Island Gazette

2,100 NC sex offenders found on MySpace, says AG Cooper

Cooper also seeking information from Facebook
RALEIGH, N.C. : March 10, 2009 - More than 2,100 registered North Carolina sex offenders were found on MySpace, information that  Attorney General Roy Cooper is sharing with law enforcement. 
In response to a subpoena from Cooper, MySpace turned over the names, IP and email addresses of 2,116  convicted North Carolina sex offenders found on its social networking web site.
Cooper has requested similar  information from Facebook, another social network popular with young people.  “It’s no secret that child predators are on these web sites,” Cooper said. “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.” 
In response to discussions with Cooper and other state attorneys general, MySpace became the first social  networking web site to develop technology to find and remove sex offenders from its site. 
Cooper is pushing  Facebook and other social networking websites to take similar steps. 
Cooper helped win a new state law last year that bans convicted sex offenders from social networking sites where  children are members. 
A violation of the measure, which took effect December 1, 2008, is a felony.  At Cooper’s request, the State Bureau of Investigation has shared information about North Carolina sex offenders  found on MySpace with all 100 sheriffs in North Carolina. 
Under state law, convicted sex offenders are required  to register with their local sheriff’s office.  Cooper has asked his SBI Computer Crimes Unit, which leads the NC  Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, to work with the sheriffs to use this information to help keep  communities safe.  
His office has also shared this information with probation officials from the Department of Correction for use in  identifying violations by probationers who may be barred from using a computer or contacting minors. 
MySpace says that the sex offenders it has identified have been removed from the web site. 
The information  provided by MySpace does not include sex offenders who have not been convicted, are not registered, or may be  using aliases on the site. 
Cooper remains concerned about other sex offenders on the site who may be lying about  who they are, and is continuing to ask MySpace to do more to protect children on its site. 
For more than three years, Cooper and Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal have led a group of  Attorneys General who are pushing to make social networks safer, winning landmark national agreements with  MySpace and Facebook in 2008.  They are pushing social networks to use technology such as age and identity  verification to better protect children. 
Source: North Carolina Department of Justice. 

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