Feeds

MSN torches chatrooms

'Increasingly being misused'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

MSN is to ditch its chatroom service next month in 28 countries as part of an effort to protect children online.

The company says it is making the move because online chat services are "increasingly being misused" by spammers and paedophiles. It is closing chatrooms throughout EMEA, much of Latin America and Asia. MSN is retaining unsupervised chatroom services in the US, Canada and Japan, but for subscribers only. In these countries, MSN sells Internet access, so it has names and account details, enabling it to patrol the chatrooms more effectively.

Fear is growing that paedophiles are using chatrooms to "groom" young children. Earlier this year, for example, the Home Office announced a £1 million advertising campaign to warn children and their parents of the dangers of paedophiles lurking in chatrooms.

MSN UK's chatrooms are to close on October 14. John Carr of the National Children's Homes (NCH) hailed the decision.

In a statement he said: "Here we have the world’s leading Internet service acknowledging that open free un-moderated chat cannot be made completely safe for consumers and children.

"I hope this move will give a huge boost to industry-wide efforts to achieve a safer experience for on-line users.

"Meanwhile I think every other chat provider in the UK is going to have to reflect on how, or indeed whether, they continue with their own open access chat services."

But the move has raised an eyebrow or two at the UK's biggest ISP, Freeserve, which argues that MSN's actions will result in chat becoming less safe.

A spokeswoman said: "We're very surprised MSN has made this move and are disappointed that they have decided to take this course of action. We know about the potential dangers of chatrooms and that's why we believe all responsible portals should invest in them.

"All MSN is doing is forcing users to go elsewhere, potentially to non moderated chat rooms with little or no protection. It sounds to us like MSN simply doesn't want to make this investment." ®

It's not good to Chat

So why is MSN Israel keeping its chatrooms open?
MSN Chat: It's the child protection lobby wot's to blame - LINX
MSN chat stand is 'nothing short of reckless' - Freeserve
Watch out! There's a chatroom paedophile about
Kids charities demand ID parade for pre-paid punters

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
4chan outraged by Emma Watson nudie photo leak SCAM
In the immortal words of Shaggy, it wasn't me us ... amirite?
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.