What do you expect MySpace to do?

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In response to criticism over adult/child contact, MySpace is instituting some new security measures:
In trying to allay the public, MySpace.com, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., put in place Wednesday added security for 14- and 15-year-old members, new options for privacy settings for all members and restrictions on ad placements to teens.

"MySpace is committed to innovating new product features to heighten online safety, particularly in the area of 14 to 15 year olds," Hemanshu Nigam, chief security officer for MySpace.com, said in a statement. "In addition to technology innovation, MySpace remains dedicated to a multi-pronged approach that also involves education and collaboration with law enforcement, teachers, parents and members."

MySpace.com recently hired Nigam, a former federal prosecutor against Internet child exploitation for the U.S. Department of Justice, to oversee its child protection measures.

The added security features include preventing a person 18 or older from contacting a member under 16 years old, unless he knows either the email address or first and last name of the minor.

I understand that people are concerned that adult "predators" will contact children on MySpace, but it's hard to believe that this is really going to work, depending, as it does, on voluntary compliance on both sides. If you're an adult looking to have sex with children (illegal, remember) then it's not like you're going ot mind lying about your age. On the flip side, if 14 and 15 year olds want to talk to adults and be taken seriously (which I remember wanting to do when I was under-16) they're likely to lie about their age, no? Absent some sort of externally verifiable age verification system, it's hard to believe that MySpace can really do much enforcement.


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