MySpace has been advocating that governments require sex offenders to register their online identities. On Monday, it may have found its first ally in that fight: Robert McDonnell, the attorney general for the state of Virginia.
McDonnell plans to push for such legislation in his state, and if passed, it would be the first of its kind in the country. MySpace hopes that these laws are passed nationwide, claiming it would make its job of finding online predators much easier.
The company announced last week that it was introducing technology to help it identify and block online predators. At the same time, it warned the measure would only be moderately effective, and legislation was needed to ensure it was catching as many offenders as possible.
"We require all sex offenders to register their physical and mailing addresses in Virginia, but in the 21st century it is just as critical that they register any e-mail addresses or IM screen names," McDonnell said in a statement.
With lists of the e-mails used by these individuals, social networking sites would be able to block them from registering on the site in the first place. Penalties for falsifying information would be the same as if they did it with their physical or mailing address.
However, not everyone seems to believe that such legislation would have much effect. Critics point out that many cases of sexual misconduct are committed by first-time offenders, and thus would not be listed in the database.
Others disagree, saying any effort helps in the fight. Either way, the law would be fairly likely to pass, as previous laws regarding the registration of sex offenders have been approved with little resistance.