Last month three of the largest online dating websites – eHarmony, Match.com, and Spark Networks – along with California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris issued a Joint Statement of Key Principles of Online Dating Site Safety, in which they espoused the importance of background checks on dating website members in an effort to avoid making dating site members vulnerable to sexual predators. The statement also aims to protect online dating website members from identity theft and scams.
Last week the Illinois Senate passed legislation that would require online dating websites that offer services in Illinois to clearly disclose whether or not they conduct criminal background checks on all members. The bill also would make it so online dating sites must disclose whether they admit members who have criminal records, and use government databases, including criminal court records and sex offender registries.
If it passes, those who are found to be in violation of the law could be fined up to $50,000 per violation. The measure, just like the joint statement issued last month, is indicative of a trend in social networking and online dating – where people often get to know each other before they even meet face to face – to take more precautions to make sure members are kept safe.