DENVER – Colorado Attorney General John W. Suthers today announced that MySpace has voluntarily agreed to take several significant steps to better protect children on its web site, including the development of age- and identity-verification technology. The agreement was struck between the social networking site and the Attorneys General of 48 states after nearly two years of negotiation.
“This agreement demonstrates what can be accomplished when the public and private sectors work together to accomplish a public safety objective,” commented Attorney General Suthers. “With this agreement in place, parents will be further empowered to protect their kids online.”
Under the agreement, MySpace will create an Internet Safety Technical Task Force to explore and develop age- and identity-verification tools. MySpace will invite other social networking sites, age- and identify-verification experts, child protection groups, and technology companies to participate in the task force. The task force will report back to the attorneys general every three months and issue a formal report with findings and recommendations at the end of 2008.
In addition to age verification technology – considered the keystone of the agreement – MySpace has agreed to several additional safety improvements, including:
- Hiring a contractor to compile a registry of email addresses provided by parents who want to restrict their child’s access to the site. MySpace will bar anyone using a submitted email address from signing-in or creating a profile.
- Making the default setting “private” for profiles of all users under the age of 18.
- Providing a means of reporting abuse on every content-containing page, and also allowing users to easily categorize the type of offensive content at issue. MySpace will acknowledge abuse reports within 24 hours and will report back to consumers within 72 hours of receiving complaints.
- Committing more staff and resources to review and classify photographs and discussion groups.
MySpace also agreed to implement the following:
- Strengthened software identifying underage users;
- Retaining a contractor to better identify and delete inappropriate images;
- Regularly severing any links between Myspace and any pornographic web sites;
- Implementing changes making it harder for adults to contact children;
- Dedicating meaningful resources to educating children and parents about online safety;
- Creating a closed, high school section for users under 18.
The negotiations were led by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper and Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, co-chairmen of the executive committee.