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Will Internet Dating Safety Act & Craigslist Changes Make Internet Safer?

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Dangers of Online Dating by Don Hankins on Flickr

Dangers of Online Dating by Don Hankins on Flickr

This past week, entities in both the public and private sphere have taken steps that may make the Internet a safer place.

To wit, New York may soon become the second state in the country (after its neighbor New Jersey) to pass a law that requires Internet dating sites to warn their customers about potential dangers of using their services. The Internet Dating Safety Act would mandate that such sites include advice to online daters, including to “never include your last name, e-mail address, home address, phone number, place of work and any other identifying information in your Internet profile or initial e-mail messages.”

According to the new law, users would also be advised to meet their potential love matches in a public place and use their own transportation. The law would also require the disclosure as to whether a criminal background check has been performed on the site’s users.

In the private sector, Craigslist has recently removed its “adult services” section from the site, putting up a “censored” label in its place; some view this as a positive step in the fight against online prostitution, but others question the true motivations behind the move. As The New York Times reports, use of the word “censored” “suggests that the increasingly combative company is trying to draw attention to its fight with state attorneys general over sex ads and to issues of free speech on the Internet.”

What do you think about these actions? Will they help prevent crimes related to online dating and other offline meet-ups between strangers?

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September 7th, 2010 at 10:34 am