A New York Times story this week exposes a nationwide lobbying campaign by online dating site True.com to promote new regulations that would require dating sites to disclose whether they do criminal background checks on new members. True.com would have you (and legislators) believe that criminal background checks are an effective way to keep criminals from stalking their prey online.
Sounds sensible enough, until you realize that a convicted criminal would never use his real name when registering at an online dating site.
In fact, the language that the True.com lobbyists are trying to slip past unsuspecting legislators does nothing to deter online predators. It would only benefit True.com by getting state governments to suggest that background checks offer meaningful protection. True.com wants desperately to create that impression in order to lure more customers and justify their $50 monthly fee. But it’s really just a clever attempt to get cheap headlines and dupe lawmakers into endorsing a True.com promotional campaign.
Moreover, True.com’s bill would actually endanger the dating public by giving them a false sense of security, when they should be carefully screening and scrutinizing potential dates.
At first glance, politicians anxious to pander to constituents worried about sexual predators might find something attractive about bills like the one True.com is pushing in New Jersey, Florida, and Illinois. Let’s hope that legislators aren’t fooled by the false promises behind True.com’s propaganda.