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Terry Goddard Announces MySpace to Adopt Multiple Safety Measures

(Phoenix, Ariz. – Jan. 14, 2008) In a victory for child safety on the Internet, Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced that MySpace has agreed to take significant steps to better protect children on its social networking Web site. The agreement on Key Principles of Social Networking Sites Safety includes the creation of a broad-based task force to develop age and identity verification technology.

"This agreement marks a milestone in collective efforts by Arizona and other states to tackle Internet safety issues,” Goddard said. “Since becoming Attorney General, I have worked hard to make young people, their teachers and their parents aware of the potential dangers lurking on the Internet and emphasized precautions young people should take when visiting social networking sites like MySpace.”

MySpace acknowledged in the agreement the important role that age and identity verification technology has in social networking safety and agreed to find online identity authentication tools. The Attorneys General advocate age and identity verification, calling it vital to protect children using social networking sites from online sexual predators and inappropriate material.

MySpace, with assistance from the Attorneys General, will lead the task force and invite other social networking sites, age and identity verification experts, child protection groups and technology companies to participate in the project. The task force will report back to the Attorneys General every three months and issue a formal report with findings and recommendations by the end of this year.

Other specific changes and policies MySpace agreed to develop include:

  • Allowing parents to send their children’s email address to MySpace and request that MySpace prevent anyone from setting up a profile using that email address.
  • Creating a “private” default setting for profiles of 16- and 17-year-olds.
  • Promising to respond within 72 hours to inappropriate content complaints.
    • Committing more resources to review and classify photographs and discussion groups.
    • MySpace also agreed to:
  • Strengthen software identifying underage users.
  • Retain a contractor to better identify and expunge inappropriate images.
  • Obtain and constantly update a list of pornographic Web sites and regularly sever any links between them and MySpace.
  • Implement changes making it harder for unknown adults to contact children.
  • Dedicate meaningful resources to educating children and parents about online safety.
  • Review its “Report Abuse” icon to determine if it should be modified or replaced.
  • Create a closed “high school” section for users under 18.

Goddard joined 49 states and the District of Columbia in this agreement, culminating nearly two years of discussions between MySpace and the Attorneys General. The states pushed MySpace to make changes after sexual predators repeatedly used the site to victimize children.

Assistant Attorney General Vince Rabago represented the State on this agreement. For more information about Internet safety, please visit the Arizona Attorney General’s Web site atwww.azag.gov. A copy of the agreement is attached.