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Do online dating sites do background checks

Given the relative anonymity afforded by Internet communications, some fear that sex offenders and others with criminal pasts may find online dating sites tempting places to meet and establish relationships with future victims.One online dating service provider has recently taken a proactive step in protecting its members from possible harm by conducting a criminal background check on potential members before allowing them to communicate with other members.ARGUMENTS: For: As more and more people turn to online dating services in the hope of finding a compatible person with which to establish a relationship, it is important that such service providers implement safeguards so that members are assured of a safe experience.One step that service providers can take is to conduct criminal background checks to screen potential members for felony convictions and for sexual offenders.The only way to verify a persons identity, and therefore his or her criminal background, is by a fingerprint check or DNA test.A name check is only as good as the name provided by an applicant.But, perhaps more prohibitive than the cost would be the time necessary to complete the background checks.The FBI generally completes a fingerprint check for civil purposes in 24 hours, but that is from the time the prints are received.

Though fingerprint checks would be accurate, they are also expensive.ONLINE DATING SERVICES: CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS House Bill 6234 as passed by the House Sponsor: Rep.Jim Howell Committee: Judiciary First Analysis (10-21-04) BRIEF SUMMARY: The bill would create a new act to require online dating services to conduct criminal background checks and display certain notices and to provide for civil remedies.Contact [name of provider] for information regarding which jurisdictions are included.The criminal background check for each member would have to be updated at least once every 90 days by the online dating service provider.For each member, it would be at the current rate ( for the Michigan Department of State Police to check the state database and for the FBI portion).Since the bill would require the background checks to be updated every 90 days, it would be over 0 a year per member.Obviously, no system is perfect, and not all felons or sex offenders would be accurately identified, but the bill represents an important first step in providing increased safety to Michigan residents who chose to seek companionship through an online service.Against: Most people are not familiar with the differences between the different methods of conducting a criminal background check in order to fully understand and appreciate the warnings required by the bill that would be posted on a service providers webpage.Moreover, an online dating service provider would have to establish a policy on what actions it would take as a result of information obtained through a criminal background check.A copy of the policy would have to be made available to each person applying for membership with the provider.

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