Feeds

MySpace faces barrage of sexual assault suits

Security measures too little too late

High performance access to file storage

Social networking market leader MySpace has been hit with four lawsuits in the US separately alleging that site users were guilty of sexual assault. The families behind the suits are seeking damages of millions of dollars.

Each of the four instances involves sexual assaults which took place between young girls and men that the families say they met on the California-based social networking giant. The company is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

The cases join a year-old Texas suit in which a girl's family is suing MySpace over an alleged sexual assault by a man she is said to have met on the site.

The cases involve teenaged girls from New York, Texas, Pennsylvania and two sisters from South Carolina. None is above the age of consent in her state.

The suits allege negligence, recklessness, fraud and negligent misrepresentation by MySpace. "In our view, MySpace waited entirely too long to attempt to institute meaningful security measures that effectively increase the safety of their underage users," said Jason Itkin, a lawyer representing some of the families. "Hopefully these lawsuits can spur MySpace into action and prevent this from happening to another child somewhere."

MySpace last week introduced monitoring software to help parents keep an eye their children's activities on the site. It said it would release software called Zephyr which will enable parents to see the name, age and location which children claim as their own. It had previously appointed a security chief to oversee site security.

That security officer, Hemanshu Nigam, said the company takes security very seriously. "MySpace serves as an industry leader on internet safety and we take proactive measures to protect our members," he said. "We provide users with a range of tools to enable a safer online experience."

Nigam said that families must share responsibility for the actions of children on the site. He said that users should apply "offline safety lessons in their online experiences and engage in open family dialogue".

MySpace's Zephyr software will not be available until this summer, the company said. It restricts activities according to the age of a user, not allowing under 14s to have an account and anyone under 16 can only display their profiles to listed friends for example, but it relies on people to be honest about their age in the first place. Zephyr will at least allow parents to see what age their children are claiming to be, said MySpace.

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.