Facebook Inc (FB), Privacy Laws and Cyber Predators

  on Jul 11,2012 Posted in Featured ,Technology ,U.S. News
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Louisiana has recently adopted a new law which would require convicted sex offenders to disclose their criminal status on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and other social networks before they can sign up.

This is one of the first laws of this kind to be adopted in the United States, according to a CNN report.  According to this ruling, predators must, among other things mention the crime for which they were convicted and under what jurisdiction. They will also have to give their physical description and provide a home address in their profile.

According to CNN, those who violate this law will face a prison sentence of 2 to 10 years without parole. This penalty may also include a monetary fine of up to $1,000. A second offense will generate a penalty of imprisonment for a period of 5 to 20 years without parole and a fine of up to $3,000. The law will take effect August 1.

Facebook Inc (FB), which in many instances has been used by sexual predators, is attempting to modify its regulations to allow children below the age of 13 to create an account under their parents’ supervision. This will make it inevitable for parents and guardians to make regular checks on who their kids are chatting, talking, and sharing personal information with. Facebook provides some privacy settings but they are often ineffective when it comes to protecting minors and this is why students from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel have created a small but very useful application to help parents manage and monitor their kid’s activities on Facebook.

The Social Privacy Protector, as it is called, offers multilayer protection and settings for adults to see who their children are connected with. It helps detects unusual activities by anyone in a network and makes it easier to flag a potential predator and safely unfriend him or her.

There are some other steps you can take to ensure you and your child’s protection while using Facebook. The most important thing is to have your contact information set to private. As you grow your circle of friends on Facebook, it is a good idea to protect your contact information like the phone number and email. Never put your home address on Facebook.

The second most important thing, especially for your child, is to use a buddy or friends list. As the number of contacts grows, the friend’s list feature becomes your number one privacy tool. Facebook describes these lists as a “private group of friends based on personal preferences.” You can create a buddy list of family members, school friends, neighbors etc.

The third most important thing is avoiding photo and video tags. It is very common these days that kids go to a friend’s party and have their photos taken and then somebody uploads those photos on their Facebook account tagging everyone. Before you know it, even people you have never met have seen your photos or videos without your knowledge or consent. There are few settings you can tweak to make your photos and video visible to only those you trust.




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