It’s been almost two years since women’s safety advocates began pushing online dating sites to begin screening their customers against available info for registered sex offenders. Yesterday, the operators of a handful of the most popular dating sites signed an agreement to do their best with the information they have access to.
The folks at Match.com, eHarmony and the Spark Networks (which includes JDate and ChristianMingle), along with California Attorney General Kamala Harris, signed a “joint statement of business principles” [PDF] that details some of the efforts the companies will take to identify sex offenders and potential identity theft scammers.
The agreement also makes note of the limits these companies face in trying to screen for registered offenders:
While sex offender screening can be a useful safety tool, such screening tools have many limitations which impact their efficacy. However, the providers will use tools and technologies to identify sexual predators, including checking sex offender registries when the providers possess the requisite information to conduct such checks, and, when identified, remove registered sexual predators from participating in fee-based services on their websites…
What we find interesting is that while Match.com is part of the agreement, it does not include Chemistry.com or OKcupid.com, both of which are owned by Match.com’s parent company IAC. We’ve previously tried to get a comment on this topic from IAC but none of our e-mails were ever returned.