Wednesday, June 21, 2006

MySpace lawsuit

A 14-year-old Texas girl and her mother have filed a $30 million lawsuit against, saying the site "fails to protect minors from adult sexual predators." The girl was sexually assaulted by 19-year-old Pete Solis after meeting him through the popular Web site.

Lawyer Adam Loewy, who is representing mother and daughter, says ""MySpace is more concerned about making money than protecting children online." The lawsuit contends that the site does nothing to confirm the age of its users and that measures currently in place to protect users under 16 from being contacted by strangers is "utterly ineffective."

Lauren Gelman, the associate director of the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, takes a different view, saying she doesn't think MySpace is responsible for what users choose to do away from the site. "If you interact on MySpace, you are safe, but if a 13-year-old or 14-year-old goes out in person and meets someone she doesn't know, that is always an unsafe endeavor ... we need to teach our kids to be wary of strangers."

Ironically, MySpace has announced that it will now require members 18 years or older to know the e-mail or full name of any 14 or 15-year-old member they wish to contact. (Thanks to Cyberspastic for the info.) Not surprisingly, various safety experts say the changes will do little to stop online predators.


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