Chapell & Associates

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Background checks split matchmaking sites

USA Today - December 12, 2005
A debate among online dating companies over whether their websites should be required to say whether they do criminal background checks on clients has spilled over into state legislatures, a reflection of the websites' rising competitiveness., a Dallas-based online dating service, started the ruckus in July 2004 when it began touting its criminal background checks and wrote proposed legislation that would force online dating sites to say whether they conduct such checks. The proposal has been considered by legislatures in California, Virginia, Ohio, Texas, Florida and Michigan, but none has passed it.

The Chapell View
OK - just for the record, I'm not doing the online dating thing anymore. (I'm pretty sure my girlfriend reads this blog every now and again.) But if I WAS, I'm not sure I'd want them to be doing a background check on me. In order to do anything other than a cursory (read: ineffective) background check, I'd need to provide my Social Security number, my date of birth and maybe even a driver's license number. None of that information belongs in the data banks of Tickle or Match, or any of the other dating sites as far as I'm concerned. Other reasonable people may feel differently, but that's a LOT of info.

What seems to be missing here, is that the world is a dangerous place. No amount of background checks, and no amount of security measures are going to protect everyone. As they say, bad things happen to good people. And no amount of security is going to prevent every and all disasters.

What concerns me about background checks (other than the obvious privacy issues) is that some people may use those checks as a substitute for their own common sense and good judgement.

DON'T agree to meet him after only one email.

DON'T meet her in for the first time in her apartment or other private place.

DON'T give him your credit card number.

DON'T.... Don't... don't
posted by Alan on Tuesday, December 13, 2005

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