Posted August 6, 2007 9:16 am by with 2 comments

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Many people are concerned that the Internet and Social Media are difficult to control, and an Australian woman, who was a victim of identity theft and harassment online, has spoken out this week.

When men started calling, emailing, texting, and even turning up at her door, Cathy (not her real name) became aware that a bogus MySpace profile had been set up in her name. The site detailed her personal information, alongside suggestive photographs and explicit text, asking anyone interested to contact her.

It’s not clear how often this kind of thing happens (she thought is was her ex boyfriend), but with 3.8 million profiles in Australia alone, it’s likely that there are many more cases like this, though MySpace insists that it does not tolerate this kind of behaviour.

There is currently no specific law in place that targets identity theft downunder leaving police a little perplexed with how to deal with this type of incident.
Cathy’s outcry made the front page of The Sydney Morning Herald yesterday; this is evidence of the general uneasiness that is still felt by many people about social media and the internet.

Adding to this anxiety is the ease with which sex offenders could use social media to communicate with intended victims. Though 29 000 offenders were expelled from MySpace in the US last month, Australia currently has no system in place to track online sex offenders.

With this uneasiness in people’s minds, it’s not surprising that so many Australian businesses are still worried about the ‘uncontrollable’ nature of the internet – Perhaps another good argument for proactive online reputation management??