In response to many recent challenges and articles in both the mainstream press and the blogosphere, MySpace has hired a Chief Security Officer, according to the New York Times today:
Because of concern by parents and school and law enforcement officials that the site sometimes unwittingly makes young people vulnerable to child pornographers or predators, the company has hired Hemanshu Nigam, director of consumer security outreach and child safe computing at the Microsoft Corporation, to oversee safety, education and privacy programs and law enforcement affairs.
Mr. Nigam also served as a federal prosecutor against Internet child exploitation for the United States Department of Justice, an adviser to a Congressional commission on online child safety, and an adviser to the White House on cyber stalking.
MySpace has come under a significant amount of scrunity over the past few months due to its incredibly rapid growth and ease of use – making it the leading blogging/social networking site for teenagers. Unfortuantely, some in the media and public safety communities have taken this opportuntiy to attack MySpace as a dangerous place for children.
The reality is that MySpace isn’t any different than any other blogging site out there – whether it’s Typepad, Blogger, LiveJournal, Xanga, or even a MovableType or WordPress blog running on cheap shared hosting – disclosing too much personal information can put one at risk. That risk is really no different today than it was ten years ago with free hosting at Geocities.