Aristotle Calls for NewsCorp to Sell MySpace and Disclose Any Liability Risk from Contacts Sex Offenders May Have Had With Children Using the Social Networking Service

NewsCorp 'Not Fit' to Manage Sensitive Data

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- John Aristotle Phillips, CEO of Aristotle International Inc., a global leader in online identity verification, called today for NewsCorp Chairman Rupert Murdoch to sell the company's MySpace subsidiary. Phillips also asked NewsCorp to disclose precisely how records of tens of thousands of sex offenders on the social network were handled, as well as liability estimates the company could face as a result of such offenders' conduct on MySpace. NewsCorp, through its affiliate, EPartners, owns 13% of Aristotle International. Lawrence (Lon) Jacobs, Senior Executive Vice President and Group General Counsel of News Corporation (Nasdaq: NWS, NWSA), was appointed as EPartners' representative on Aristotle's Board of Directors last year.  Phillips also is a shareholder of NewsCorp.

"When Aristotle announced that Lon had joined our Board, it was my hope MySpace would come clean.  We believe MySpace must notify parents whether their children have been contacted by a registered sex offender on the service and must make all records available for analysis by law enforcement as well as child safety researchers to the fullest extent permitted by law," said John A. Phillips, CEO, Aristotle.  "Now it appears MySpace is stonewalling, hoping the scandal will just go away.  This kind of tactic is consistent with the business practices of other NewsCorp divisions that have recently led to hundreds of millions of dollars in lawsuit settlements[1]."

Phillips maintains that NewsCorp should sell MySpace, as past practices suggest the Company is not fit to properly manage sensitive data.  "Given the large number of predators still trolling the social networking site, a detailed explanation of what MySpace is doing with the records of any contacts predators may have had with children is required," Phillips added.

In 2008, in agreement with 49 state Attorneys General, MySpace acknowledged that identity authentication tools are vital to protecting children from online predators and inappropriate content and agreed to take several specific actions. These actions included commitments to:

Develop an e-mail registry. Parents may submit children's email addresses to the registry and MySpace will restrict access from users of those addresses

  • Respond within 72 hours to consumer complaints of inappropriate content or activity and specify the steps taken to address them.
  • Dedicate additional resources to better identify and remove inappropriate content and develop monitoring software for parents.
  • Establish a 24-hour hotline to respond to inquiries from law enforcement.
  • Provide adequate resources to ensure that all reasonable efforts are made to explore and develop identity authentication technologies.

Phillips anticipates that NewsCorp will eventually sell MySpace if a buyer can be found willing to assume whatever risks or liabilities might flow from the activities of sex offenders using the site.

"MySpace could have taken the steps to notify any parents whose children were contacted by convicted sex offenders, and by changing terms of service to allow greater disclosure of sex offenders' conduct.  That's what a responsible company with responsible management would have done.  To my knowledge, they didn't, presumably afraid of the negative publicity.  It's reprehensible," Phillips concluded.

About Aristotle International

Aristotle also 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.

About Integrity

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. Aristotle's technology platform 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. More than 50 million consumers have had their identities verified with Integrity when transacting with global Fortune 1000 companies, government agencies and merchants.

[1] For information relating to recent NewsCorp lawsuit settlements click link below: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/01/business/media/01suit.html?scp=2&sq=news%20corporation&st=cse

SOURCE Aristotle



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