Age Verification Expert Named Senior Advisor to Aristotle CEO; NewsCorp General Counsel Joins Board of Directors
Appointments Create Opportunity for NewsCorp to Address Child Protection Deficiencies
WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Aristotle International Inc., the global leader in online identity verification, announced today that age verification expert Michael Colopy will rejoin the company as Senior Advisor to CEO John Aristotle Phillips. Colopy, formerly Aristotle's Senior Vice President for Communications and Government Affairs, will now aid the company's efforts in promoting responsible online child protection through use of robust age and ID verification technologies. Aristotle also notes that Lawrence (Lon) Jacobs, Senior Executive Vice President and Group General Counsel of News Corporation (Nasdaq: NWS, NWSA) has joined the company's board of directors.
"We are pleased that Michael, a long-time advocate and thought-leader on Internet safety and security, is returning to Aristotle and being joined by Lon, an active member of the entertainment and online industries," said Phillips, CEO of Aristotle International. "Combining Michael's credibility as an industry expert with Lon's experience as a respected executive of NewsCorp's multi-billion dollar enterprise, which includes MySpace, is extremely beneficial to Aristotle and serves to strengthen our leadership position in the age and identity verification space."
Aristotle's technology platform, Integrity, is the most widely accepted identity and age verification service deployed for instantly verifying government-issued IDs for citizens of 152 nations. The service operates across various platforms, including online, interactive voice response (IVR), wireless and other mobile devices.
"Michael will contribute to all Integrity business operations with respect to improving online child protection and reducing fraud across a variety of industries via adoption of efficient and effective age and ID verification technologies," said Phillips. "This also includes building mutually beneficial relationships with non-profits and commercial organizations as well as state and federal officials who share a common goal - the protection of our youth."
Jacobs' addition to the board follows Aristotle's public questioning of NewsCorp over the handling of more than 90,000 Registered Sex Offenders (RSOs) on MySpace, NewsCorp's flagship social networking site. Since that time, the issue of sex offenders on social networks has continued to receive media scrutiny - including yesterday's announcement by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) that an additional 3,533 RSOs from his state were identified on social networking sites because they used email addresses registered in accordance with New York's Electronic Security and Targeting of Online Predators Act (e-STOP). MySpace had reportedly deleted the accounts of the first 90,000 registered sex offenders. Rupert Murdoch, Lon Jacobs and NewsCorp received numerous inquiries from parents, through an Aristotle-sponsored website (www.childonlineprotectionservice.com), asking if their children had been contacted by sex offenders on MySpace.
"Attorney General Cuomo's announcement of thousands more sex offenders just from New York alone, identified because they used their registered email addresses, leaves open the question of how many more New York state offenders are prowling these sites under assumed names and unregistered emails. And because the newly released number is only for New York, and also doesn't include predators who aren't using their real names, it is obvious that social networks are still infested with offenders nationwide." Thus, said Phillips, "Aristotle renews its call for MySpace to take the lead by notifying parents if their children have been contacted by a registered sex offender, and by making all records available for analysis by law enforcement and child safety researchers, to the fullest extent permitted by law. Clearly, whatever MySpace did before was not sufficient. Given the large number of predators still trolling these sites, a full, coherent explanation of what MySpace is doing with the complete records of any contacts these predators may have had with children is required. A straight answer from Rupert Murdoch on this is certainly the minimum that parents, the public, and law enforcement are owed. MySpace will be closely watched, and anything short of that standard this time is inexcusable. This is such an important issue that if MySpace will not do this, then I believe that government hearings or subpoenas would be appropriate. The same goes for the other social networks."
"We are looking forward to Lon's continued input on how to protect and increase shareholder value at Aristotle. Hopefully, this will include a role for Aristotle in protecting minors on social networking sites. Furthermore, as he is a representative of one of the major American film studios, the board is eager to consider Lon's ideas for keeping the eyes of children off of restricted film trailers," added Phillips.
The production of R-rated trailers, also known as "red band" trailers, by film studios as an online marketing tool has exploded in popularity in recent years. Although the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rules prohibit the screening of restricted trailers to minors, some trailers - including Fox Searchlight's 2009 release Miss March featuring extensive profanity as well as description and depiction of numerous sexual acts - are posted on multiple sites online without an age gate.
"Fox is one of the few major studios not placing its redband trailers behind age gates. Such widespread distribution of Fox redband trailers with the full knowledge or approval of Fox executives is particularly offensive in view of recent pleas to the FCC for greater protection of content produced by his media empire," said Phillips. "We agree with the MPAA that the FCC and Congress 'cannot let the anonymity of the Internet become a cloak behind which people think that unlawful conduct can continue unabated.'"
"While I am disappointed that his employer, NewsCorp, has not done more in the past to protect children from sexual predators and age-inappropriate material, Lon should be a valuable addition to our board," added Phillips. "It is my expectation that this regular, high-level contact between our companies will encourage NewsCorp to be much more vigilant and forthcoming, while creating value for Aristotle's shareholders."
Aristotle is a privately held company. A NewsCorp affiliate, EPartners, owns 13% of Aristotle International. Mr. Jacobs was appointed as EPartners' representative on Aristotle's Board of Directors.
About Aristotle International
Aristotle is recognized as a global pioneer in political technology, providing indispensable tools to those who seek to use the Democratic process to influence decisions at the ballot box. Every occupant of the White House -- Democrat and Republican -- for more than 25 years has been an Aristotle customer, as are many U.S. Senators, members of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Democratic and Republican state party organizations. For information about career opportunities or for client inquiries, go to www.aristotle.com.
Integrity is Aristotle's Identity and Age Verification service utilizing government-issued IDs, among other data sources, to bring instantaneous age and identity verification to life. More than 50 million consumers have had their identities verified with Integrity when transacting with global Fortune 1000 companies, government agencies and merchants.
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