, eHarmony, Other Dating Sites To Screen For Sex Offenders

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, 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…

The providers will remind members that the members are responsible for their own safety and offline activities. As noted, because there are limitations to the effectiveness of sex offender screening tools and use of such tools does not guarantee member safety, providers will not promote or publicize sex offender screening tools in a manner intended to lead members to assume that due to the providers’ use of sex offender screening tools, meeting people online is any safer than meeting people any other way. The providers will disclose in the Terms of Use or User Agreements for their websites that members should not rely on sex offender screenings or other protective tools as a guarantee for safety or a replacement for following Safety Tips.

What we find interesting is that while is part of the agreement, it does not include or, both of which are owned by’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.

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