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updated 9/8/2011 12:19:59 PM ET 2011-09-08T16:19:59

A father in Northern Ireland is suing Facebook for allowing his 12-year-old daughter to post sexually explicit photos of herself online.

The BBC reported that the man, whose name remains undisclosed, said Facebook is "guilty of negligence" for not preventing the girl from posting sexually explicit photos of herself. By letting her bypass its age restrictions, Facebook created "a risk of sexual and physical harm" to the girl, her father alleged in a Belfast court on Monday (Sept. 5).

(Facebook requires members to be over 13, but it has no checks in place to determine if account holders are telling the truth about their age.)

"My own personal view is that Facebook isn't suitable for under-18s, but the company isn't even able to uphold its own policy of keeping under-13s out," Hilary Carmichael, the father's lawyer, said. "An age check, like asking for a passport number, would be a simple measure for Facebook to implement."

Along with the racy photos, the girl made personal details public on her profile, including where she lived and what school she attended, details that could make her, or anyone, vulnerable to real-world security threats.

Carmichael said the girl was not completely off the hook, as she continued posting pictures on a new Facebook page after her father shut down the original one.

The 12-year-old was in the voluntary care of the Northern Health and Social Care Trust — a social services program — at the time she posted the photos, the BBC said. The trust has been named as a defendant in the suit.

Whatever the outcome of the lawsuit, it highlights a flaw inherent in the giant social network; until those signing up for profiles are made to prove they are of age, there will continue to be kids easily circumventing Facebook's lax security policies.

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