Tuesday, January 15, 2008

myspace and age verification

MySpace announced yesterday that they were working with attorney generals from 49 states in a "landmark partnership" to "protect children , purge predators and expunge inappropriate content including pornography." The New York Times story I linked to points out the obvious flaws in this approach, including the ease with which people can get new email addresses, etc.

Connecticut’s attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, seems to be generating most of the quotes. A bit of Googling also reveals that he has been attempting to get similar concepts put into legislation. I wonder who his technical advisers are, because they could be leading him astray. After all, what happens when MySpace still has problems despite Bluementhal's statements?

The next question is how other online services will respond. Will they implement similar approaches? MySpace is going to hire a contractor to scan their content, which could be an incredibly expensive proposition.


Yolto.com said...

Hi, Cory,

What would you suggest? We are working on this issue these days and everything boils down to:

1. PARENTS should be establishing accounts for their children. There are several 'centralized' or 'decentralized' solutions for that.

2. Parents MUST be properly verified before they will be allowed to do that.

3. If .gov requires us all to watch for certain people they MUST provide us with an easily accessible database of those people... Is it within the framework of the law at all?.. I wonder.

Could you please give us all your personal take on this subject?

Anonymous said...

Since when did the onus on parenting cease to be with the parents and become with the companies? I suppose that the only real life correlation is the sale of cigarettes and alcohol, or the use of a seat belt in a car. For the former the onus is on the store to request the appropriate age verification, and the latter is on the parents of the child. Either way, there are always going to be instances of abuse. I just think that if parents don't know what their children are looking at on the internet then they are culpable, and using the screen as a free babysitting service.