The Utah Attorney General's Office announced today a multi-state deal aimed at making the social networking Web site MySpace a "safer place."

The agreement between MySpace and 49 state attorneys general will make a series of changes aimed at protecting kids from sexual predators who use the site. They include:

• Strengthening software that identifies underage users.

• Retaining a contractor to identify and eliminate inappropriate images.

• Allowing parents to send their children's e-mail address so MySpace can prevent them from creating a profile.

• Updating lists of pornographic Web sites so MySpace can regularly sever any links between the two.

• Creating a closed "high school" section for users under 18.

• Implementing changes making it more difficult for adults to contact children.

• Dedicating resources to educating children and parents about Internet safety.

• Providing a mechanism to report abuse on every content page and respond to complaints within 72 hours.

MySpace also has agreed to create an Internet Safety Technical Task Force, which will work with other social networking sites, and child safety experts. The task force is supposed to provide a report to the attorneys general every three months and a formal report with recommendations at the end of 2008.

"Kids face a real danger on Web sites like MySpace because they never know who they are communicating with online," Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said in a statement this morning. "This agreement recognizes the intentions of MySpace to make improvements but it is my hope that all social networking sites will find additional ways to protect children."

Additional information on Internet safety can be found at the Utah Attorney General's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Web site, attorneygeneral.utah.gov.


E-mail: [email protected]