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martes, 15 de mayo de 2007

MySpace deletes sex offender profiles

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Popular online social network MySpace said on Tuesday it has identified, removed and blocked "a few thousand" user profiles of convicted sex offenders, as part of a program to protect its young members from adult predators.

The action comes a day after eight U.S. attorneys general demanded that the News Corp. (NWS.N: Quote, Profile, Research-owned company hand over offenders' names and addresses, and delete their profiles from among MySpace's 175 million user base.

"We've made it clear we have a zero tolerance policy against convicted sex offenders," MySpace Chief Security Officer Hemanshu Nigam said in a phone interview on Tuesday. "We've said numerous times that the goal was to delete them."

Nigam said he was puzzled over the law enforcement authorities' actions on Monday, which he said would require MySpace to break the law.

"While numerous Attorneys General have asked us to turn the names of the sexual predators over to them, we are, unfortunately, prohibited by federal and state laws from doing so," Nigam said in a statement.

The AGs' demands preceded a hearing on Tuesday for the "Protect Children from Sexual Predators Act" in North Carolina, a bill backed by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper that requires online services such as MySpace to check the ages of members. Cooper is one of the eight AGs pushing MySpace to disclose the information.

The company said it was prohibited by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, which protects a user's electronic communication against government surveillance without a court order.

MySpace has come under attack over the past year after some of its young members fell prey to adult predators posing as minors. The families of several teenage girls sexually assaulted by MySpace members sued the service in January for failing to safeguard its young members

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