State wants to require age verification for MySpace

Bill would require sites to verify users' age and get parental permission.
Written by ZDNET Editors, Contributor
All the warnings, pamphlets and assorted educational pep talks about the dangers of social networking are apparently not keeping kids safe for minors. The Connecticut state legislature is taking matters into their own hands. It's proposing a bill to require MySpace.com and other social-networking sites to verify users' ages and obtain parental consent before minors can post profiles, reports the Associated Press.
"The technology is available. The solution is financially feasible, practically doable," said Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. "If we can put a man on the moon, we can check ages of people on these Web sites."

The proposed bill would penalize social networking site $5,000 per incident for failure to verify a user's age and obtain parental permission. Sites would have to check information about parents to make sure it is legitimate.

MySpace has more than 100 million registered users and does require them to specify their age, but many teens lie about their age when registering. The proposal is in response to several high profile cases where underage minors had sexual encounter with an adults they'd met on MySpace.

In a statement Wednesday, MySpace Chief Security Officer Hemanshu Nigam said the company is committed to protecting teens online but does not believe the proposed bill is the best way to do that.

"We have and will continue to focus considerable resources on developing effective ways to make our site safer. Attorney General Blumenthal's proposal, while well intentioned, is not the answer," he said.

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