpace can identify possible sex offenders registered on the site is comparison of items such as name, locale, DOB (for which many public lists, even of sex offenders, only use the month), etc., is this surprising?


Actually, since all humans are "possible sex offenders", MySpace should simply not let anyone use there service if they want to avoid "possible sex offenders".

What MySpace can identify with the information you describe is "People who provide information similar to that found on existing lists of registered sex offenders". But they've apparently decided not to use exact matches, and to expand it beyond that (allowing different locales and different-but-similar birthdates with the same name to "match"). Since that is clearly an imperfect method designed to scare up lots of false positives, MySpace ought to provide an extra examination of flagged identities (like airlines do for people who are tagged by the similarly overbroad near-miss matching used for the no-fly watch list).

While requiring verifiable identification for all users (the only way, BTW, to actually avoid the "lying sex offender" problem producing false negatives) may be more burden than MySpace can bear, allowing flagged users to provide verifiable ID to establish that they are not the person they are near-match for on the initial screening criteria should not be,

Re:It's a good thing, then... (5, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323631)

It's amusing to me that the summary tosses around words like "wrongly brand", when MySpace hasn't "branded" - which implies a public, overt identification - anyone as anything. And even if the woman's friends ask why her profile is gone, it's not as if they're going to accidentally and arbitrarily believe she really is a sex offender.

Actually, this is not quite as innocuous as you seem to imply. If a myspace profile is suddenly gone and people know MySpace is removing known sex offenders, it is entirely possible they will assume she is a sex offender, especially if they search for her name and find info that seems to imply that. Worse, they may well make comments to that affect on their own pages, seeding Google with further slander. People tend to believe authorities and in this case, they may well assume MySpace has better resources to identify sex offenders than they do.

Just this morning I was talking to someone whose co-worker has a hard time getting jobs because if you do a Google search for his name, the first things that come up are articles about him being accused of being a rapist. Even though he was exonerated and some of the articles do mention that at the bottom in small text, it has still had significant negative impacts on his life.

No one has a right to a MySpace profile, MySpace isn't the government, and hasn't identified, much less "branded", the woman in any public fashion as a sex offender.

True, but the fact that they are falsely identifying people is very good information to know. The fact that they don't have a good policy for fixing their mistakes is good to know. It gives users one more reason to move on to a more responsible site before they've invested more effort into that social network.

MySpace is clearly acting to deceive the public. They're intentionally taking actions they know will be ineffective at solving the problem in an attempt to trick users into thinking they have made real progress. At the same time they're misidentifying innocent people and not properly dealing with that problem. Basically they are being a big evil business. If being purchased by Fox news was not enough reason, this is just one more reason to distrust and avoid MySpace and that is news everyone should be hearing so they can decide for themselves.

Re:It's a good thing, then... (4, Insightful)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 7 years ago | (#19324165)

Just a clarification...If spoken, it's slander. If printed, it's libel. Also, a key component of libel is that it is published, not merely privately disclosed. If only the user got the notification as to why her page was removed, there is no case for libel. If they placed a warning on her former page that said "this user's page was removed because s/he was a registered sex offender", then the case would be clear.

At the same time, however (and if memory serves correctly), libel cases have been rare in recent years and have not had great success at trial.

Re:It's a good thing, then... (1)

sehlat (180760) | more than 7 years ago | (#19324205)

MySpace is clearly acting to deceive the public. They're intentionally taking actions they know will be ineffective at solving the problem in an attempt to trick users into thinking they have made real progress.
And how does this differ from security theater or any other politically-motivated "display behavior"?

Re:It's a good thing, then... (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 7 years ago | (#19324319)

"If a myspace profile is suddenly gone and people know MySpace is removing known sex offenders, it is entirely possible they will assume she is a sex offender"

There are plenty of reasons why MySpace will remove a porfile. It's not MySpace's fault if people makes incorrect presumptions as to why a particular profile was deleted. But let's suppose MySpace IS in fact in the wrong here...

"Just this morning I was talking to someone whose co-worker has a hard time getting jobs because if you do a Google search for his name, the first things that come up are articles about him being accused of being a rapist."

Does that mean that Google is in the wrong as well? Should they pre-emptively strike content that may prove damaging to someone down the road?

"If being purchased by Fox news was not enough reason..."

Ahh, now we know the angle you're taking on this. Not that News Corp. (let alone their subsidiary Fox News) has anything to do with this, but I suppose nothing fetches karma like bashing Slashdot's favorite pariahs.

Re:It's a good thing, then... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323733)

"it's not as if they're going to accidentally and arbitrarily believe she really is a sex offender."
What about future employers that do a back ground check? now that MySpace has reported her to the authorities she will not get passed a background check.

"Since the only mechanism via which MySpace can identify possible sex offenders registered on the site is comparison of items such as name, locale, DOB (for which many public lists, even of sex offenders, only use the month), etc., is this surprising?"

No, and it's why it needs to stop. I'm not just talking MySpace here.

"Is it further surprising that MySpace doesn't yet have a reasonable mechanism to deal with improper identifications as yet?"
no, not surprising, but wrong. Just as wrong as false hits on any terrorist list needs a way for removal....wait, that never works. Maybe someone needs to be..oh I don't know..tried before a judge and their peers before being branded guilty of a crime? I just thinking off the wall here...

"No one has a right to a MySpace profile, MySpace isn't the government, and hasn't identified, much less "branded", the woman in any public fashion as a sex offender."

Yes, she has been branded. To every government agency that looks at her back ground. English major. Probably looking at a teaching career. Well, she can kiss that good bye.

"Sure, the mechanism for identifying such people may be imperfect, "
No it is not imperfect, it is completely wrong and useless.

"MySpace is NOT the government, even if it was acting under pressure from various states/municipalities/etc."

If they do what ever the government wants, then for all intents and purposes they are the government. Yes, MySpace doesn't have to give anyone access to their 'portal' or whatever the hell they call it; but when they use there information in an improper way, they are liable.

The fact that government agency, with no authority to do so, 'pressured' myspace is no excuse. No more then some saying "I had orders to do it" relieve responsibility for war crimes.

"MySpace's own business interests in this arena trump an exceedingly small number of individuals from possibly getting improperly flagged."
No, it doesn't. The fact that you want to make money does not mean you can go around making false statements about people without repercussions. No matter WHO told them to do so.

With more of these black lists, the more people who will be falsly labels a criminal.

This total circumnavigates the criminal system, in that people are being punished for crimes they haven't been tried for. Remember, this goes beyond myspace.

Re:It's a good thing, then... (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323975)

What about future employers that do a back ground check? now that MySpace has reported her to the authorities she will not get passed a background check.

Wrong. She's not a sex offender, and not even suspected of being one, by any governmental entity at any level. So yeah, she'll get past every background check just fine. And, frankly, probably easier due to NOT having a MySpace profile...

no, not surprising, but wrong. Just as wrong as false hits on any terrorist list needs a way for removal....wait, that never works. Maybe someone needs to be..oh I don't know..tried before a judge and their peers before being branded guilty of a crime? I just thinking off the wall here...

Uh, she hasn't been branded guilty of anything by anyone that has such power. Sorry.

No court, governmental entity or agency, police agency, or anything else related to government thinks she is guilty of anything, either officially or unofficially.

Yes, she has been branded. To every government agency that looks at her back ground. English major. Probably looking at a teaching career. Well, she can kiss that good bye.

No, she has not. You are 100% incorrect. She is NOT a sex offender. That was true then, and is true now. It does not matter that the firm that MySpace contracted to identify sex offenders mistakenly identified her as one and deleted her MySpace profile.

Just where do you think this "background check" is going to come from? NO database, ANYWHERE, lists *her* a sex offender. She will show on no background checks, for any reason, for any circumstances, as a sex offender. Get it?

And if a potential employer uses means similar to MySpace - which is UNRELATED to what MySpace has done here, mind you - to check into her background, and they get a "hit" because of similar name, etc., it's extremely easy to verify she is not that person. This is extremely common, and happens hundreds of times a day in all types of background checks, due diligence checks for mortgages, and so on. The difference here is that MySpace has no real interest in whether or not a single individual gets a profile ever again, on balance with its "commitment" to remove sex offenders.

But to be clear, MySpace has not "branded" her has ANYTHING. NO background check will see her as a sex offender because of what MySpace has done. Do you understand that? (It seems not.)

No, it doesn't. The fact that you want to make money does not mean you can go around making false statements about people without repercussions. No matter WHO told them to do so.

They didn't make "false statements" to anyone except her.

With more of these black lists, the more people who will be falsly labels a criminal.

By someone who isn't the government and doesn't report that information to anyone but itself?

*Yawn.*

This total circumnavigates the criminal system, in that people are being punished for crimes they haven't been tried for. Remember, this goes beyond myspace.

No, it doesn't. It stops at MySpace. This doesn't "label" her as anything, to anyone, and doesn't punish her for any crime. And on top of all of that, the only reason any of this is public at all is because she wanted it to be. And still, she is not listed in any database (except MySpace, based on a loose name/DOB/location match) as any kind of sex offender, and no one considers HER to be one, outside of MySpace itself, which only does because she coincidentally is "close enough" in personal information to someone else. But do you understand that MySpace can't "label" someone as anything? The only thing they can do is the exact opposite: take people who already are legitimately labeled by the justice system as a sex offender and attempt to match with people in their system. That's it. It's not as if anyone who they misidentify gets labeled as a sex offender.

Re:It's a good thing, then... (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19324251)

"it's not as if they're going to accidentally and arbitrarily believe she really is a sex offender."
What about future employers that do a back ground check? now that MySpace has reported her to the authorities she will not get passed a background check.
Great post. It would be a lot clearer though if you used "quote" tags though. Just to keep this comment on topic: MySpace, or any other entity should use due diligence before shutting anybody down as a sex offender. That is one of those NASTY things that will haunt people, even if it's not true. Take the NAME OMITTED/gerbil rumor for example. I don't know if it's true or not--I tend to think it's false, which is why I don't want to put the person's name down here, though I'm sure somebody will be able to name the celebrity in a second. In fact, if you Google "gerbil," it's one of the first things that comes up. That just goes to show how such things never go away.

Re:It's a good thing, then... (4, Funny)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 7 years ago | (#19324309)

Maybe someone needs to be..oh I don't know..tried before a judge and their peers before being branded guilty of a crime? I just thinking off the wall here...
That thar sounds like terrorist talk to me! Why do you hate America so much?

It's not the government, but.... (1)

coyote-san (38515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323783)

You're right, nobody has a right to a MySpace account and it's not provided or vetted by the government.

But.

There's an alarming trend in this country to "outsource" legitimate government functions and then deny lawful access under the color of claiming "it's just a private company". Courts will often rule against them -- if it's done on behalf of the government then it's subject to the same restrictions as if it were done by the government itself -- but that takes time and money to pursue. And it's definitely not a given -- it's clear that some government agencies are collecting massive dossiers on law-abiding citizens via private company data aggregators specifically because they can't do it themselves.

So nobody has a right to a myspace account. But what about companies doing outsourced government work? What about companies that have become critical parts of the public space, e.g., google. I find it hard to say that a private company will always be clear of any legitimate oversight guaranteeing due process.

P.S., I don't know the specifics in this case, but MySpace must still respect laws such as slander and libel. Ideally they will handle these issues quietly, but it's not hard to imagine some ill-informed do-gooder trying to contact all of a person's 'friends' and letting them know that the person 'is' a sexual offender. IMHO that definitely crosses the line even if the person isn't identified by name on their page. (You probably still have pictures, area of residence, etc.)

Re:It's a good thing, then... (1)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323791)

I thought that MySpace was telling governmental authorities about sex offenders signing up with their service--because of all the people under 17 signed up. If so, this could lead to "branding" of sex offenders. If there were no false positives, it would just reinforce the branding that was already there, but a false positive like this would put a new, wrong brand on.

Re:It's a good thing, then... (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323819)

> It's amusing to me that the summary tosses around words like "wrongly brand", when MySpace hasn't "branded" - which implies a public, overt identification - anyone as anything. And even if the woman's friends ask why her profile is gone, it's not as if they're going to accidentally and arbitrarily believe she really is a sex offender.

Your optimism that "wrongly branded" individuals such as this woman will not be publicly harmed from this is touching. While her own efforts to clear her name have lead to her public identification in a relatively positive light, others who just shrug it off may find it coming back to haunt them later. Her friends may not believe she is a sex offender, but potential future employers may not be so charitable. I have zero confidence that lists such as this will not enter the public domain.

Re:It's a good thing, then... (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#19324271)

Her friends may not believe she is a sex offender, but potential future employers may not be so charitable. I have zero confidence that lists such as this will not enter the public domain.

Sex offender registries are governmentally maintained and public. You either are a sex offender, or you aren't. What MySpace's loose internal processes think are irrelevant. I'm not sure what kinds of databases people think this might get into (because it's certainly NOT sex offender registries, as you have to, well, actually be a sex offender to be on one), but no employer is going to find out that she might be a sex offender. She isn't going to have a criminal record, nothing (about her, specifically) will be in any sex offender databases, and she is provably not a sex offender from any meaningful employment or statutory viewpoint.

I'm not even defending MySpace here, because I think what they are doing is 1.) ineffective, 2.) easily circumvented by people who use even small amounts of bogus information, and 3.) a bad idea because they're voluntarily taking on enforcement responsibility for what should essentially be a common carrier.

But MySpace has not branded anyone anything, even if the fact that her account was removed was provided to various states' attorneys general. That still doesn't make her a sex offender. Even if, in this particular case, employers run across the current stories by Googling, etc., they'll hopefully understand in about two seconds that they are stories about how this woman was improperly flagged by MySpace as a sex offender. And even if you say, "Yeah, but some people might prefer someone who shows up in no searches as opposed to a flurry of stories about being wrongly labeled a sex offender, so there is still that stigma," I'd respond that, 1.) I wouldn't want to work for a place like that, 2.) she was the one who chose to air this publicly, and 3.) to me, this speaks more clearly about being involved in shit like MySpace, including giving hordes of your real, personal information to it.

Just wait... (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323877)

Sooner or later you'll have to prove your innocence after some social networking site identified you as sex offender or terrorist. After all, they have all the social networking data, so they should know...

Re:It's a good thing, then... (1)

deacon (40533) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323901)

"It's amusing to me that the summary tosses around words like "wrongly brand", when MySpace hasn't "branded" - which implies a public, overt identification - anyone as anything."

What is more amusing is that you have not bothered to read TFA, which says:

"But what if MySpace falsely labeled you as sex offender, had your profile and your page taken down, had your name and information included in the database of sex offenders, and which was distributed to several Attorney Generals? I hope what happened to Jessica Davis will never happen to you."

That's the problem with Witch Hunts: You end up burning the wrong people.

Re:It's a good thing, then... (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#19324087)

What is more amusing is that you have not bothered to read TFA, which says:

No, I did read it, thanks.

"But what if MySpace falsely labeled you as sex offender, had your profile and your page taken down, had your name and information included in the database of sex offenders, and which was distributed to several Attorney Generals? I hope what happened to Jessica Davis will never happen to you."

That's the problem with Witch Hunts: You end up burning the wrong people.


Except that she is provably not a sex offender, and MySpace factually saying that she is one of the people they removed doesn't make her one in any jurisdiction or under any condition. It doesn't add her to any sex offender registries, doesn't add her to any databases, won't change what happens on any background check, and doesn't harm her in any way, other than currently being in a state where the matching system MySpace is currently using flags her, incorrectly, as a sex offender, based on their loose matching.

I'm not saying what MySpace is doing is even ultimately useful, which hopefully you can glean from my original post. But the people who think this somehow "labels" her as a sex offender to ANYONE except MySpace's own current internal process are completely incorrect. And yes, I can imagine scenarios as other people noted where a do-gooder - even if they're not supposed to - might "inform" all of a person's MySpace friends that the person is a "sex offender", irreparably harming that person, even though they're really not a sex offender. I'm sure we can come up with all sorts of other possibilities that haven't occurred, yet, either. The point is that MySpace disabling a profile under whatever mechanism they are using does not magically make or label the person as a sex offender, even if their names are provided as persons whose access was terminated to states' attorneys general.

Re:It's a good thing, then... (-1, Flamebait)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323939)

Ahhh yes... Sex offenders.. the new Jews... And soon they will have to have a symbol, clearly visible on their clothes, that shows they are a sex offender. Somehow the picture of a yellow David star springs to mind...

Re:It's a good thing, then... (1)

mjboyle (1081145) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323969)

Yes, but everyone does have the right to due process and companies that find themselves in the position of being gateways to major life activities can find themselves in a sort of semi-govermental capacity where this is concerned especially because I'm sure they claim some sort of contract with their users. So MySpace might be open to complaints if they are seen as being arbitrary and unresponsive. However the bigger concern is to learn the right lessons from this. The private sector is very good at compiling and sharing information about consumers. Someone could very well think that it would be a really good idea to implement this more broadly and create a sort of credit check for sex offender status. You might not have a fundamental right to a MySpace page but what about if it isn't just a MySpace page. What if it is renting an apartment, buying a house, buying a car, getting a credit card, getting internet service at all, etc, etc, etc. I mean who wouldn't want to sign on to a "no tolerance policy on sex offenders?" I'm not saying this is happening, just that it is a really good reminder why it would be a very bad idea.

Re:It's a good thing, then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19323995)

Ok, so they check peoples my space details against the sex offenders register.... hang on aren't the real sex offenders impersonating children, so are unlikely to put there real name and DOB in there?

Re:It's a good thing, then... (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 7 years ago | (#19324009)

Just to play devil's advocate: Unless we run a background check on the one who claims to be innocent, who can you be sure she is not a sex offender?

I'm not supporting MySpace's actions (either the handing-over of records, or the false positives that are bound to happen), but unless we are dealing with a registration/authentication process that requires a criminal background check, anyone can claim innocence.

Re:It's a good thing, then... (2, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 7 years ago | (#19324017)

MySpace isn't the government, and this woman is still "innocent", and is, in fact, not a sex offender, regardless of whether MySpace's own internal processes "identified" her as one.

As TFA points out, MySpace provides list of users whose accounts it deletes for such reasons to law enforcement. It's very unlikely that the Colorado AG's office had Ms. Davis listed as a sex offender since the offenses were committed by a different person in other states; now, quite possibly now it does.

Since the only mechanism via which MySpace can identify possible sex offenders registered on the site is comparison of items such as name, locale, DOB (for which many public lists, even of sex offenders, only use the month), etc., is this surprising? That someone with the same name, same birth month (which might have been all the matching information they had), and same location, which is pretty much all the information they have, could be seen as a match?

Her name is Jessica Davis, for God's sake. There are probably at least two people with that name in the US who share a birthday for every single day of the year! If she had a (much) rarer name I could see why this happened; and I can see why an automated records check might have turned up her name as someone to look at, but presumably a human being had to make this decision, and any human being with an ounce of sense would have realized that name and birth month is not nearly enough for a match in this case.

(arguments about an 18 year old with his 16 year old high school sweetheart getting tagged as a "registered sex offender" aside)

"Arguments about the three thousand dead people aside, September 11th 2001 was a really nice day!"

Sure, the mechanism for identifying such people may be imperfect, but again, repeat after me: MySpace is NOT the government, even if it was acting under pressure from various states/municipalities/etc.

When MySpace starts acting like the government, and in cooperation with the government, it's no longer just filling the role of a private corporation. If you're not a cop, you probably don't spend a whole lot of time thinking about things like probable cause and Miranda warnings -- but if you go around gossiping about how you think one of your neighbors is a child molester because he has the same name as somebody you read about in the papers, you're still going to be liable when events run their course and the false arrest suit is filed.

Re:It's a good thing, then... (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#19324129)

As TFA points out, MySpace provides list of users whose accounts it deletes for such reasons to law enforcement. It's very unlikely that the Colorado AG's office had Ms. Davis listed as a sex offender since the offenses were committed by a different person in other states; now, quite possibly now it does.

No. She is provably not a sex offender. Period.

She cannot be added to governmentally-maintained sex offender registries when she is not a sex offender.

Re:It's a good thing, then... (1)

Aserrann (1029174) | more than 7 years ago | (#19324153)

And just because "they can come back and register with false information," is that any reason to let persons who have registered with their real information stay?

Actually, I would think that is a very good reason to let them stay. I'd rather have them there under their real name than a fake one. This is ignoring my opinion on the sex offender list in general.

Re:It's a good thing, then... (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19324217)

No, this woman is infact being branded. She's being associated with some very heinous criminal activity solely based on identity matching technology which is KNOWN to be crap. This is slander and this slander is being passed onto law enforcement where official harrassment by the state is likely to ensue.

These sorts of associations are nothing to trifle with.

Meh! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19323333)

MySpace is so 2004.

I am unsurprised (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323343)

Big company comes up with big brother type plan. Said plan is flawed and screws their customer. Company doesn't care. I am unsurprised. The only surprising part is that the government wasn't involved somehow.

Re:I am unsurprised (4, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323413)

Well, the only reason MySpace finally did this was because of pressure from various states' attorneys general, etc., making such demands:

http://news.google.com/news?q=myspace+sex+offender s [google.com]

More info:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MySpace#Child_safety [wikipedia.org]

Re:I am unsurprised - MS is Free! (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323557)

Said plan is flawed and screws their customer.

A customer can leave and take their business somewhere else when dissatisfied. MySpace is free (as in beer). So how can you refer to any MySpace user as a "customer"?

Re:I am unsurprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19324045)

Said plan is flawed and screws their customer

The end-users are NOT the customers. They are the product.

The promotional firms are the customers.

She's an English major... (1)

untaken_name (660789) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323349)

...and she doesn't know how to spell 'myself' or construct a proper sentence? Yep, par for the course. Money well spent.

Re:She's an English major... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19323781)

...and she doesn't know how to spell 'myself' or construct a proper sentence? Yep, par for the course. Money well spent.

It has been my experience that those with a degree (outside of tech fields) do not recall much about their chosen path. Most just pick something in order to have that paper and figure it is enough, and in many cases (sadly) it is.

Tech fields generally require an example of your knowledge. A lower percentage of tech field grads know little of their chosen path.

Tech here not meaning computers only. e.g. engineering.

Re:She's an English major... (1)

untaken_name (660789) | more than 7 years ago | (#19324253)

Well, TFA referred to her as a 'college senior' at one point and 'an English major' at another. I would HOPE (but not expect) that a currently matriculating English major would be able to spell 'myself'. I don't think it would be too much to ask that she understand basic sentence structure as well. Apparently my views aren't shared by the faculty of her college. Then again, I suppose the article never said she was passing her classes...an obvious loophole I hadn't thought of.

that bitch deserved it for using myspace (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19323371)

Myspace is fucking lame. The sooner everybody realizes it the better off we will all be.

Heheh (1)

grub (11606) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323381)


It's hard to cry "I'm innocent" when Chris Hansen tells you to 'have a seat right over there.'

Are you surprised? (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323393)

Are you surprised? I for one can say that I'm not at all surprised. Stuff like this is bound to happen. It's the reason why MySpace should take a stance that their site is an open forum, and they do not control what goes on there. Otherwise, if Myspace starts saying they are sex-offender-free, and then some still slip by, they are in for a huge lawsuit.

IANAL (4, Interesting)

ukpyr (53793) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323419)

but isn't that pretty clear slander?

It would be nice to be able to read the article : )

As someone said in another post, myspace is SOOO 2004 so the whole thing is, if not boring, inane.

Re:IANAL (2, Informative)

Nimey (114278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323507)

Libel. Slander is spoken, libel is written.

Re:IANAL (1)

XaXXon (202882) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323525)

I don't know if there's been any slander, but it's definitely libel. It's 'written' in a database somewhere and in the email she received.

Re:IANAL (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323777)

I'm guessing YANAL, either. IANAL, but I'm pretty sure to commit libel, you have to actually tell it to someone OTHER than the person involved.

http://www.medialaw.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Pub lic_Resources/Libel_FAQs/Libel_FAQs.htm [medialaw.org]
"Libel and slander are legal claims for false statements of fact about a person that are printed, broadcast, spoken or otherwise communicated to others."
"The statement(s) alleged to be defamatory must also have been published to at least one other person (other than the subject of the statement) and must be "of and concerning" the plaintiff."

Re:IANAL (1)

XaXXon (202882) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323817)

The company that runs the database 'told' myspace this lady was a sex offender via a 'written' document. It was acted upon showing a belief in the 'document'.

I put all the words in quotes because I believe this to be libel and not slander, even though the 'written-ness' of the falsehood is questionable.

Re:IANAL (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323739)

How is this slander/libel? Did MySpace release this woman's credentials to a public outlet of some sort, identifying her as a sex offender?

If not, then no slander or libel.

Re:IANAL (1)

srobert (4099) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323785)

Kaching! Get me Alan Shore.

Re:IANAL (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 7 years ago | (#19324013)

You sure aren't a lawyer. It's libel.

Ob Spiderman (1)

Hillgiant (916436) | more than 7 years ago | (#19324155)

PP: You can't say that! It's slander! JJJ: It is NOT! ... pause ... JJJ: It's libel. Slander is spoken.

Re:IANAL (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 7 years ago | (#19324159)

If the woman wanted to truly make a mockery of MySpace, she could certainly file a libel suit. For her to have been identified, more than one person was probably involved in the process of running the comparison report. Multiple people now think she is a sex offender, and it is documented.

Sue, baby, sue! Bring 'em to their knees!

who enters their real birthday? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19323427)

Do people seriously post real information publically online anywhere?

Many times that's the only security question I get from various customer service.

Same name ... and kinda the same birthday ... (3, Insightful)

Hektor_Troy (262592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323429)

Sentinel CEO John Cardillo told ABC News that the system functioned properly, because an actual sex offender existed with the same name, and a date of birth two years and two days apart from Davis.
I wonder how many Johbn Cardillo's exist in the sex offender databases. And I wonder how many kinda sorta have a similar birthday?

"As designed" != "Properly" (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323467)

Clearly, here, the system correctly implemented its design.

The problem is that the design is fundamentally flawed.

Re:Same name ... and kinda the same birthday ... (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323511)

Damn. It would be pretty depressing if, for ANY given name, there is a sex offender somewhere with that name.

Anyway, I find the whole idea of registering sex offenders to be ridiculous -- as if their crime is somehow worse than ANY other crime. It's despicable, but murder is worse, and we don't have "murderer registries."

recidivism. (1, Informative)

Rasputin (5106) | more than 7 years ago | (#19324023)

The registries exist because sex-offenders are much more likely to re-offend. While there are habitual murders, they're much more rare.

Re:Same name ... and kinda the same birthday ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19323921)

I wonder how many Johbn Cardillo's exist in the sex offender databases. And I wonder how many kinda sorta have a similar birthday?

Zabasearch shows hundreds of listings for "John Cardillo". The odds are pretty good.

Re:Same name ... and kinda the same birthday ... (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 7 years ago | (#19324323)

I wonder how many Johbn Cardillo's exist in the sex offender databases.

Zero.

Which just shows how silly the whole thing is.

-

Sex offender (1)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323433)

You would think that the Sex offenders would nput incorrect information as far as age and location goes. So how can they track them down when the information is false?

Standard response to concern about privacy issues (5, Insightful)

LineGrunt (133002) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323441)

"If you haven't done anything wrong, what do you have to worry about?"

Re:Standard response to concern about privacy issu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19323993)

>"If you haven't done anything wrong, what do you have to worry about?"

I know you're being sarcastic, but that's exactly the point: even if I am a law-abiding, ordinary citizen, I *do* have to worry about being falsely accused. That's one of the most important reasons that due process exists -- to protect the innocent. And that means the accused, no matter how serious the (supposed) crime, because mistakes do happen.

I don't want my travel to be mysteriously hindered because I might happen to have the same name as some well-known terrorist on a "no-fly" list. I don't want to have my home invaded by a police SWAT team late at night because they mistakenly traced some spoofed internet traffic to my house, or because my fingerprint looks close enough to one found on bomb-making materials that somebody mixes it up. And I sure as heck don't want to be mistakenly labelled a pedophile, even if only tentatively or as a "person of interest", because some company trying to do the "right thing" did something as stupid as assuming a name / date of birth match == same person.

False positives are one of the many reasons innocent people should be fearful of how much power is handed to law enforcement and government, because even a false accusation can do much harm. Worst case, if they try to arrest you, what if they shoot you on sight because they mistakenly think you are holding a gun? I know law enforcement tries to be careful, and real criminals are a constant risk, but caution also requires that the accused be treated as innocent until proven guilty, just like the law says, because people really might be innocent.

On the scale of things, being barred from a MySpace account doesn't rate very high, of course, but serious examples of innocent people getting swept up in dragnets do exist, such as a guy from Oregon who was accused of being involved with the Madrid train bombings [theregister.co.uk] because the FBI mistakenly identified his fingerprint at the scene. He got an apology -- only after spending 17 days in jail.

Look (1)

Richard McBeef (1092673) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323471)

That dumbass should have never used real information on a web site. When the hell are people going to learn this? It should be all the more self-evident to people with common names like "Jessica Davis".

Re:Look (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323531)

The record seems to have dropped off the web (or at least google's index thereof) but there is or was someone on the offenders list in my hometown that shares my name. He's a little mexican dude, whereas I'm a gigantic quarter-mexican dude, but anyway. At least my birth town isn't on my profile :P

Responsibility (1)

Normal Dan (1053064) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323485)

I am O.K. with myspace doing this, it is their right. But it is NOT their responsibility. What irks me is they were pressured into doing this through lawsuits. That is wrong. They are not forcing kids to get myspace or talk to sex offenders. Parents should be responsible for what children do online. Granted parents cannot watch every moment, but they can warn their kids about sexual offenders and how to avoid them. etc.

The Question is... (3, Interesting)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323501)

This real question is: Do you have a right to use MySpace? Are they required to give you access if not violating, or even in spite of, any anti-discrimination or other laws?

MySpace is not a public monopoly who is required to serve everybody equally in return for that monopoly status. Some people think that a Driver's License is their Constitutional right. It isn't. And while it hurts MySpace to deny users when they want to control this entire space themselves, how much federal law can apply to a private venture trying to make a profit? At what point are you pwned by said federal government?

Re:The Question is... (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323689)

She was not complainging about being told no she can't use My Space.

She was quite clear that she was concerned about them telling other people she was a sex offender, as they had already told her she was one.

Such an event, if it happened, is a crime, called SLANDER.

Such an event is in fact what certain states are attempting to do (i.e. get MySpace to report 'sex offenders to them)

So you entirely missed the "real questions", which are in fact: Did MySpace commit a vicious crime, violating the rights of the innocent women? How much should they be punished for doing so? Should the states be stopped in their attempt to sue MySpace to get them to commit these crime? How much money should MySpace and the states involved pay the VICTIM here?

Re:The Question is... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323895)

Such an event, if it happened, is a crime, called SLANDER.

      A few points - and I'm not even a lawyer:

      Slander is not a crime. It's a civil issue. Perhaps you should work for the MAFIAA they brayed hard enough to get copyright infringement turned into a "crime". But no one goes to jail for slander.

      Also - slander is only slander if it involves someone else. If I tell you you are an asshole, there's nothing you can do about it. Even if you're not an asshole. Now, if I go around telling OTHER PEOPLE that you are an asshole, you may have a case - provided you are NOT an asshole. If you ARE an asshole, you're out of luck - even if you don't LIKE it. See if it's true, then I can say it to whoever I want.

Re:The Question is... (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323699)

MySpace is a service and as such they have terms of service and just about every TOS under the sun has a clause saying "we reserve the right to dump you at any time for any reason." You don't necessarily have a "right" to use MySpace, anymore than you have a "right" to use Mobil or Starbucks. If they choose to exclude you for whatever reason, your only recourse is legal action. Mind you, they can refuse you service, but they can't necessarily get away with publicly slandering/defaming you, and they certainly cannot discriminate against you based on purely physical factors (race, sex, etc.).

Re:The Question is... (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323843)

Do you have a right to use MySpace?

Yup. That is the real question. Don't think it has a yes/no answer.

Are they required to give you access if not violating, or even in spite of, any anti-discrimination or other laws?

And why do we have anti-discrimination laws? Why do we allow companies such as MySpace to exist? Do we consider it a public good simply to allow people to become rich. Do we consider it inherently bad to prevent people from doing so? Is it that we consider the services they provide to be beneficial to the public?

And if so, should we allow them to be quite so arbitrary about who they do and don't provide this service to? If every business in the world decided it didn't want to do business with people whose names are the same as someone with an unfortunate name how would these people manage in the modern world?

Myspace published her name (1)

hellfire (86129) | more than 7 years ago | (#19324235)

If you take away their access it's one thing, but if you publically post that this person is a sex offender, that's got nothing to do with "private corporations." That amounts to libel. Myspace screwed up. They made this public domain by publically announcing her as a sex offender. Therefore it does fall under the domain of US law and she can take action appropriately. She doesn't have to get her site back, but she sure as hell can sue for damages and ask for a retraction and apology.

How is this surprising? (1)

IceCreamGuy (904648) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323543)

Of course there are going to be false positives! People want Myspace to check for these people, but the fact of the matter is that anyone can register with any name and birthdate, and using the information publicly available to identify sex offenders is only going to lead to misidentification. In my opinion, there's not going to be a reliable way of dealing with this issue other than parents being more in tune with their kids' internet habits and education. I honestly can't believe they actually tried to implemented a server-side solution to this problem. Hopefully Myspace will simply say "I told you so" and move on. -Julius

Re:How is this surprising? (5, Insightful)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323757)

In the, "old days," back when I grew up, parents actually talked to their kids and educated them not to talk to strangers. Today, parents don't seem to be capable of this, and instead want the government, schools, and internet service & content providers to make sure their precious little f**ktards don't get into trouble.

myspace (4, Funny)

flynt (248848) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323553)

Doesn't having a MySpace account make you a suspected sex offender, ipso facto?

Couldn't connect .. /.'ed? (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323561)

Anyway, this is the problem with the "information society": there's so much information on people out there, a lot of it incorrect, and it's being used as if it's a fact - [satire]it is on the computer, after all! [/satire]

And as more and more information is collected, it is only going to make it worse and easier for identity thieves. Why, with every zipperhead bureaucrat running around with laptops with this information and with insider's willing to sell your information to criminals, it's only going to get worse - IMHO.

I had a really interesting conversation with a banker the other day. She's seeing more and more identity thieves. All she can do is refuse the transaction and call the cops when she catches one - the thief takes off. How did this conversation start? I asked why I needed all of this identification and all this paperwork just to open a checking account for my business. Long story short - PATRIOT ACT. Yes sir, in order to "protect" us from the terrorists and drug lords, our government is making it easier and easier for these crooks to steal our information by requiring certain businesses to gather as much information as possible and NOT requiring them to secure it properly.

Stopping now because I'm getting really pissed.....

Does anyone happen to know (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323583)

how to find out if anyone with a similar name/address/age/etc. is on the sex offender list? Perhaps a stupid question, but it would be good to post such information here

Re:Does anyone happen to know (1)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323803)

Easy, apply for a job involved in education. When you find yourself arrested at five am and locked up without Habeus Corpus then you know that you have sufficient similarities to a sex offender to be arrested 'for the sake of the children'.

Please note that 'sex offender' includes the sixteen year old who makes love to his fifteen year old girlfriend and gets found out.

Re:Does anyone happen to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19323929)

Generally States provide a website with a search for sex offenders. Just do a Google search. The terms "sex offender list", sans quotes, has a first result of a national list by familywatchdog, and if you add a state name you can probably get your state.

However, why on earth is it Constitutionally allowed to have a sex offenders list. Even though prisons are not rehab centers, if someone is released from prison, have they not served their time for their crime? Should they not be allowed to be mold back into society? If not, then why are they released?

If my memory serves me correct, and it might not, but in some societies if you get caught urinating in an alley at 3AM then you can get hit with indecent exposure. A few of those you get put on a sex offenders list.

Also, I believe some of these 15-17 year olds who take naked pics of themselves to give to their 15-17 year old sexual partners are being accused of child sex crimes, which will land them on a sex offender list also.

Each locale has a different twist on what is what. Things are messed up.

Re:Does anyone happen to know (1)

Ruprecht the Monkeyb (680597) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323979)

Create a 'Myspace' page and let them do all the work.

SUE THEM! (1)

Jerry (6400) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323595)

Money is the ONLY thing they understand.

Re:SUE THEM! (1)

pete.com (741064) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323747)

Sue them for not letting you use the free service they provide to you?

Domestic Violence Offenders should be banned, too. (4, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323613)

This needs to be expanded to include domestic violence offenders. That would be really valuable for dating sites.

It's all irrelevant... (2, Interesting)

xtermz (234073) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323653)

MySpace does no sort of valid name, age, or date of birth verification. Hell you can go on there now with an existing profile and change your last name as many times as you wish. Mine is Weibowitz, at least as far as myspace is concerned. I just did that to keep annoying spam bots from bugging me.

Regardless, if a boogie man wants to sign up for myspace and go about doing some e-Stalking, this exercise in "security" theater won't stop them. I suspect myspace even probably knows this and is just going through the measures to shut the states AG's up.

Re:It's all irrelevant... (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323763)

Regardless, if a boogie man wants to sign up for myspace and go about doing some e-Stalking, this exercise in "security" theater won't stop them.


Its not meant to. Its meant to make people feel safe about MySpace.

Re:It's all irrelevant... (1)

beyondkaoru (1008447) | more than 7 years ago | (#19324127)

online i often use 'hugh jass', like from the bart simpson prank calls.

it was quite comical when my little brother used the name to register his xbox live account. later on when the family called had to call the customer help line for some reason there was confusion :)

Jumping to conclusions (3, Funny)

rehtonAesoohC (954490) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323751)

Now be honest, how many people saw "MySpace," "woman," and "sex" and clicked the link right away?

Someone tell DHS! (1)

Rasputin (5106) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323839)

"...and that was apparently enough to get MySpace to wrongly brand her and completely ignore her protests."

Homeland Security holds a patent on that algorithm - Someone alert their lawyers!

Fortunately, a woman (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323945)

Imagine they would have identified a man. Aside of sexism, imagine would would go down if that was a guy. Imagine a guy who created a profile and, to make matters worse, imagine he had an interest in computer games, "modern" music or other activities usually associated with teenagers, and if he even had a few teenagers in his friends group (or whatever it's called in MySpace).

Think he could've escaped the witchhunt?

Can we quit with the whole sex offender thing now? (5, Insightful)

johnny cashed (590023) | more than 7 years ago | (#19323973)

I know this may not be a popular stance, but once a sex offender has served their time (probation and all) can we dispense with the whole sex offender registration bullshit? If we can't live with the fact that these people are released from prison, then the whole system is flawed.

And can we please get our sex offender laws in a state in which we can not prosecute kids who sleep with other kids (i.e. 18 year olds and 16 year olds having sex). Personally, I'm tired of the whole sex offender "bogieman". It has gotten to the point where the term gets associated with the worst kinda behavior. Maybe I'm just biased because I've never been "sex offended" but I can't help but think that their are degrees of sex offense, and our system just seems to lump them all together, to the point of hyperbole. As a result, I believe that the whole term "sex offender" is becoming watered down to the point of it being worthless as a metric to judge whether a person is a real threat.

Why stop there? Lets make drug offenders register as well.

Let us think of some possible scenarios: random rape, date rate, child rape, child molestation, groping, lewd conduct, public nudity. Of these, which ones do you consider serious? Do you believe they should all be grouped as sex offenses? I don't even know if they are all considered sex offenses, I tried to look it up to determine if my list was valid, but in the short time I looked on google for sex offenses, all I got were sex offender registry links, so I can't even look up to determine what constitutes a sex offense.

The other problem is when people get falsely accused of a sex offense. When you have 2 people, one says they did something, and the other denies it, how do you determine who is correct, provided there is a lack of specific evidence? Kids have been known to falsely accuse. Adults have been known to falsely accuse. The whole matter has gotten out of hand.

Re:Can we quit with the whole sex offender thing n (2, Interesting)

evan1l38 (73680) | more than 7 years ago | (#19324247)

I agree wholeheartedly.

Murder a few people, go to jail, come out, you're fine. You've done your time.

Why are sex offenses so much worse than murder? What about assault? Why is it just sex that's so horrifying?

Re:Can we quit with the whole sex offender thing n (1, Troll)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 7 years ago | (#19324321)

Sex offenders, let me narrow my argument to child predators, are far different from other criminals. Most other criminals typically get tired of cycling through jail, get bored with crime and mature, kick the drug habits that put them there, etc. Child predators are for whatever reason programmed to be attracted to kids, who are weak and naive. NO ONE wants one living next door. If I had kids and one moved in next to me, I'd bet I'd do whatever it took (short of murder or assault) to get rid of him. False accusations and imprisonment is another (and serious) issue. And, I agree that we need to come up with stronger definitions of what a sexual predator is. I'm thinking of the awful case of the A student all star athlete (a senior in high school) who got busted having sex with a freshman. For reasons largely due to race, he was convicted under sexual predator laws and sent to prison for something like 10 years.

Blacklist them all! (2, Insightful)

Lost Penguin (636359) | more than 7 years ago | (#19324039)

All those jews should be listed where we know who they are.
All those communists should be listed where we know who they are.
All those terrorists should be listed where we know who they are.
All those sex offenders should be listed where we know who they are.

Each step, is one step closer to fascism.

Meanwhile 80 percent false positive in GITMO (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#19324059)

Turns out they were offering cash bounties, so a lot of people in Afghanistan turned over anyone they didn't like for a cash reward.

Same with MySpace pervs - chances are tons of them are just into S&M or B&D (consensual adults), but after ruining their reputations, they can never get them back.

Welcome To: +1, Helpful (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19324065)


the United Gulags of America [whitehouse.org] .

You have NO rights.
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