90,000 Predators Online

Posted by: "Nancy Willard" nwillard@csriu.org nwillardcsriu

Tue Feb 10, 2009 8:13 am (PST)

You might have seen the news. It is exceptionally important that you all
understand what is going on here - and the disinformation that is being

Read this story:
http://www.nytimes. com/2009/ 02/04/technology /internet/ 04myspace. html?

³Almost 100,000 convicted sex offenders mixing with children on MySpace ‹
shown by our subpoena ‹ is absolutely appalling and totally unacceptable,²
Mr. Blumenthal said in a statement. ³For every one of them, there may be
hundreds of others using false names and ages.²

Do the math. The AG apparently can't.

"The disclosure renews the debate of whether social networking sites are a
haven for sex offenders. ³This is just the tip of the iceberg on MySpace,²
said John A. Phillips, chief executive of Aristotle, a company that supplies
identity and age verification technologies for companies like the New York
State Lottery, breweries and film studios."

Check out this guy's company. http://www.aristotl e.com. He has massive
databases of voters that he sells to political candidates. He also uses this
database to provide identification services for adult sites. Now, can any of
you think about why he might be so eager to be able to track VERIFIED
individuals on the social networking sites - being able to merge the
interests, activities, and friendship connections with his voter profiles?
Think of the power that this would give this company - over our democracy!
Oh, yes, on his site, he indicates that he also provides this information to
Homeland Security. No lie: http://www.aristotl e.com/content/ view/48/81/

Also on the same day this article appeared I received a press release from
Phillips, who has set up a site to continue the fear mongering about social
networking sites. http://www.childonl ineprotectionser vice.com/ Due to the
timing, I am quite certain that there was coordination between the two AGs
who are leading this tirade and this guy.

Are you scared enough?

Now look at this article:
http://www.latimes. com/entertainmen t/news/la- fi-myspace4- 2009feb04, 0,5305155

At the very end: "None of the registered sex offenders found on MySpace have
been convicted for actions on the site, Nigam said. Facebook's statement
said no sex offenders had been convicted of wrongdoing on its site either."

I have double checked this with the safety folks at both sites. And this is
in accord with what I heard when I presented on cyberbullying at a
conference for the attorneys general. Some of the registered sex offenders
have violated the terms of their parole or probation by being on the

MYSPACE TO SEXUALLY SOLICIT A TEEN!!! And none of the unknown number of
offenders on Facebook have either!!!

Now from the NY Times story:

"The figure is 40,000 more than the amount previously acknowledged by
MySpace, according to Attorney General Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut,
who along with Attorney General Roy Cooper of North Carolina are among
officials pressing social networking sites to adopt more stringent safety

What better measures do you want than the measures that have resulted in
100% effectiveness? ?? The evidence is clear that the combination of
protective features on the social networking sites, educational efforts, and
the intelligence of teens is working very effectively.

The AGs want the sites to use age and identity verification to require that
EVERYONE who registers on a social networking site verifies who they are -
and to use this to prevent any adult from communicating with any minor. So
the students in high school, when they turn 18, will be considered to
mysteriously turn into potentially dangerous sexual predators and will no
longer be allowed to communicate with their younger peers. And this will
provide protection. WHAT PLANET ARE THEY ON?!

So why should you care?

Because we can't effectively address the real risks to young people online
with such unconscionable deception.

Because this unwarranted fear-mongering by some of the state's attorneys
general is making it far harder for adults to talk with teens about the very
real dangers that do exist online. Why should they trust any of us?

Because this unwarranted fear-mongering is also making it very difficult for
educators to use Web 2.0 technologies - which are essential tools to prepare
students for their future.

I strongly recommend that educators and librarians need to start figuring
out how to take some action on this front. I recommend that you work within
your state professional associations to make a statement about this that you
can sent to your state's attorney general. I would be happy to provide you
with any background - grounded in excellent reports. We have to some how
stop this nonsense.

Feel free to send this message to others.

Nancy Willard, M.S., J.D.
Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use
http://csriu. org
http://cyberbully. org
http://cyber- safe-kids. com
http://csriu. wordpress. com
nwillard@csriu. org

Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats: Responding to the Challenge of Online Social
Aggression, Threats, and Distress (Research Press)

Cyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy Teens: Helping Young People Learn to Use the
Internet Safely and Responsibly (Jossey-Bass)