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MySpace donates tools to block predators

/ Source: The Associated Press

The social-networking site has donated technology it helped develop to identify and block sexual predators from online communities.

The company, a unit of News Corp., said it will donate its Sentinel Safe database software to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. MySpace has been developing the program with Sentinel Tech Holding Corp.

The program promises to let Web sites to identify convicted sex offenders and bar them from their online communities, although it might not catch those who sign up under false names.

Sentinel Safe contains information on the estimated 600,000 registered sex offenders in the United States and is designed to receive updates from state sex offender registries. The tool is used by MySpace security officials who monitor profiles on the site and match identities against the database, then remove suspect profiles.

The donation of the technology to the center is meant to help law-enforcement officials with missing-children cases and other child-related investigations.

MySpace has increased its efforts to police its growing site after complaints from parents about sexual predators using the popular community to contact underage children. Those efforts include hiring a former federal prosecutor to head an expanded security team.

This week, the company also said it would back new legislation to require sex offenders to register their e-mail and instant-messaging addresses with the National Sex Offender Registry. The information would be made available to sites such as MySpace to compare with user profiles.