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Should Date Sites Screen Out Sex Offenders?

April 19, 2011, 11:47 AM
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What's the Latest Development?

Match.com says it will now screen for sex offenders after a California woman sued it after a post-date rape by a man who turned out to be a convicted sex offender. Sam Biddle applauds the fact that the site will start the screening and says its competitors must follow, even though screening is messy and highly flawed.

What's the Big Idea?

Screening out sex offenders sounds right in theory but how would it work in practice and how far should it go? As Biddle notes, not everyone on the national sex offender registry—where Match.com will check up on potential users—is a rapist. "Balancing privacy and precaution is going to be hard. Like we said, blacklisting the entire registry might be overly harsh given the varying nature of crimes and characters, while branding them all as predators on the site is absurd and fascistic. ...Neither the internet nor sex will ever be totally safe, but companies that can minimize the creep factor, should."

 

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