Wednesday, July 05, 2006

MySpace, a place without MyParents

Scott Granneman had a terrific article at SecurityFocus on Monday about the current hysteria surrounding MySpace.

" Like, ohmigod! Have you heard? About MySpace? LOL

MySpace is the second most popular web property in the world...

But, like, have you heard? There are sexual predators, pedophiles, murderers, bullies, tramps, sharpies, and frauds on MySpace! The children are at risk! Just visit MyCrimeSpace or The Dead Kids Of MySpace and you'll find a bellyful of stories that will scare the willies out of you...

Folks, we are in the midst of a mass hysteria. The media has found the latest way to drive readers and ratings: the good ol' fashioned gumbo stew of children and teens, sexuality, murder and death, new technology, and fear. Lots and lots of fear. Fear that freaks out parents and those in authority and leads to bad decisions made in the name of security.

Look, I know there are really bad people using MySpace to do really bad things. If its criminal, they should be caught and punished. But I also know that there are really bad people in the grocery stores, at the movie theaters, in parks, and even on the other end of the phone...

We can sure try to educate kids and parents and schools about MySpace, but I'm just not certain how effective we're ever going to be. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try, but it also means that we can't expect perfect success. Any time you allow humans to come into contact with each other, there's the potential for exploitation. That doesn't mean disaster is guaranteed, however. It just means that we need to try to keep a cool head and not allow blind emotion and fear to cloud our better judgments. "

Update: ARCH has some recommended reading the the subject of child protection and welfare and surveillance. "Of major concern to large numbers of practitioners is that it will become far more difficult to find those children who need to be found if an already understaffed and poorly-resourced system is over-burdened with alarms and excursions about children who are not in any danger. Child protection is a deadly serious business, and is in no way the same as 'child welfare'. It deserves a great deal more than relegation to just one possible category in a large-scale tracking project."

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