Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

How safe is online romance?Lawmakers want dating sites to disclose background check information
southbendtribune.com ^ | 3 28 05 | DAVID EGGERT

Posted on 03/29/2005 5:19:01 AM PST by freepatriot32

March 28, 2005

How safe is online romance?

Lawmakers want dating sites to disclose background check information

By DAVID EGGERT
Associated Press Writer

State Sen. Alan Cropsey, R-DeWitt, shown during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting March 15 in Lansing, is sponsoring a bill that would require an Internet dating service to disclose prominently on the Web site whether it had conducted criminal background checks on users.

AP File Photo



Online dating safety

Some tips when meeting people through Internet dating:

  • Start slowly. Communicate by e-mail at first, looking for signs of the other user's behavior. Trust your instincts.

  • Guard your anonymity. Sites often allow correspondence to occur through a double-blind system, allowing you to protect your true identity until you decide to reveal it.

  • Request a photo. A picture serves as a means of identification, which can be helpful in getting a sense of a user.

  • Talk on the phone first.

  • Meet only when you are ready.

  • Meet in a safe, public place. Tell a friend where you are going and give your contact information. It is better not to have the person pick you up at your place, so take separate cars at first.

  • If you're comfortable after your initial meeting, then you can gradually give your companion more information.

    Sources: Match.com and True.com

LANSING -- Sandie Cornillie did a double take when she first heard about a bill that would force online dating sites to say whether criminal background checks have been conducted on their members.

The 46-year-old divorcee from Portage prefers finding dates on the Internet over visiting the local bar or relying on a friend to play matchmaker. The Web is less intimidating, more convenient and arguably safer, she said.

"It's a very safe way of getting to know someone before we meet face to face," said Cornillie, who has tried online dating for five years. "I haven't met any rapists or any crazy people. It's kind of up to you to be careful."

Some lawmakers, though, say that as online dating becomes more popular, users need better protection from predators. Twenty-six million people visited dating sites in January, according to the Internet research firm Nielsen/NetRatings.

The Senate is considering legislation that would require an Internet dating company serving Michigan residents to disclose on its Web site whether it has conducted criminal background checks on users, based solely on the names provided.

A provider also would have to disclose the limitations of background checks and urge members to adhere to safe dating practices.

Republican Sen. Alan Cropsey of DeWitt is sponsoring the bill.

"There are inherent dangers in the whole area of the Internet," he said. "Something needs to be done."

The measure has divided the Senate, and the split is not solely along party lines. A Senate panel voted 4-3 to ship the bill to the full chamber, with one Democrat joining three Republicans in support. Two Democrats and one Republicans voted "no."

Backers say just posting the background-check disclosure would go a long way toward boosting awareness of the possible dangers of meeting people online. Learning that other users are not known criminals would provide a sense of security. They say knowing that checks have not been done would arm users with valuable information.

But critics -- including most online sites -- say any feeling of security would be deceptive because there is no way to ensure people give their real names.

Some wonder if government can effectively regulate the Internet, and some users such as Cornillie worry sites would pass on the screening costs to them. Others question whether the bill is being pushed mainly for financial gain.

The legislation is backed by True.com, the only online dating service that performs criminal screening. Similar legislation has been proposed in five other states: California, Ohio, Virginia, Florida and Texas.

True.com, a relative newcomer to the industry, cites incidents where people have been shot, stabbed or scammed by dates they met online.

Herb Vest, founder of the site, said the Michigan legislation would save lives, property and heartache.

"As an industry, we owe it to our members to inform them of the potential hazards," he said.

Detractors, however, say the measure blatantly favors True.com and argue that the free market should drive demand for background checks, not the government.

Match.com spokeswoman Kristin Kelly said the company just facilitates an age-old process -- meeting people -- with new-age technology. Users still take the same precautions as those who meet people in a bar, she said.

"Safety in dating, that's a concern for everyone," Kelly said. "You're meeting someone new for the first time. You have to be cautious. But if we get too far down the path of paranoia, we don't see what point that serves."

Residents don't want Michigan to become a "nanny" state, she said, arguing that meeting people online is no less safe than meeting in a restaurant or at a party.

Similar legislation passed the House last year before stalling in the Senate. Its chances for success this time are unclear.

In a debate on the floor last week, Democratic Sen. Mark Schauer of Battle Creek said some lawmakers are wavering because users still could hide their shady pasts by using fictitious names.

"That's a fundamental flaw with this bill," he said.

But Cropsey said the main goal is to heighten awareness about the possible dangers of meeting people online.

The Senate could vote on the bill in April.



TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy; US: Michigan
KEYWORDS: background; check; dating; disclose; govwatch; how; information; internetdating; is; lawmakers; libertarians; michigan; online; privacy; rinowatch; romance; safe; sites; to; want
Wow between the republians protecting us from online dating sites and the democrats protecting us from eeeeeeevil video games Michigan has got to be the safest state in the nation to live.Why I bet you can walk through detroit at 2 am friday night with hundred dollar bills just falling out of your pocket and not have to worry about anything at all.

Just how are the rino P.O.S's going to enfroce this law anyway?Will they send the michigan state police to californnia to arrest the owner of inernet dating sites that dont post background info ?Or will they fly the state police to manila to arrest the owner of filipinalove.com for not posting the background info on the WORLD WIDE web?

1 posted on 03/29/2005 5:19:05 AM PST by freepatriot32
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Annie03; Baby Bear; BJClinton; BlackbirdSST; BroncosFan; Capitalism2003; dAnconia; dcwusmc; ...
Libertarian ping.To be added or removed from my ping list freepmail me or post a message here.
2 posted on 03/29/2005 5:19:57 AM PST by freepatriot32 (If you want to change goverment support the libertarian party www.lp.org)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: freepatriot32

He reminds me of someone but I just can't place it.

3 posted on 03/29/2005 5:23:50 AM PST by Rebelbase (Accused Culture of Death member.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: freepatriot32

I can't wait for Orrin Hatch to sponsor similar federal legislation. /semi-sarcasm


4 posted on 03/29/2005 5:24:32 AM PST by peyton randolph (Warning! It is illegal to fatwah a camel in all 50 states)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: freepatriot32

Background checks aren't going to be allowed to disclose what kind of anti-depressants a dating site participant has been prescribed, so the whole thing remains a big gamble. There is no way to legislate the risk out of an inherently risky activity.


5 posted on 03/29/2005 5:28:34 AM PST by Mr. Jeeves
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Rebelbase

6 posted on 03/29/2005 5:28:57 AM PST by LibertarianInExile (The South will rise again? Hell, we ever get states' rights firmly back in place, the CSA has risen!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Rebelbase
I hate to say it. But I will. Jar Jar Binks.


7 posted on 03/29/2005 5:29:31 AM PST by Jet Jaguar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Mr. Jeeves

Sure there is. Require men to be given injections of estrogen until they're married. That'd probably do the trick.

Of course, then we'd end up acting like a bunch of French pusses...but that's the ultimate objective of these POS nanny-state legislators anyway.


8 posted on 03/29/2005 5:30:58 AM PST by LibertarianInExile (The South will rise again? Hell, we ever get states' rights firmly back in place, the CSA has risen!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Jet Jaguar; Rebelbase
I admit it--Jar Jar is a better likeness.


9 posted on 03/29/2005 5:32:57 AM PST by LibertarianInExile (The South will rise again? Hell, we ever get states' rights firmly back in place, the CSA has risen!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: freepatriot32
Why I bet you can walk through detroit at 2 am friday night with hundred dollar bills just falling out of your pocket

I have walked through downtown Detroit at 2 a.m. - very interesting experience. Everyone figures if you are out on the Detroit streets at 2 a.m., you must be a real bad m*f* and will leave you alone. Just walk with good posture and don't make eye contact with anyone and you are usually o.k.

10 posted on 03/29/2005 5:33:24 AM PST by doc30 (Democrats are to morals what and Etch-A-Sketch is to Art.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: freepatriot32

Crikey, how safe is romance OFFLINE?


11 posted on 03/29/2005 5:34:01 AM PST by hang 'em (The chickens are finally coming home to roost on Ward Churchill's head.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: freepatriot32

99.9% of internet relationships are simple, normal relationships, the .1% of internet relationships that go wrong, wind up being written up as a newspaper article.

99.9% of non internet relationships (boy meets girl etc) are simple normal relationships, , the .1% that go wrong NEVER wind up in the newspaper.

66.34% of all statistics you read on the internet are made up on the spot by the author.


12 posted on 03/29/2005 5:34:04 AM PST by Lokibob (All typos and spelling errors are mine and copyrighted!!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: freepatriot32

eHarmony - for when you want to meet that special someone with no felony convictions on their record.


13 posted on 03/29/2005 5:35:51 AM PST by LanPB01
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: freepatriot32

Internet Dating was good to me. I met a few good women that were interested in relationships and met a lot of women interested in only a weekend fling (these were good also). I was always open and honest with the women I chatted with on these sites and they all new about recent stint in prison long before we met face to face.

Honesty is always better than lying.


14 posted on 03/29/2005 5:36:00 AM PST by speed_addiction (Ninja's last words, "Hey guys. Watch me just flip out on that big dude over there!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: LibertarianInExile
Require men to be given injections of estrogen until they're married.

They've already found a simpler way to do the same thing - market soy products as "health food". ;)

Sadly, you pretty much have to assume that people willing to post detailed profiles of themselves on major dating sites are psychologically messed up. Internet dating is one of those good ideas that just has too many rough edges yet to be viable.

15 posted on 03/29/2005 5:36:07 AM PST by Mr. Jeeves
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Lokibob

What a simple and normal relantionship, like.


16 posted on 03/29/2005 5:36:24 AM PST by lillybet
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Rebelbase

He reminds me of a cross between Tony Blair and Kermit the Frog gone terribly wrong.


17 posted on 03/29/2005 5:36:48 AM PST by LanPB01
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: hang 'em

really scary


18 posted on 03/29/2005 5:39:19 AM PST by lillybet
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: freepatriot32

I met my husband of ten years the "old fashioned" pre-computer way; through a newspaper ad. I'm surprised those haven't been banned as well.

Stupid legislation. You pays your money and you takes your chances. The way things are portrayed in the media, everyone's a freak and we should all be living in individual caves, never interacting with our fellow wo/man.

Why don't these Elected Representatives of the People put more time, money and effort into protecting kids on-line from pedophiles? Has anyone missed that there have been three abductions in the past week alone, let alone how many "sting" operations that caught pedophiles in the act?


19 posted on 03/29/2005 5:40:18 AM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Rebelbase

Moe? on the Simpsons.


20 posted on 03/29/2005 5:59:47 AM PST by iconoclast (Conservative, not partisan.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: speed_addiction

I think wether you meet a person face to face or the first time or on the net, NO ONE is going to reveal there whole life story to you? it takes time and trust with that person, people just need to be careful in how they meet anyone for the first time..Serial Killers like Ted Bundy and Kenneth Bianchi met women face to face some who trusted these killers just by talking to them innocently.

Meeting people for the first time no matter how you meet them takes time before any trust can happen it needs to build up..

That's my 2 cents....


21 posted on 03/29/2005 6:06:02 AM PST by missyme (The Cosmic Effect of some Freepers...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Rebelbase
He reminds me of someone but I just can't place it.

Seperated at birth?

22 posted on 03/29/2005 6:10:47 AM PST by Lazamataz (Cleverly Arranging 1's And 0's Since 11110111011...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Lazamataz

Haw!


23 posted on 03/29/2005 6:17:29 AM PST by martin_fierro (Fierro-san)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: Lazamataz

LOL


24 posted on 03/29/2005 6:18:14 AM PST by cyborg (Sudanese refugee,"Mr.Schiavo I disagree with your opinion about not feeling pain when you starve.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: freepatriot32

I have a better idea. Pass a law in Michigan requiring single women to avoid men completely.


25 posted on 03/29/2005 6:33:53 AM PST by NoControllingLegalAuthority
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Lazamataz

Very good likeness.


26 posted on 03/29/2005 6:34:35 AM PST by Rebelbase (Accused Culture of Death member.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: freepatriot32

You know, this makes sense. Otherwise you'd have folks like Scott Peterson getting marriage proposals.

Oh, wait........


27 posted on 03/29/2005 6:36:13 AM PST by Larry Lucido (We miss ya, Indie! Law Enforcement Against Prohibition - http://www.leap.cc)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: freepatriot32
Image hosted by Photobucket.com



Laws to protect these little ones should be first in line.



.
28 posted on 03/29/2005 6:40:22 AM PST by Idisarthur
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: missyme

Good post. People need to learn how to read non verbal communication, which is hard with the internet but not impossible if you keep up with the details shared. When there are red flags you have to learn to trust your instincts. I had a couple of bad experiences with online dating and have sworn it off for me. I do know people who have met online and are happy as a lark though.



29 posted on 03/29/2005 6:49:44 AM PST by CajunConservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: CajunConservative

Agree....People have had good and bad experiences wether meeting a person on-line or in-person. You can meet a person in a bar they can either be a half way decent human being or a rip roaring drunk.

Use your instincts..
I can tell you after being on FR 2 years there are some folks I can see myself being friends with in-person, then there are some that would be an absolute NIGHTMARE to meet in person! LOL...

Actually I did meet one freeper in person and we have turned out to be pretty good friends..


30 posted on 03/29/2005 6:57:42 AM PST by missyme (The Cosmic Effect of some Freepers...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: hang 'em

Crikey, how safe is romance OFFLINE?
---

Good point. We should require background checks before issuing marriage liscences. /sarc

stupid useless, big government wacko politicians... grrr


31 posted on 03/29/2005 7:59:58 AM PST by traviskicks (http://www.neoperspectives.com/foundingoftheunitedstates.htm)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: freepatriot32

Alan Cropsey's behind this one?? I didn't expect this from him.


32 posted on 03/29/2005 8:45:18 AM PST by Dan from Michigan ("Mama, take this judgeship off of Greer, he can't use it, anymore")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Mr. Jeeves

Not just anti-depressants. I would also be looking at serial divorces, serial restraining orders (either directions), membership in radical organizations, etc. BTW, what I have listed are of course disqualifying criteria. After one very bad experience (she went extreme psycho), I would almost prefer running a background check of the same magnitude of a Q clearance.


33 posted on 03/29/2005 9:54:26 AM PST by Fred Hayek
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: freepatriot32

Please add me to the Libertarian ping.


34 posted on 03/29/2005 9:55:34 AM PST by Extremely Extreme Extremist (Harmful Or Fatal If Swallowed)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: missyme

I have some friends who have used match.com and have met some very nice people. They did meet a few who were married, however.


35 posted on 03/29/2005 9:59:39 AM PST by ladyjane
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: Extremely Extreme Extremist

you have been added welcome aboard


36 posted on 03/29/2005 10:16:24 AM PST by freepatriot32 (If you want to change goverment support the libertarian party www.lp.org)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: LanPB01
eHarmony - for when you want to meet that special someone with no felony convictions on their record.

eHarmony - Loser Central for $50 a month.

37 posted on 03/29/2005 10:37:24 AM PST by Hillary's Lovely Legs (Pedro offers you his protection)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: ladyjane

Yeah, a friend of mine tells me she cannot believe the amount of married people on these single sites... One guy she met who she told me she really liked confessed after the 3rd date with her he was married, she asked him why and the dufus said "because I can, the Internet, Text Messaging was made for Cheaters! She dumped him quick!


38 posted on 03/29/2005 10:45:44 AM PST by missyme (The Cosmic Effect of some Freepers...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: Hillary's Lovely Legs

I've never joined eHarmony, but I took the free online test. Apparently, there are four women in the country that I'm compatible with. Let the good times roll.


39 posted on 03/29/2005 10:57:49 AM PST by LanPB01
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: Hillary's Lovely Legs

How do you know it's Loser Central? How do you know it's $50 a month? LOL ;)


40 posted on 03/29/2005 11:06:40 AM PST by ladyjane
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: ladyjane

A friend wanted me to sign up. I saw the profiles and the price and couldn't stop laughing.

Or was it crying?


41 posted on 03/29/2005 11:08:56 AM PST by Hillary's Lovely Legs (Pedro offers you his protection)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: CajunConservative
I had a couple of bad experiences with online dating and have sworn it off for me.

I think the important part is to keep it light during online discussion, and put off most off the real communication until you've met a few times. Don't invest too much of yourself until you know the person. Online communication spawns pseudo-intimacy.

42 posted on 03/29/2005 11:14:33 AM PST by technochick99 (Self defense is a basic human right ; Sig Sauer is my equalizer)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: Rebelbase

43 posted on 03/29/2005 11:14:41 AM PST by Hi Heels (Now Andy, I ain't got time for them trivial trivialities...Barney Fife)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: freepatriot32

I think the net is a pretty good place to meet people. Some will be nice, some will be slime. But you can get that result at the local Parents without Partners or Toastmasters or the Tavern down the street-even Church can yield some clinkers. The guy I'm dating now, and have dated for six years, I met while playing bridge online. Nicest guy I've ever met. Don't tell him I said so, though.......


44 posted on 03/29/2005 11:19:56 AM PST by Hi Heels (Now Andy, I ain't got time for them trivial trivialities...Barney Fife)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: technochick99
I think the important part is to keep it light during online discussion, and put off most off the real communication until you've met a few times. Don't invest too much of yourself until you know the person. Online communication spawns pseudo-intimacy.

That is true. I just have had too many experiences with the pathological liars or married fellas just looking for a good time to invest in any online relationship at this time. I could change my mind later but right now I am sticking to local yahoos. LOL I at least can check out their family and friends and make sure they are on the up and up.

45 posted on 03/29/2005 11:45:38 AM PST by CajunConservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

To: Fred Hayek

I know what you mean. They have guy psycho's too. It's not just online either. There are some really bad people out there lol.


46 posted on 03/29/2005 11:51:22 AM PST by CajunConservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: Lazamataz

Heh...

That's Rather Good...


47 posted on 03/29/2005 11:57:57 AM PST by MWS (Errare humanum est, in errore perservare stultum.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: Lokibob

You're lowballing on that 3rd stat IMO. I bet it's closer to 76.335%


48 posted on 03/29/2005 6:36:54 PM PST by perfect stranger
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson