Within the past few years I’ve tried to stop posting stories that happen outside the US because I don’t live there. It’s not some jingoistic thing. I just feel if I’m ignorant of the country’s culture I have no business posting about it. However this story should speak to not only parents in the Western world but to those of us who believe that personal responsibility is a dying concept.
In Northern Ireland a man sued Facebook for allegedly allowing his 11-year-old daughter to open multiple Facebook accounts and post suggestive photos of herself on those accounts. She was said to have been approached by at least one predator who has now been legally restrained from contacting her. As you may know Facebook’s terms of service state that users have to be 13 in order to join Facebook.
You would think that in a world that made sense the lawsuit would be thrown out of court. Maybe the laws regarding this in the UK are different from those in the US, like their libel laws, because Facebook actually settled for an undisclosed amount. In my opinion this assclown just got a payday for not doing the job of a parent.
Unfortunately no social network or app is going to do any kind of real age verification because that would be bad for business. The goal for these companies is to have as many users as possible. If a company like Facebook were to even charge a dollar to verify age a huge chunk of its userbase would leave in droves. The article mentions that maybe in Europe they could use passport numbers as age identifiers but then Facebook has our passport number. Facebook doesn’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to privacy so I’m sure many people would not want Facebook to have that information.
So instead we have to do our jobs as parents and what our children do online with either their computers or smartphones. If I had to hazard a guess there was not a lot of monitoring going on here until it was already too late and now someone got paid off for their own negligence.
Blumenthal, lawmakers want age verification rules for MySpace.com:
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has unveiled some proposed legislation in regards to age verification on MySpace.
Under the proposal, any networking site that fails to verify ages and obtain parental permission from parents to post profiles of users under 18 would face civil fines up to $5,000 per violation. Sites would have to check information about parents to make sure it is legitimate. Parents would be contacted directly when necessary.
It would probably just be cheaper for the sites to take the $5K fine then have to verify the parental information for every user under 18. And what about parents who don’t want their personal information online?
Speaking of parents there’s still no proposed legislation in Conn. for lax parenting.
Attorney General Calls MySpace Sex Offender Registry “False Security Blanket,” Renews Call For Age Verification:
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has issued the following press release in regards to MySpace donating a sex offender database to the NCMEC.
“MySpace’s sex offender data base is a false security blanket that ignores and distracts from the real problem – sexual predators not yet caught and convicted trolling for victims. This data base does nothing to protect children from sexual predators still eluding criminal authorities or who lie about their ages and identities while using MySpace. A data base may actually create a false sense of security and comfort that the site is free from predators.
“Protecting children is too important for MySpace to continue taking feel-good baby steps. Without age verification, the problems will continue. Age verification is a must.
“Age verification will help protect kids from the towering danger of sexual predators and inappropriate material on MySpace. The web site and its parent company need to stop making excuses and introduce age verification, as well as raise its minimum age to 16.
“Age verification for users 18 and older using publicly available data is easy and effective. MySpace can confirm the ages of younger users by requiring information from a parent or guardian.
“Our coalition of states continues to grow, reaching 39 last week. I will continue to help lead this powerful and growing coalition in pressing MySpace to introduce age verification. We will consider every available option, including possible legal action, if the site continues to resist age verification.”
I still don’t hear him offering any real solutions. He can form as many coalitions and make as many calls for age verification he wants. Any form of age verification out on the internet today can be circumvented. Is he going to propose any legal action against lax parents who leave their kids roam the internet unattended? Instead of going after MySpace maybe he needs to keep the myriad of sex offenders from The Constitution State behind bars to keep them from reoffending. Just do a search on this site for Scott Shefelbine or David Leonard to see what I mean.
Mr. Blumenthal, stop being a politician and be a prosecutor.