msnbc.com news services
updated 5/15/2007 7:56:43 PM ET 2007-05-15T23:56:43

Popular online social network MySpace says it has identified, removed and blocked “a few thousand” user profiles of convicted sex offenders among its 175 million profiles on its service as part a previously announced program to protect its youth members from adult predators.

The action comes a day after eight U.S. attorneys general demanded the News Corp.-owned company hand over the offenders’ names and addresses and to delete their profiles.

In a statement, MySpace’s chief security officer said state and federal laws prohibit the Web site from sharing such information.

“We are doing everything short of breaking the law to ensure that the information about these predators gets to the proper authorities,” the security officer, Hemanshu Nigam, said in the news release.

The statement did not specify which laws MySpace would break by handing authorities the information, and a call to the company was not immediately returned.

In December, MySpace announced it was partnering with Sentinel Tech Holding Corp. to build a database with information on sex offenders in the United States.

Software to identify and remove sex offenders from the site has been used for 12 days, and MySpace has “removed every registered sex offender that we identified out of our more than 175 profiles,” Nigam said.

In a letter Monday, attorneys general from North Carolina, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania asked MySpace to provide the number of registered sex offenders using the site and where they live.

MySpace and other social networking sites allow users to create online profiles with photos, music and personal information, including hometowns and education. Users can send messages to one another and, in many cases, browse other profiles.

MySpace’s policy prevents children under 14 from setting up profiles, but it relies on users to specify their ages.

© 2013 msnbc.com

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