Feeds

Facebook defends teen security tricks

No change is good

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

RSA Facebook has defended its privacy protection despite the possibility that this has been circumvented for the first time by an alleged sexual predator.

The teen-tastic site's chief privacy officer Chris Kelly told security experts Facebook offers a robust system to protect identities of its 16 million participants and to exclude pedophiles. Facebook uses a combination of algorithms to spot dodgy traffic with "real-world" social techniques.

He rejected employing technology such Zephyr at MySpace, which enables parents to track their children's name, age and sites visited in MySpace, and objected to emailing Facebook participants about potential dangers online and safety steps as tantamount to spam.

Kelly, speaking during an RSA Conference panel on youth and the internet, offered his re-assurances despite an Illinois man having been arrested the day before for allegedly using Facebook to lure a 15-year-old boy while posing as a teenage girl. He told the Chicago Tribune this was the first time Facebook has been used to contact a minor for predatory reasons

Facebook, of course, made its mark as a network for college students, with participants using university-based email address to access the service.

The site is broadening its catchment pool to include school kids. As most schools don't offer pupils email networks, Facebook has introduced a system where new members can be invited to join - presumably by other students.

Highlighting this system's inherent weakness in keeping out adults, Kelly suggested one way for anxious parents to keep an eye on their teens would be to get their own Facebook profile and "befriend" their child online.

But reports that one in seven children are sexually propositioned online has now propelled politicians to act on social networking sites. Bi-partisan legislation was last week introduced by senators John McCain and Charles Schumer that would force offenders to submit their email addresses and online identities and that would allow social networking sites and law enforcement to detect screen out sexual predators. Facebook, like MySpace, are backing the Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators (KIDS) Act of 2007.

In the meantime, Facebook is working on a set of tips for online safety for use by schools.®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
Carders punch holes through Staples
Investigation launched into East Coast stores
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.