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MySpace has refused to act on demands from eight US states that it hand over user data which they say will help catch predatory paedophiles.

Citing federal privacy laws, MySpace said the attorneys general who made the demand had not followed proper legal process. Security chief Hemanshu Nigam told AP: "We're truly disheartened that the attorney generals chose to send out a letter...when there was an existing legal process that could have been followed."

In the letter on Monday, North Carolina, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Pennsylvania asked MySpace to provide information about registered sex offenders who use the site.

MySpace's legal department said a letter won't cut it, and under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act the attorney generals need to pony up with subpoenas, court orders, or search warrants if they want data.

Nigam said a recent trawl meant MySpace had "removed every registered sex offender that we identified out of our more than 175 million profiles". In December, it hired Sentinel Tech Holding to track its sex offender users, after a run of bad press over incidents involving the site.

"Everybody needs to get together and delete online predators," Nigam said. "The attorneys general's concerns and our concerns are exactly the same." ®

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