from Jenn Shreve:wired.com
Wondering if registered sex offenders with MySpace pages live in your neighborhood?
To investigate, you can search for your city or ZIP code on your state’s online registry. Note: Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, D.C., don’t currently provide this information online. For a list with links, visit the website of Prevent Abuse Now, or the National Sex Offender Registry.
Once you have a list of names, you can go to MySpace.com to search for them. You need to be a member in order to do this. An option enables you to narrow down common names you may be searching for by ZIP code.
Additionally, the monitoring service myspaceWatch.com makes it easy to monitor the MySpace activities of your teenager, as well as up to four others, for $6 a month.
If you’re generally interested in the emerging genre of MySpace-linked crime, a couple of blogs have sprouted up to track down and post the MySpace profiles and other public websites of sex offenders and murderers currently in the news.
MyCrimeSpace and The Dead Kids of MySpace both read like a veritable Who’s Who of putatively perverted sickos on the social-networking site, as well as places like Blogger.com — even though the crimes are often unrelated to the individuals’ online activities.
After Kevin Ray Underwood of Purcell, Oklahoma, was discovered last Friday with the mutilated body of a missing 10-year-old girl in his apartment, both sites quickly posted links to Underwood’s MySpace page and two blogs. Underwood’s profile now comes up as “currently under maintenance” on MySpace, though his image and basic information are still returned in a search query, and his two blogs remain live.
While these online perp-watchers certainly boost the impression that sites like MySpace are crawling with violent offenders, they don’t necessarily indicate a security problem. For one, MySpace can’t possibly anticipate its users’ crimes and mete out justice Minority Report-style. Though for public relations reasons, MySpace may need to start purging the profiles of the newly notorious much faster.