New Jersey Plans to Regulate Internet Dating

Dennis Faas's picture

The New Jersey Assembly has taken another step closer to passing a law to govern Internet dating. The Internet Dating Safety Act has passed its committee stage (where proposed laws are debated in detail) and will now go to the full assembly for a final vote.

The law would affect all dating sites with customers in New Jersey. The key requirement of the bill is for sites to inform customers whether or not they run background checks, and whether or not people who fail such checks are still allowed to sign up.

This information would appear on every email sent to or from a customer in the state on all profiles of members living in New Jersey. (Source: - PDF)

However, critics say the proposed law won't achieve its aims because the definition of a background check is too lax. Presently, it only requires a name-based search for felony convictions, which could easily be evaded by people signing up under a fake name. There's no requirement for more rigorous checks involving dates of birth or social security numbers.

Tech writer Joel Hruska says sites prominently stating they've run such a simple check "could create a false sense of security and actually lead to a greater number of potentially dangerous encounters." (Source:

It could be argued legislators should target their efforts towards social networking sites which are more likely to put children at risk than dating sites. A recent investigation found 744 registered sex offenders had accounts on Myspace. (Source:

New York's Attorney General launched an investigation into Facebook after claims it was failing to protect children from solicitation by sexual predators. (Source:

The New Jersey law may be of some benefit, but it won't replace the common sense most adult daters must already apply when meeting new people.

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