In a case of mistaken identity, MySpace has deemed a University of Colorado student a sex offender and dumped her profile, reports Wired News
According to ABC News, 29 year-old Jessica Davis was falsely accused of being a sex offender and kicked off MySpace. Davis appealed to MySpace hoping to clear her name and get her profile back.
"I want to inform you that I am NOT a sex offender, let me repeat my self (sic), I am NOT a sex offender. You have the wrong person and I'm horrified and appalled at such an accusation," wrote Davis, an English major who lives outside of Boulder and hopes to attend law school. "I would like to know where you got this information and would like this matter cleared up ASAP."
The apparent confusion came because an actual sex offender shares Davis' name and has a birthday exactly two years and two days from Davis'.
Sentinel - the company that runs the sex-offender filtering program for MySpace said it was proper for Davis to be flagged.
"It was so close," Sentinel CEO John Cardillo told ABCNEWS.com. "It was one of those rare instances where there was nothing else we could have done but flag her. If we get an offender and I'm looking at a date of birth that's two days off, we're going to assume were dealing with the offender."
Cardillo would not say exactly what pieces of information Davis had to provide to clear her name, citing trade secrets that could help sex offenders beat his database. He added that the experience is likely isolated and may help prevent the same type of snafu from happening again.
But Wired's Kevin Poulsen notes that anything less than human review of the flagged profiles is unethical and likely to result in false positives.
When I performed my MySpace sex offender survey, it took manual inspection to distill 744 confirmed matches from thousands of computer-generated leads. I wouldn't label someone a "match" if their ages were different, unless the photographs were clearly of the same person, and the location matched. Since Davis and her sex offender name-alike don't resemble each other, it appears that MySpace isn't taking the same care.