This is a great article from the Philadelphia Inquirer about how MySpace’s ‘pact’ with the Attorneys General is pretty much useless. Who says so? Why Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett says so.
That’s because the safety barriers it prescribes depend largely on MySpace subscribers’ truthfully reporting their ages when creating online profiles. And it offers no reliable means of identifying or policing the suspected millions who do not.
“I’ve been arguing this point for more than a year now,” said Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett, who considers the agreement more blueprint than panacea. “Age verification has been the number-one issue for us from the very beginning.”
Until that nut is cracked, no set of guidelines can keep 12-year-olds from registering their virtual selves as adults, or stop 60-year-old creeps from masquerading online as high school cheerleaders.
Yet none of the Attorneys General have come up with a realistic way on how to verify age on the internet.
The article also at the very end prescribes to common sense.
But police say the best security of all is a vigilant parent – one who knows a child’s passwords, monitors his online friends and activities, and keeps the computer in a public area of the home. Some even buy spyware that can record their kids’ online conversations and Web visits.
“A lot of parents don’t want to do that because they don’t want to invade their kids’ privacy,” said Montgomery County Detective Ray Kuter, an Internet-crime expert. “I say, ‘You are the parent. You need to decide what to do.’ ”
“Parents,” Kuter said, “are the best monitoring program we know of.”
The police know this why don’t the Attorneys General?