Faced with legal demands from state attorneys general, MySpace.com said Monday it will release data on registered sex offenders it has identified and removed from the popular social networking Web site.
The company, citing federal privacy laws, initially rebuffed a demand from North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper and colleagues in seven other states who last week asked for data on how many registered sex offenders are using the site and where they live.
MySpace agreed Monday to provide the information to all states after some members of the group filed subpoenas or took other legal actions to demand it. The company said last week such efforts were required under the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act before it could legally release the data.
“Different states are going about it different ways,” said Noelle Talley, spokeswoman for Cooper, who filed a “civil investigative demand” for the information.
“Many of these sex offenders may have violated their parole or probation by contacting or soliciting children on MySpace,” Blumenthal said.
“We developed ’Sentinel Safe’ from scratch because there was no means to weed them out and get them off of our site,” said Mike Angus, MySpace’s executive vice president and general counsel.
Angus said the company, owned by media conglomerate News Corp., had always planned to share information on sex offenders it identified and has already removed about 7,000 profiles, out of a total of about 180 million.
“This is no different than an offline community,” he said. “We’re trying to keep it safe.”