Cooper claims sex offenders on MySpace

March 10, 2009 8:04:40 PM PDT
Attorney General Roy Cooper says a subpoena has revealed 2,100 North Carolina registered sex offenders were using MySpace.He's requesting similar information from Facebook.

“It’s no secret that child predators are on these web sites,” Cooper said in a news release sent to the media. “Turning over information about these predators to law enforcement helps, but MySpace, Facebook and other social networks need to do much more to protect kids online.”

"They can go warn them to say this new law passed and you are not supposed to be on these social networking sites and we'll be watching you," Cooper said.

Cooper says MySpace is the first social networking site to work with him and other state attorney generals to find and remove sex offenders. He wants Facebook and other sites to do the same thing.

Cooper says the offenders were identified by IP and email addresses. MySpace has removed all of them from its site.

"So just because we've gotten registered sex offenders off the site, doesn't mean the sites are perfectly safe for children," he said.

Parent Lamine Givens' 9-year-old son Jason and his little sister are already using the web for school research and to play games.

"I tell them that you never know who is on the other end of the computer," Givens said. "You never give out your name, age, where you live or what school you go to."

A new law passed in North Carolina last year bans convicted sex offenders from social networking sites where children are members. Breaking the law is a felony. Cooper says the State Bureau of Investigation is sharing the MySpace information with local sheriff's departments and the Department of Correction for use in identifying violations by probationers.

"We think it's very important for parents to teach their children to not share private information and for parents to use privacy settings," said Rosie Allen with Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina.

Cooper said he's worried about other sex offenders who may be disguising their identities and continue to use MySpace and other sites.But he says, he will continue to push MySpace and Facebook to do more to keep kids safe.

Ideally, he wants to see technology that verifies your identity. There are some programs out there that use records and school information to confirm your age.


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