MySpace, Facebook show off tools that can ward off child predators
At meeting of MySpace-formed task force, social networks show how kids are kept safe
Computerworld - MySpace is using technology to analyze whether potential users trying to sign up for the social network may be registered sex offenders, the company's chief security officer said today.
Hemanshu Nigam, who is also the CSO at Fox Interactive Media, described the new system and other measures taken by MySpace to protect children online during a meeting of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force on Wednesday at Harvard University. The task force was created by MySpace as part of a January agreement with a group of state attorneys general to beef up online safety at social networking sites.
The task force is charged with exploring and developing age and identity verification tools for social networking sites.
The task force was formed after a lengthy battle between 49 (minus Texas) of the 50 state attorneys general and MySpace over turning over the names of registered sex offenders who had accounts on MySpace. In July 2007, MySpace said it had identified more than 29,000 registered sex offenders among its users. Facebook Inc. subsequently joined the task force and agreed to work with the AGs on bolstering online safety.
Nigam said that the company's new Sentinel technology looks at various criteria -- like names and images of known sex offenders -- 24 hours a day to ensure they are not using the site.
"We have proactive, zero tolerance for sex offenders," he noted.
He said that this method of aiming to identify potential predators before they have a chance to make contact with any other MySpace user is part of its new proactive approach at online safety.
"[We] don't just do 'notice and take down,' but merge it and combine it with proactive measures," Nigam added. "That should be the ultimate goal -- take care of [potential problems] before you get an e-mail, a call or a complaint."
The company also reviews videos and photos uploaded to the site for nudity, pornography or overt violence, he added. MySpace is trying to deter users from adding such content to the site by telling those posting illicit videos or images that their IP address is logged and could be used in an investigation if the content is found to be illegal.
"We are looking for teachable moments," he added. "When you are uploading images or videos, we put up a warning to let you know that other people can see what you're putting up."
Chris Kelly, Facebook's chief privacy officer, said via a video presentation from the meeting that one of the company's biggest advantages in the quest for online safety is that unlike MySpace, it requires that users use their real name to identity themselves on the site.
- The Critical Incident Response Maturity Journey As organizations rebalance their security defenses to combat today's sophisticated threats, they're recognizing that centralized incident response capabilities are key.
- Advanced Attacks Demand New Defenses Cyber-criminals wielding APTs have plenty of innovative techniques to evade network and endpoint defenses. It's scary stuff, and ignorance is definitely not bliss....
- Securing Mobility, From Device to Network At one time, the process of managing and securing mobile devices and applications was fairly straightforward. Most organizations worried about one application (email)...
- Data Protection eGuide In this eGuide, CSO and sister publications IDG News Service, Computerworld, and CIO pull together news, trend, and how-to articles about the increasingly...
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different....
- Responding to New SSL Cybersecurity Threat The featured Gartner research examines current strategies to address new SSL cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities. All Security White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!