MySpace can now expel sex offenders

“Sex offenders have no business joining
social networking communities – especially
those with teenage users – and our
legislation will help keep them out.”

Social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook can now trace and expel potential sexual predators under new law requiring sex offenders to submit all identifying Internet information along with home addresses.

Under the law, signed yesterday by President George W. Bush, registered sex offenders must submit all e-mail addresses, instant messenger names or other online identifiers for inclusion in the National Sex Offender Registry.

The U.S. attorney general will make that information available on a database where approved Web sites can cross-check their users’ information and weed out any potential predators, said New York Sen. Charles Schumer, who introduced the original bill.

Under the law, sex offenders not providing all Internet information face the same penalty as those who fail to register their home address – up to 10 years in prison.

“Millions of teenagers log on to Web sites like MySpace and they, and their parents, shouldn’t have to worry about running in to these predators online,” Schumer said. “Sex offenders have no business joining social networking communities – especially those with teenage users – and our legislation will help keep them out.”

Many child advocacy groups and other social networking sites, including the American Family Association, MySpace and Facebook have also endorsed the legislation.

“We at Facebook are very pleased that Congress has acted to enhance sex offender reporting requirements and give us access to data that will supplement our robust safety systems,” said Chris Kelly, chief privacy officer at Facebook.

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