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MySpace deal boosts child safety online

US agreement targets sexual predators

"MySpace was happy to engage in these discussions with the attorneys general," said MySpace chief security Officer Hemanshu Nigam, adding that he hopes others in the industry will join the effort.

"We have always believed that it takes a partnership of parents, law enforcement and educators to make progress towards a safer online community. Only by working together can we fully succeed in increasing internet safety for all of our members, and for all other social-networking users," said Hemanshu, who is also CSO for Fox Interactive Media, the News Corp division that houses MySpace.

Absent from the list of state attorneys general was Greg Abbott from Texas, who takes issue with several points included in the agreement with MySpace. In a letter sent on Monday to MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe, Abbott characterised the joint statement's measures as 'remedial' and as a 'starting point rather than a point of conclusion.'

"The protective steps memorialised in the joint statement improve online safety and security, but still fail to adequately protect child users," Abbott wrote in the letter.

"Adding his signature to the joint statement could be misinterpreted as an endorsement of the inadequate safety measures contained therein," Abbott wrote, stressing that a major gap is the absence of an effective age-verification system.

Abbott also criticised the statement for being vague, especially about the specific steps MySpace must implement 'to promote and facilitate' cooperation with law enforcement agencies.

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