MySpace bolsters defenses, faces sex predator suit|
MySpace.com, the top online teen hangout, said on Tuesday it will bolster protection for minors amid a flurry of complaints about sexual predators prowling the site and a lawsuit filed on Monday by a teenage girl charging it with negligent security practices.
By next week, members over 18 years old would have to know the e-mail or first and last name of any 14- to 15-year-old member whom they want to contact, the company said.
Any of MySpace's more than 85 million members would also be able to choose to hide their online profiles from strangers and only make them viewable to pre-approved friends, the company said.
"We're going to build a foundation of safety and security so that social networking is a safe place and a well-lit community," Hemanshu Nigam, chief security officer of News Corp. unit Fox Interactive Media, told Reuters.
A 14-year-old girl from Austin, Texas, on Monday sued MySpace and its owner, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., for $30 million, saying she was sexually assaulted by a 19-year-old man she met on the site.
The suit charges the company with failing to take enough precautions to protect minors from sexual predators.
MySpace said it was reviewing the lawsuit, and had for several months been developing safety measures that would make it more difficult for strangers to contact minors using the site.
The company is scheduled to present its plans on Thursday at an event sponsored by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
The social networking site, where teens post elaborate profiles of their lives and interests, meet new people and share their taste in new music, has become one of the Internet's fastest growing properties since News Corp. purchased it for $580 million last year.
The purchase made Murdoch the toast of Wall Street at a time when rivals fretted about losing television viewers and newspapers readers to the Internet and video games.
But its early success has been tempered by reports of sexual predators on the prowl for children on the site. In March two men were arrested in Connecticut and charged with having illegal sexual contact with young girls -- one 11 years old and the other 14 -- they contacted through MySpace.
The minimum age for MySpace membership is 14, the company said, but the requirement is hard to enforce with existing technology, Nigam said.
The Texas suit "alleges that MySpace.com had full knowledge that sexual predators were contacting young children on the Web site but did nothing to stop it," according to a statement by law firm Barry & Loew LLP, which is representing the girl.
A News Corp. spokeswoman said the company had no immediate comment on the charges.
In response to the March attacks and subsequent public outcry, MySpace in May hired Nigam, a former prosecutor against Internet child exploitation at the U.S. Justice Department, to lead security efforts.
MySpace said its advertising policy will also be altered to target appropriate age groups. For instance, ads for mature online dating sites will not be presented to minors.
Intel To Dismiss A Thousand Of Its Managers|
The computer chip producer Intel announced it has had an issues with its inefficient management structure and said it dismissing 1,000 managers.
Google Adwords Puts Higher Advertising Bids
Gogole Adsense advertisers face higher minimum bids for their keyword content targeted campaigns withing the serch engine network.
McAfee apologizes for not publicizing fix
A leading computer security company, McAfee Inc., fixed a dangerous design flaw months ago in its flagship technology for managing protective software in large organizations but did not warn businesses and U.S. government agencies until Friday.
Mining For Data In Blogs
Blogger Anthony Citrano wants to gain insight into those who visit his Web sites. So he signed up for FeedBurner Inc.'s TotalStats service to gain details from RSS feeds on the information readers come to read.
Microsoft files 26 U.S. piracy lawsuits
Microsoft Corp. has filed 26 lawsuits accusing U.S. companies of selling pirated software, the latest move in its ramped-up efforts to boost sales by cracking down on illegal copies.
Samsung, Sony bet on new LCD panel
A new joint flat-screen production line by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Sony Corp. is expected to generate $2.3 billion in annual sales by 2008, producing 50-inch class TV panels, Samsung said on Tuesday.
AT&T launches box with Web, satellite
AT&T Inc. is launching a satellite TV set-top box Wednesday that also connects to the Internet for movie downloads, reinforcing the phone company's push into video services.
Amazon.com draws fire from Humane Society
The Humane Society of the United States is threatening a lawsuit against Amazon.com Inc., saying the online retailer is violating federal law by selling two magazines that promote cockfighting.
Microsoft joins with Nortel to sell businesses on VoIP phone systems
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on Tuesday heralded a new strategic alliance with telecom equipment maker Nortel, formed to pursue an ambitious goal.
Sony to launch advanced HD camcorders
Sony Corp. is to launch two models of high-definition camcorders that record images onto DVD discs and hard disk drives, the first camcorder maker to offer such products, the company said on Wednesday.