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Facebook's safety chief responds to KIDS act

Chris Kelly, the social network's chief privacy officer, says that the newly signed law designed to keep sexual predators off social networks is "an important tool."

Facebook chief privacy officer Chris Kelly has put out a statement to the Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act (KIDS), which President George W. Bush signed on Monday along with the Protect Our Children Act.

In short: Facebook supports the act and says it will cooperate with it.

"We see KIDS as an important tool to prevent inappropriate outreach from ever occurring," Kelly wrote in a post on the company blog about the law, which mandates that registered sex offenders have all identifying Internet names, including e-mail addresses, on file with the National Sex Offender Registry. "The penalties and consequences for registrants violating KIDS' provisions are so severe, we hope they'll deter potential predators from coming online altogether. This is a vital step in protecting children online, and it is by no means the end of our efforts."

Kelly continued: "At Facebook, we've long barred registered sex offenders from our service. Currently, we work cooperatively with individual states' attorneys general to check users against state-registered sex offender lists." He's referring to the negotiations that the social network underwent with state lawmakers who claimed that Facebook misrepresents how safe it is for minors.

But, Kelly said, both Facebook and legal authorities "consistently find that these (state) registries lack the essential e-mail and IM data for comprehensive and rapid screening. The process is also less efficient and less effective than anyone, especially concerned parents, would like, which is why we're such ardent supporters of the KIDS Act Registry."

Social network MySpace also supports the KIDS act.