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Flawed Online Dating Bill Being Pushed in New Jersey

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the bars-next-on-the-list-for-background-checks dept.

The Internet 192

Billosaur writes "According to a report on Ars Technica, a committee of the New Jersey Assembly is trying to push an on-line dating bill even though it contains significant flaws. The Internet Dating Safety Act would require dating web sites that interact with customers in New Jersey to indicate whether they do criminal background checks and if people who fail such checks are still allowed to register with the site. 'The backers of the New Jersey Internet Dating Safety Act undoubtedly feel that the law provides at least a measure of protection despite its flaws. In this case, however, users of such sites are probably better off assuming that their personal safety remains a personal responsibility, rather than placing faith in a background check that has little chance of uncovering any information on a person attempting to hide it.'"

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In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21483653)

In Soviet Russia the state dates YOU!

Re:In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21483727)

It's very common in pseudo-democracies for common citizens to date the state. I lived in Moscow for several years in the eighties, and several of my acquaintances (I had no true friends, being a Serb), went on dates with the state. Sexual intercourse was rarely involved, but when it was, it was a bit more satisfying than your run-of-the-mill bar encounter.

Since I was not a citizen (I was there illegally), I was unable to date the state. I feel I missed out somehow, but I got over it after Glasnost.

Anyway, my point is, you were more accurate than you thought.

Re:In Soviet Russia... (4, Funny)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#21483793)

"In Soviet Russia the state dates YOU!

That would probably be an improvement for most slashdotters, where you're more likely to be *ahem* "dating yourself ..."

Re:In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21483881)

oh my god! what happens if i don't pass the background check? i could be dating a pervert!

Re:In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484203)

In Soviet Russia, windowless basement lives in YOU!

Re:In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484451)

It's very common in pseudo-democracies for common citizens to house windowless basements within their own bodies. I lived in Moscow for several years in the eighties, and several of my acquaintances (I had no true friends, being a Serb), had windowless basements in themselves. Sexual intercourse was rarely involved, but when it was, it was a bit more satisfying than your run-of-the-mill bar encounter.

Since I was not a citizen (I was there illegally), I was unable to house a windowless basement. I feel I missed out somehow, but I got over it after Glasnost.

Anyway, my point is, you were more accurate than you thought.

Re:In Soviet Russia... (1)

youthoftoday (975074) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484705)

It's very common in pseudo-democracies for common citizens to be more accurate than they thought. I lived in Moscow for several years in the eighties, and several of my acquaintances (I had no true friends, being a Serb), were more accurate than they thought. Sexual intercourse was rarely involved, but when it was, it was a bit more satisfying than your run-of-the-mill bar encounter.

Since I was not a citizen (I was there illegally), I was unable to be more accurate than I thought. I feel I missed out somehow, but I got over it after Glasnost.

Anyway, my point is, you were more accurate than you thought.

Re:In Soviet Russia... (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484569)

"Dating"... doesn't that mean telling how old an object, like a fossil or something, is? Carbon dating, etc?

-mcgrew

Re:In Soviet Russia... (2, Funny)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485217)

""Dating"... doesn't that mean telling how old an object, like a fossil or something, is? Carbon dating, etc?"

I for one welcome dating our carbon-based overlords.

Re:In Soviet Russia... (1)

KudyardRipling (1063612) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484973)

#! /bin/sh
#
# pleasure w/o STD i/o,
#
cat /home/medcabinet/sanitizer > /dev/lefthand
cat /home/dvdcase/porn* > /dev/brain
while $TESTES !==0
do
  sex -1
done

Re:In Soviet Russia... (1)

youthoftoday (975074) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485145)

you forgot /bin/backgroundcheck

Re:In Soviet Russia... (1)

corifornia2 (1158503) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484151)

Thats fine, I can always resort to following people down dark alleys . . . I mean, they . . . they can always resort to following people down dark alleys . . .

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484161)

Slashdotters don't have to deal with this. The only way they can get a girl is to pay by the hour. I mean, would you answer this guy's [istheshit.net] personal?

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484355)

Damn I wish I had mod points for that! Funny and insightful, all in one tasty morsel...

Backed by a online dating company? (2, Informative)

Asgard (60200) | more than 6 years ago | (#21483681)

I recall a story a while ago on this same topic, except that a particular online dating site which did some form of background check was the primary backer -- they wanted all print and online personals sites to be required to display a warning if no background check was performed.

Re:Backed by a online dating company? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21483775)

Dude! You said BONER!

Re:Backed by a online dating company? (5, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484807)

I don't get it...are they next doing to require background checks for people going to bars to try to pick people up or actually find someone to date? I hear some people try to meet other in coffee shops too (I'd not think that would be as good, as booze is a 'conversation lubrication', and coffee just makes one paranoid and nervous, but, I digress).

I mean...what's the difference in where you meet and try to find people? What makes internet dating inherently more dangerous than dating in meatspace? Are we doing to be required to carry out background checks with us on our papers as well as our identifying information....oh wait...RealID....?

Seriously, I don't see the difference....no matter where you try to go to interact with people, you have to have some discretion in who you trust and go out with...

Re:Backed by a online dating company? (2, Informative)

Baddas (243852) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484949)

Yep, they're the ones behind all of these bills. Basically, their background checks are useless except to raise the bar to entry in the online dating market.

Other New Jersey Legislation (5, Funny)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 6 years ago | (#21483695)

Another piece of New Jersey legislation requires business owners to disclose to the public whether or not they have ties to organized crime.

Re:Other New Jersey Legislation (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21483923)

Another piece of New Jersey legislation requires business owners to disclose to the public whether or not they have ties to organized crime.
I hear it's quite effective, as there are now no businesses in New Jersey that stating that they do.

Re:Other New Jersey Legislation (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484615)

Another piece of New Jersey legislation requires business owners to disclose to the public whether or not they have ties to organized crime

That would be useless in Illinois, where businesses would automatically have to say "yes". Our last Governor is in prison... [wikipedia.org]

-mcgrew

heh (5, Informative)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 6 years ago | (#21483713)

1. Use common sense.
2. The website should tell you to use common sense. (i.e., chat online before speaking on the phone; speak a lot before agreeing to meet; meet somewhere public the first few times; meet their friends and family and see if they look normal. remember if you marry someone you're marrying their family, and if their family is psycho, chances are they are psycho too, even if they behave normal for a while).
3. The website should detail if background checks are done and if so, which ones.
4. It doesn't require a state law to deal with the problem of background checks.

Re:heh (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484231)

Or Google. [google.com]

MOD PARENT UP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484495)

Raises a very good point.

PARENT IS SPAM TRAP. WATCH OUT. (2, Informative)

Ghandalfar (918924) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484625)

goatse like link in parent.

Re:heh (2, Funny)

WestCoastJTF (1192081) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484301)

(i.e., chat online before speaking on the phone; speak a lot before agreeing to meet; meet somewhere public the first few times; meet their friends and family and see if they look normal. remember if you marry someone you're marrying their family, and if their family is psycho, chances are they are psycho too, even if they behave normal for a while).

Is that the voice of experience I hear?

Re:heh (2, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484343)

All this is going to do is have dating sites pull out of NJ. On the drop down menu of "Where do you live?" NJ will no longer appear. Maybe a message saying "Sorry. You live in NJ. We don't have the money to deal with this. You're SOL." This isn't going to protect anyone.

Re:heh (5, Funny)

Froboz23 (690392) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484921)

I don't see what all the fuss is about. This seems like a good idea.


SLASHDOT DISCLAIMER: IN COMPLIANCE WITH NEW JERSEY PENAL CODE 15-1302, SLASHDOT HAS PERFORMED ALL REQUIRED CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS ON USER FROBOZ23, WHOSE LEGALLY REGISTERED NAME IS ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK. IN 1996, THIS PERSON HAD NON-CONSENTING SEXUAL RELATIONS WITH AN AQUATIC MAMMAL, A CLASS 12 FELONY. OH, AND THERE WAS ALSO THAT J-WALKING TICKET BACK IN '92. FOR SHAME. IF YOU INSIST ON MEETING WITH THIS VILE, NASTY PERSON, WE RECOMMEND YOU MEET IN A PUBLIC PLACE. PRE-PLAN YOUR ESCAPE ROUTES, AND BRING A HIGH-CALIBER WEAPON, JUST IN CASE.

What do you expect from the "tube" guys? (0)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#21483717)

The senior legislators have absolutely no idea about what is internet. They think it is a series of tubes and have a bevy of secretaries and aides who would print out the emails and show it to them. There is no hope till the present day youngsters who grew up with internet and IM become the senior legislators and judges. Till then, just relax sit back, get a bucket of pop corn and watch the damn charade.

Re:What do you expect from the "tube" guys? (4, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 6 years ago | (#21483897)

There is no hope till the present day youngsters who grew up with internet and IM become the senior legislators and judges.


If that is supposed to make me feel warm and fuzzy, you've done the very opposite. The people you talk about are the same ones who give you a deer-in-the-headlights look when you tell them that by putting up pictures of themselves and personal information such as where they go to school on Facebook, someone could figure out where they live.

They current crop of legislators aren't the only ones who have no idea about what the internet is.

Re:What do you expect from the "tube" guys? (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484389)

...have no idea about what the internet is

The internet is a little bird tweeting in meadow;
The internet is a wreath of pretty flowers which... smell bad.

Norman coordinate... beep beep beeeeeeeeee...

Re:What do you expect from the "tube" guys? (1)

raidfibre (1181749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484453)

You've made the fatal assertion that 12 year olds never grow up. Some don't, but must do.
I obviously haven't, because I'm still posting on Slashdot.

Re:What do you expect from the "tube" guys? (1)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485027)

There is no hope till the present day youngsters who grew up with internet and IM become the senior legislators and judges.

The people you talk about are the same ones who give you a deer-in-the-headlights look when you tell them that by putting up pictures of themselves and personal information such as where they go to school on Facebook, someone could figure out where they live.

As a 20-something who grew up with the internet and IM, I take offense to your stereotyping. It is true, many of my generation are morons. But that is true of all generations. As it turns out, half the population is above average, and the other half is stuck being below average. If a group of 25-30 year olds can attain Congressional seats in the next few years... it would be an improvement for this generation and subsequent ones.

Pertaining to the article, any legislation which attempts to make rules for the internet is foolish. Legislation should let the internet remain to be a hub for culture and information. There will always be people who misuse it, and it does as much good to punish them as it does to punish people who are occasionally (or habitually) dishonest.

Re:What do you expect from the "tube" guys? (1)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484549)

The senior legislators have absolutely no idea about what is internet. They think it is a series of tubes and have a bevy of secretaries and aides who would print out the emails and show it to them.
I'm sure on a whole they don't "Get it" but I do believe most understand it better than you give them credit for.

What disturbs me is the fact that they understand the bill is flawed but want to pass it anyway because it will provide some semblance of protection... It's not the first time I've heard of a bill described in this way... it's quite troubling honestly since when are we so lazy that we can't redraft something we know to be wrong but instead just pass it and figure out how to deal with the fall out later.

Something tells me the self-centered and generally lazy nature of the up coming generation wont do much to fix THAT problem...

Think of the Avatars (1)

PoliTech (998983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21483737)

How would one do a background check on an avatar? Or will Avatars simply now be discriminated against, and prohibited from joining social sites altogether?

Re:Think of the Avatars (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21483851)

I know you were making a lame attempt at humor, but they're talking dating service websites here, not social networking sites. Noob.

Re:Think of the Avatars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21483917)

Err, Dating websites, ARE a form of social networking. Dumbass

unnecessary ultima joke (2, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#21483941)

How would one do a background check on an avatar?

Ask him to bring you the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom?

Re:unnecessary ultima joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484643)

How would one do a background check on an avatar?
Ask him to bring you the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom?
I was under the impression that a quest for ultimate wisdom was mutually exclusive with a quest to get a date.

Re:Think of the Avatars (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484443)

How would one do a background check on an avatar? Or will Avatars simply now be discriminated against, and prohibited from joining social sites altogether?


Poor Aang, that seems very unfair to him.

Chris Mattern

I "Fail" a Backround Check (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21483769)

I "fail" a background check but you are unlikely to find a better lover or employee.

Up yours, ChoicePoint. You McCarthy-esque blacklisting fascists are what is wrong with America.

All freedom loving Americans should blacklist ChoicePoint and everyone who subscribes to their blacklist.

Legislation pushed by True.com? (5, Interesting)

algorithmagic (1194567) | more than 6 years ago | (#21483781)

I read a couple years back that True.com is pushing state legislatures to adopt such bills as a boost to their own business model (and a hindrance to their competitors). Anyone know if this is the case here?

Re:Legislation pushed by True.com? (2, Insightful)

neoform (551705) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484575)

They did, for two reasons, it was a publicity stunt to make them look like they were protecting their users more, but also to try to kill off smaller dating sites that didn't have the means to do such background checks on all its users.

Re:Legislation pushed by True.com? YEP! (2, Interesting)

lax-goalie (730970) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484601)

The Virginia Legislature considered this a couple of years ago. The day that the bill was considered by the House Committeee on Science and Technology, a pair of lobbyists (from a pretty high-power firm, at that) spent the day taking the head of True.com around meeting legislators. During the day, they met with a pretty good chunk of the committee, and most of the Leadership from both parties.

In the end though, the bill was very quickly, and very literally, laughed out of committee. I kind of felt bad for the True.com guy, because even though he was treated very politely, it was pretty clear that the agenda item was all about getting the bill killed in as little time as possible.

The sad thing was that before the bill made it to Sci-Tech, it was approved by the "Courts of Justice" committee, which considers general laws. CoJ is made up exclusively by attorneys, Sci-Tech has a pretty good number of engineers and technology people in its membership. Go figure.

Criminal Background Checks! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21483783)

Because that's how dating works in real life!

... Nice to meet you, Martha, now may I see your papers?

Everything seems to be in order here ... wait, wtf is this? A filing for a restraining order against you! WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO! THIS DATE IS OVER!

Re:Criminal Background Checks! (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484641)

"YOUR PAPERSS PLEASE!!!!"

"Um, but I only have a pipe, man..."

"THEN YOU VILL HAFF TO COME VITH ME!!"

-A Child's Garden of Grass (a pre-legalization comedy)

two sides on the coin... (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21483785)

if->then does not imply then->if, or "not if"->"not then"

ex:
If user X has a bad criminal record, user Y won't trust user X

does not imply
If user X does NOT have a criminal record, user Y won't NOT trust user X

the logic for the opposition is just as flawed as the logic of the argument. Add to that the fact that people who are wary now will probably remain wary even with the background check, it just makes things easier to increase the list of untrastables, this bill really amounts to telling a customer how much privacy they have.

Re:two sides on the coin... (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 6 years ago | (#21483949)

"Because a false sense of security is better than no sense of security at all."

Re:two sides on the coin... (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484031)

You didn't bother reading my post did you?

I simply stated that there would be (at least) a minimal security improvement, and that many users wouldn't get a false sense of security (except those who wouldn't bother listening to a sense of insecurity anyway)

Ridiculous Law (4, Insightful)

writerjosh (862522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21483787)

I think it's ridiculous that the Jersey gov is forcing their dating sites to do a mandatory background screening.

1. The Article states that it's not even a true background check (it's a name check only -- so, it's essentially worthless anyway)
2. Users should bare the responsibility of checking out their own dates, not the site

If anything, the state should only require the dating sites to offer a full background screening service for a reasonable price. That way, the user can check out their dates, plus the dating site isn't forced to do a background check on everyone, plus the site can still make a profit which is what the site is there for in the first place.

Re:Ridiculous Law (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484589)

Which is why, in all likelihood, this thing has no chance of surviving judicial scrutiny. But some congressman somewhere in Jersey can claim he's tough on sex offenders come the next election.

Perhaps you should RTFA... (2, Informative)

sean.peters (568334) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484653)

... because from what I can gather, the law doesn't force dating sites to conduct background checks, just to indicate whether they conduct them or not. It's a big difference.

Re:Ridiculous Law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484903)

plus the site can still make a profit which is what the site is there for in the first place.
Yet they advertise it as "bringing people closer", trying to make the right matches. Touting that you will find your true love for sure if you go here!

For nominal (monthly) fees of course.

Re:Ridiculous Law (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485187)

Users should bare the responsibility of checking out their own dates, not the site

Ignoring the Freudian typo, it seems amazing to me that anyone would think it was a good idea to attempt to spend quality time alone with a complete stranger: If you're in a public place, it's about as safe as any other activity. If there are no witnesses, or you're relying on the stranger's car to get to or from said public place, it's not. This is true of any first date, no matter how you met them. Early dates give you a chance to see whether you like your date and evaluate how sketchy they are, and to jump in without making that decision is to invite trouble (not just from crazy stalker types, it can also lead to really bad relationships).

What about the fatties? (5, Insightful)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 6 years ago | (#21483795)

When are they going to criminalize it when women post pictures that are five years and 100 pounds out of date? That's the real danger of internet dating sites.

Re:What about the fatties? (4, Funny)

PoliTech (998983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21483861)

What about the Gender challenged? I don't mind my date showing up larger than advertised, but when SHE turns out to be a HE ... well that's where I draw the line! /Unless he/she is really fine looking, then a little petting before the breakup may be in order.

Re:What about the fatties? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484323)

but when SHE turns out to be a HE ... well that's where I draw the line! /Unless he/she is really fine looking
My apologies to the humor-impaired in advance, but to quote King Missile [wikipedia.org] :

OK, you've got a guy sucking your dick,
even if he's dressed like a beautiful woman,
even if he's got the best breast implants you've ever seen,
even if you're saying "Suck it b*tch, I know you like it, you sl*t, you wh*re,"
that's gay.

Adversely, if a woman straps on a dildo and you're dressed like a woman
and you're suckin' her cock and she's sayin'
"You like it, don't you, you like sucking my dick, you little f**king faggot"
and she rolls you over and f**ks you in the ass and says
"you love it, you little pussy boy, you love getting f**ked in the ass,
I bet you wish I was a man, I bet you wish this was a cock, you f**king faggot"
and you're getting off on this like you've never gotten off before . . .

that's still straight.


Re:What about the fatties? (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484429)

Those are the sites' biggest customers. They'd go out of business without that demographic.

What's next, a flawed offline dating bill? (2, Funny)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 6 years ago | (#21483805)

I think you're cute. Background check me anytime and then maybe we'll get a cup of coffee.

What the hell (3, Informative)

moogied (1175879) | more than 6 years ago | (#21483809)

What the hell? Since when are we doing background checks on real people before we let them date? I am sick of this attempting to regulate the internet version of real life events. People go to match.com, true.com, iwantsomeactionfromanyone.com to find people. Its there fault if they agree to then meet them at the corner of 235th avenue and No-one-goes-here-ever road.

Re:What the hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21483971)

Its there fault if they agree to then meet them at the corner of 235th avenue and No-one-goes-here-ever road.
Hey! That's where I live, you insensitive clod!

(Finally got to utilize an ancient /. meme)

Re:What the hell (Obligatory) (1)

azrider (918631) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484415)

Its there fault if they agree to then meet them at the corner of 235th avenue and No-one-goes-here-ever road.
Its there fault if they agree to then meet them at the corner of 235th avenue and No-one-gets-away-from-here road.

There, fixed it for you. :)

you always hear about (1, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21483817)

psychotic murderous psychopaths on death row with multiple female admirers sending them their panties in the mail and even a bride or two. and aren't women supposed to like the "bad" type?

maybe new jersey (teh state that gives us the sopranos, irony) has the wrong idea. maybe the real issue here is the nugget of a new online dating business: a place for women to meet and date proven criminals, not avoid them

Re:you always hear about (1)

sseaman (931799) | more than 6 years ago | (#21483967)

maybe new jersey (teh state that gives us the sopranos, irony) has the wrong idea.

You do understand that it was television and not New Jersey that gave us the Sopranos, right?

and all texans wear cowboy hats (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484237)

the movies and tv create stupid stereotypes, but they are also embraced in kitsch ways by those who are depicted as such, and often have basis in real life fact

only brittle weirdos with a chip on their shoulder would have a problem with ridiculous stereotypes no one believes and have no real life consequences

did you know everyone from minnesota talks like they do in that movie "fargo"?

did you know everyone in california is a surfer dude?

please, by all means, don't let light hearted humor get in the way of your need to get off on high holy indignation

zzz

Re:you always hear about (5, Insightful)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484171)

Heh, that was my reaction too: "Hold on -- are we flagging criminal convictions so that women can AVOID them, or so they can DATE them?"

Distance from North Pole to Equator along earth's surface: ~10,000 km.
Distance from Earth to Sun: 150 million km.
Distance from Sun to nearest other star: 42 trillion km.
Distance from what women say they want in a man, to what they really want: farther still.

Re:you always hear about (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484587)

psychotic murderous psychopaths on death row with multiple female admirers sending them their panties in the mail and even a bride or two
All next week, on Town Talk.

Hide Felonies? (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#21483837)

than placing faith in a background check that has little chance of uncovering any information on a person attempting to hide it.'
Excuse me but last time I checked it was farely easy to uncover if somebody has beem convicted of a Felony. Now, I'm not for this law. I think the websites should enforce the policy themselves without needless legislation. Also in the end the people who use the service have to take responsibility. However to make statements that background checks are useless without any facts is lame. I use to run manual background checks and there are many agencies that will do it for you online given the SS#, Birthdate and name of the person. Also SS#'s can be verified with the SSA to see if people are trying to cheat the system. So in other words, background checks can be very useful if used correctly.

Re:Hide Felonies? (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484117)

Excuse me but last time I checked it was farely easy to uncover if somebody has beem convicted of a Felony.

You're missing the point. It is fairly easy to tell if someone is convicted of a felony if you know their real name because you saw their ID. None of these dating sites are asking for ID, so they only show if the name a person put into their profile is the same name as a person with a felony conviction. Most actual criminals who know the site does such a check, will just use a different name. On the other hand, people who just happen to have the same name as a criminal, will probably have trouble using dating sites. Then some of those people will have to start using a disclaimer and some real criminals will start claiming to likewise be falsely identified.

The bottom line, all such checks do is muddle the issue and provide some people with a false sense of security.

I think the websites should enforce the policy themselves without needless legislation.

The last time I heard, most sites considered it, realized it was useless, and decided not to do it, except one company that advertises that feature heavily and is the one lobbying for this law in the first place.

So in other words, background checks can be very useful if used correctly.

Since many states have laws making it illegal to require a SSN for private transactions and since they're just filling out a form on the internet and you have no way of knowing if they are lying, how can you perform a reliable check. Hi My name might be Erin Kuzniki and I might be a 26 year old woman from Ohio... or maybe I'm someone completely else. Why don't you run a check to see if I'm a criminal and tell everyone here on Slashdot so they know if they can trust me.

Re:Hide Felonies? (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485215)

You know a lot of companies sign people up over the Internet. This includes credit cards, stock brokers, etc. They have ways of verifying identity. I'm not saying people should be "required" to submit to a check especially one required by law. I'm just saying that people who do submit probably are not criminals.

Re:Hide Felonies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484121)

But the problem is, the Dating Services have absolutely no reason to have your Social Security number. Any dating services that ask for it should be avoided. They definately should not provide them to other people so they can do background checks on their own.

What's next, background checks to get into a bar? (3, Insightful)

d3xt3r (527989) | more than 6 years ago | (#21483853)

Seriously, a lot of hook-ups, meeting new people for dating, etc. happen at bars, not online. This is one of those half-baked ideas by some clueless legislators who seem to think the Internet is a scarier place than a bar.

Requiring background checks for online dating is not a realistic safeguard. People who have something to hide will figure out how to hide it, face-to-face or on the Internet. If anything, this will cause clueless daters to fall into a false sense of security by assuring them that this safety net exists when it's merely a mirage.

Re:What's next, background checks to get into a ba (3, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484941)

Seriously, a lot of hook-ups, meeting new people for dating, etc. happen at bars, not online.
The 90s called, they want their method-of-meeting-people back[1]

Seriously, have you any idea of how few people in a relationship met in bars compared to other means? Or how ubiquitous online dating services have become? This is particularly true for age ranges > 30.

Your point stands about a false sense of security. You'd think that maybe someone smart enough to go online to a dating site would be smart enough to do their own background check; the problem is that there is no assurance that the person they are checking on is actually who they say they are; the dating sites act as a vetting service -- this is what potential daters are paying for.

That said, I think the problem is that people too stupid to do their own background checks actually increase their chance of reproducing through these dating sites. This means that, from an evolutionary standpoint, they are getting some help in propagating their genes. I would like my legislator to propose legislation to ban all people too stupid to perform their own background checks from using dating sites. For the good of the species, please.

Won't someone think of the genome?

[1] Yes, I know, the 90s called, and they want their "The 80s called and want their $FOO back" joke back.

true.com (4, Informative)

saterdaies (842986) | more than 6 years ago | (#21483855)

This is simply true.com trying to legislate their business model. They pay a lot for background checks on their members and the public seems to think these background checks aren't important. By legislating this, they're hoping to a) force other companies to take on a huge financial burden or b) force other companies to look shady by having a disclaimer "warning: people on this site might be axe murders". What they should really be requiring is for everyone to do a background check on anyone they ever interact with. That clerk at the coffee shop? Who knows what s/he might be hiding!

Who cares!? (2, Insightful)

Orig_Club_Soda (983823) | more than 6 years ago | (#21483873)

Seriously, the more we alienate excons the more crime they will commit. THe only situation that requires notification are sex offenders. People need to start taking care of themselves. Meet a person, go slow, and figure them out.

the market will decide.. politicians only serve (1)

Adult film producer (866485) | more than 6 years ago | (#21483887)

to fuck things up. Less reputable dating sites will attract the bottom feeding leeches of society and others will spring up and offer high-quality services with real background checking, better features and options... there are dating services in every big city that are free and then there membership services that cost thousands of dollars to join. The same will happen with online services as well.

And if the person DOES have a record? (5, Interesting)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 6 years ago | (#21483943)

A person goes to jail as punishment. Once out, that punishment should not continue, with society treating the person as a pariah. That leads to recidivism. Not all crimes make that person a danger to be avoided. There are some crimes, yes, that if the person committed them, might make you pause to trust them in that situation again. But, let us not treat the background check as a magic bullet.

Re:And if the person DOES have a record? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484293)

My name is Jean Valjean.

NJ residents will pay more (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#21483963)

Web sites will take a note from the telecoms:

American Singles offers inexpensive quality dating services. New Jersey Regulatory Compliance Recovery Fee extra.

Imagine that. (1)

kermit1221 (75994) | more than 6 years ago | (#21483987)

..."Assembly is trying to push a"... "bill even though it contains significant flaws."

That passes for news these days?

what's the big deal? (0, Redundant)

notgm (1069012) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484021)

/finger fun times for all involved.

Oh, darn. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484093)

No more online dating. I guess it's back to raping and murdering strippers for me. Doo de doo doo...

already punished (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484097)

People violating this are already punished, in that they end up dating someone from New Jersey.

It's called the World Wide Web for a reason (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484123)

The Internet Dating Safety Act would require dating web sites that interact with customers in New Jersey to indicate whether they do criminal background checks and if people who fail such checks are still allowed to register with the site.

That is patently unenforceable. If it was, any state could simply pass a law criminalizing websites and then start collecting money. They can require sites operated in New Jersey to abide by these laws and maybe even residents of New Jersey who operate such sites (but I doubt it), but no one else.

This is just feel-good, do-nothing legislation that politicians can point to when they run for re-election.

I hope this fails... (1, Redundant)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484131)

I certainly hope this fails. I don't know how many times I've been confused with someone else with the same name and date of birth!

Sincerely,

Hubert Q. Sexington
D.O.B. February 14, 1969

a lot of peeved slashdotters (0, Flamebait)

glaswegian (803339) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484241)

Hey wait - a law that may make it more difficult to get a date.

I wonder why this law seems to be upsettinng so many slashdotters ....

Sounds like an old movie... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484269)

... maybe it's just an acid flashback, but why did I think of Amazon Women on The Moon when I heard of this insanity?

Honestly though, this is an interesting idea, but ultimately unworkable. Not everyone on the site will be from NJ (ob joke: Who the hell would want to date anyone from NJ?), and half the fun of those sites is seeing what the fool actually looks like when you go on the first date...

Then again, you have to be an absolute moron to meet up for someone over the site on a first date in a non-public place anyway... How many fools say "oh sure, I live at 1313 Mockingbird Lane... just pick me up at 7..." rather than saying "cool... can't wait to meet up... see ya at [Starbucks|Panera] at 7ish... I'll have on the green sweater..."

This law came about for two reasons:

1) Congresscritter is being lobbied hard by the schmucks who run the background checking service...

2) Congresscritter has a moron for a child, who actually gave his/her address to the prospective date and then got attacked...

I think just requiring people to hold up their right hand and say "I solemnly swear to CAVEAT EMPTOR!" when they turn 21 would be more useful than this crap law...

Re:Sounds like an old movie... (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484497)

...why did I think of Amazon Women on The Moon when I heard of this insanity?

Yep, we don't need this law, women just need one of these devices [google.com] .

Yeah but..... (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484299)

Just because you're a dog molesting cannibal doesn't mean you're a bad date.

Problem solved (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484353)

In tiny print at the bottom of the page:

"Not intended for NJ residents due to recent legislation."

That way people from NJ won't use the site, and everyone will be happy ;)

Capital Letters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484403)

"all such information must be posted in bold, capital letters with a minimum font size of 12"

Don't politicians realize that all-capital letter text is simply unreadable? Lowercase letters serve a purpose, and going all caps for more than a couple of words just leaves you with a blinding block of text that cause your eyes to glaze over. This is why it is so common in legal documents, so the recipient will skip over certain sections that the writer doesn't want you to read.

How do you... (1)

AaronBenage (812743) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484503)

... fail a background check?

So if I have a server in the UK... (1)

Endloser (1170279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484567)

and it provides dating services, and someone from New Jersey gets a date from there, I have to provide a background check? Yeah sure ok. Try to enforce that. Damn, I forgot you can't. thanks Spamhaus

Criminal background checks often wrong (2, Interesting)

LM741N (258038) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484577)

Criminal background checks are often wrong if the person has had his case dismissed or expunged. There are so many data brokers who collect this information that its hard to change it. They pick up the initial arrest but then neglect to pick up whether the person had his case thrown out or expunged. Thats especially the case for DUII where people go through diversion and then have their record expunged. But they are never able to escape that history of DUII.

PDFs required (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484631)

It's no good trying to hide such notification in the fine print at the bottom--all such information must be posted in bold, capital letters with a minimum font size of 12.

HTML tags are advisory, and rendering them in any particular way, is totally at the browser's discretion. Looks like online dating sites aren't going to be allowed to be part of the web. ;-)

What goes through a lawmaker's mind, when he writes about typography? Is it possible to do that, and still believe that you're helping someone? You'd think they'd at least (and even this is ridiculous, but at least it would be a hundred times better), instead of including such details, re-use some existing code. You know, defer to some kind of already-heavily-referenced statute that defines requirements for informed consent in contracts, etc.

Geez, how libertarian of you... (1)

sean.peters (568334) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484719)

Billosaur:

In this case, however, users of such sites are probably better off assuming that their personal safety remains a personal responsibility, rather than placing faith in a background check that has little chance of uncovering any information on a person attempting to hide it.'"

You're kidding me, right? The background check, conducted by some presumably reliable company, with corporate resources behind it, is unlikely to uncover any information on the potential date... but I'm going to do better myself by using "personal responsibility"?

Don't get me wrong - there's lots not to like about this bill. But let's not kid ourselves - "personal responsibility" doesn't give you some kind of magical powers that reveal information not available to a formal investigation.

Re:Geez, how libertarian of you... (2, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485017)

You're kidding me, right? The background check, conducted by some presumably reliable company, with corporate resources behind it, is unlikely to uncover any information on the potential date... but I'm going to do better myself by using "personal responsibility"?

Okay, so assume you're running a corporation and you want your users to feel safe and use your site. What is more cost effective real methods, or empty marketing? Now as your business people go to your Web page and input personal information. You have no way of checking if the information they enter, even their name is correct. What kind of background check do you think you can perform that will be effective? You don't even know the person's real name if they decide to just make up an alias.

Okay now you're an individual who wants to meet someone. Should you abrogate your own personal responsibility and trust the company you're doing business with to keep you safe or should you assume that the company has neither the means nor the motivation to protect you and take personal responsibility for your own safety? Taking person responsibility does not mean you do or don't run your own background check, but just meeting someone in a public place puts you in a much better position to determine if a person is dangerous than the dating company. Hell, you can ask them for their driver's license and have a good shot at seeing if they are who they claim, then you can run a background check on them.

The point is, if this type of bill is used to create advertising for a few companies, many people will assume those companies are in a position to really provide some safety to them, when that is certainly not the case. In my mind it is better to be upfront and advocate responsibility on the part of customers and save a lot of grief.

Re:Geez, how libertarian of you... (1)

Asgard (60200) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485135)

Reliable in that they reliably take the websites money, and in return give them the ability to advertise 'background checks'. Their responsibility is to the website, not you.

Hmmm. (0, Flamebait)

nowhere.elysium (924845) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485179)

I was tempted to wonder what pertinence this article has, but then I remembered that this is Slashdot, and our main demographic is the geeky male. Oh Noes!!!11one1eleventy! HotTeenJezebel69er is going to know that I served a community service sentence for hacking my college server to give myself good grades!!! OmgZ0rZ!
Actually, now that I think about it, who gives a shit? Seriously?
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