Thierer Says Online Safety Principles Are Step in Right Direction
WASHINGTON D.C. - Today in New York City, social networking website operator MySpace.com announced a joint effort with America's Attorneys General aimed at better protecting children online. MySpace and the AGs unveiled a "Joint Statement on Key Principles of Social Networking Safety" involving expanded online safety tools, improved education efforts, and law enforcement cooperation. They also agreed to create an industry-wide Internet Safety Technical Task Force to study online safety tools, including a review of identity authentication technology.
Adam Thierer, Senior Fellow and Director of The Center for Digital Media Freedom at The Progress & Freedom Foundation had the following comments regarding the joint announcement:
"This partnership between MySpace and the Attorneys General, along with the establishment of the Task Force, is a giant step forward in the right direction. The principles in the agreement represent a model code of conduct for the entire industry. Other social networking sites would be wise to adopt similar policies and safeguards. I look forward to the coming year as industry partners have the opportunity to transform their safety standards to what MySpace has already done and continues to do."
Thierer is the author of the PFF Special Report, "Parental Controls and Online Child Protection: A Survey of Tools and Methods." In that report, Thierer documents the many tools and techniques that parents and policymakers can use to better protect children online. Last year, he also authored a major PFF study, "Social Networking and Age Verification: Many Hard Questions; No Easy Solutions," which examined proposals made by several attorneys general to mandate age verification. Thierer had this to say about what the AGs and MySpace proposed today on that issue:
Thierer is available for further comment about today's announcement. Please contact Amy Smorodin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-289-8928.
"The call for an Internet Safety Technical Task Force to study online safety methods and identity authentication tools is a sensible alternative to the rush to mandate age verification, which some AGs were advocating last year. The issue deserves serious examination by experts from academia, the non-profit community, government, and industry."
The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.