May 15, 2007

EIE Statement on MySpace and State AGs

Statement on MySpace and State AGs

By Donna Rice Hughes
President, Enough Is Enough®
May 15, 2007

We have all now seen the letter from the State AGs demanding that release information about convicted sexual offenders trolling their site, and we all agree that children need a protected space on the Internet. Enough Is Enough® will continue to work with and encourage them to work as quickly as possible with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and with law enforcement to keep predators away from our children.

User-generated content represents one of the most dynamic, transformative areas of innovation to date. We have seen how sexual predators use these spaces to seek out unsuspecting children. This is why I have joined other Internet safety experts to work with sites like MySpace, the nation's largest social networking site to try and protect children and educate parents about both the benefits and harms posed by this new frontier.

MySpace acknowledged the growing threat of online predators earlier this year by supporting the KIDS Act of 2007, proffered by Senators McCain and Schumer, which establishes mandatory e-mail registration to help lift the veil of anonymity for sex offenders on the Internet. MySpace also partnered with Sentinel Tech to develop the technology that will provide the mechanism that will make the KIDS Act of 2007 effective. This technology, launched in May of this year, will place any electronic identifying information belonging to a convicted felon into the National Sex Offender Registry and allow social-networking sites to cross-check user information against the registry and block or monitor those who sign up.

I continue to commend MySpace for working closely with Sentinel to build a database that all sites can use to block convicted sex offenders--something that, to my knowledge, no other group has done. I encourage the State AGs to partner with MySpace in their efforts to make the Internet safer--and to come alongside, to support this technology and to commit to building closer collaborative efforts between these Internet companies, Congress, and enforcement.

Additionally, I would encourage parents to remain proactive and educated about their children's Internet use; ultimately, parents are the first line of defense as they keep their parents safe from Internet predators and harmful content. Supporting open communication, establishing family Internet usage rules, and implementing software tools--such as monitoring software and filters-- will act as an important barrier between our children and Internet dangers.