announced today that it will be partnering with Sentinel Tech Holding Corp. to develop a searchable database of U.S. sex offender information.

Through the partnership, Sentinel will build the first national, real-time, searchable, sex offender database to contain detailed background information on the 550,000 registered sex offenders in the U.S. from various federal and state law enforcement agencies. The Sentinel Safe database will be frequently updated with new information and include identifiable details of the convicted sex offenders, such as name, age, physical descriptions including height, weight, eye and hair color, as well as distinguishing features such as scars and tattoos.

We are committed to keeping sex offenders off MySpace,” said MySpace’s Chief Security Officer, Hemanshu Nigam. “Sentinel Safe will allow us to aggregate all publicly available sex offender databases into a real-time searchable form, making it easy to cross-reference and remove known registered sex offenders from the MySpace community. The creation of this first-of-its-kind real-time searchable database technology is a significant step to keep our members as safe as possible.””

(Quoted from Press Release)

Myspace is actively pursuing ways to help keep young members safe but is this really a viable solution or a good path for them to be heading down?

Many registered sex offenders now lead normal lives. They are functioning members of society in good standing except for this skeleton in the closet. Is it fair that all sex offenders be deleted and banned no matter how minor or old their convictions may be? Are we harming these people by not letting them get on with their lives? How would you feel if you were on the registered sex offender list due to an act of poor judgement in your past. This conviction was many years ago and you have since married and are now raising a family. You have a decent job and are living a normal life. Now you are being lumped together with active pedophiles and sex criminals.

Will deleting the profiles of registered sex offenders even help protect children on myspace? Most of the sex offenders using their real name and information on Myspace are probably the type of person I mentioned above. Would an active pedophile really use their real name? Their real age? How many times have we listened to a friend tell us about someone they met online then joked that their online acquaintance is probably a dirty old man pretending to be someone they are not? How will this database and deletion rampage protect children from active sex offenders who are using fake names? What will stop sex offenders who have had their pages deleted from signing up again with false information? By deleting the accounts of sex offenders who have used their real names and information are we encouraging or even forcing them to hide their identities and sign up using false information?

Is this search and destroy method of deleting the Myspace pages of sex offenders going to help the real problem of pedophiles preying on children or is it just going to affect those registered offenders who are now repentant and trying to lead normal lives?

Press Release

Wired Blogs Article

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