June 29, 2005

Yahoo! shuts down private chat rooms...

...over sexual exploitation concerns. And rightfully so: Yahoo shuts chat rooms amid child-sex fears

SAN FRANCISCO - Yahoo, the most-used Internet site, has shut down all its user-created Internet chat rooms amid concerns that adults were using the sites to try to have sex with minors.

The giant Internet media company closed down those chat rooms and the ability to create new ones “in the past week,” said Yahoo spokeswoman Mary Osako.


The user-created chat rooms in question, where Internet users converse in real time, had names including “Girls 13 And Under For Older Guys” and “Girls 13 And Up For Much Older Men” and were all listed under “education chat rooms,” Houston television station KPRC reported.


The concern over online safety for children using the Internet has surged with the number of people using the Internet, which allows for anonymous and sometimes hard-to-trace communication and content.

It’s also not the first time that Yahoo has faced the issue of users taking advantage of its free services to lure young children.

A minor and his parents in May filed a $10 million lawsuit against Yahoo and a man who once operated a Yahoo Groups site where members traded child pornography.

Many attorneys argue that the Communications Decency Act shields Web sites from responsibility for material posted by users.

But the lawsuit, filed on May 9 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, charged that Yahoo breached its duties by allowing co-defendant Mark Bates and others to share child pornography on a site, called Candyman, that Bates created and moderated via the Yahoo Groups service.

A child pornography investigation led by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and dubbed Operation Candyman targeted Yahoo Groups users and ultimately resulted in the arrest of more than 100 people in the United States.

Microsoft did this almost 2 years ago...what took Yahoo! so long?

Posted by Kyer at June 29, 2005 12:01 PM