State Wants to Further Regulate Online Dating

Criminal background checks could be coming to online dating sites that operate in Illinois

Thursday, Jan 26, 2012  |  Updated 3:13 PM CDT
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State Wants to Further Regulate Online Dating

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Criminal background checks could be coming to online dating sites that operate in Illinois under two separate but similar proposals introduced in the Illinois House and Illinois Senate.

In addition, the sites would need to post a variety of safety tips, ranging from warnings that background checks are not foolproof to suggestions not to put a home address on the website, the Chicago Tribune reported Thursday. Many sites already post such advice.

If companies don't follow the law they face fines of up to $50,000. Similar Illinois House legislation seeking to regulate online dating stalled six years ago. Other states, including Texas and New Jersey, have online dating legislation.

State Sen. Ira Silverstein, a Chicago Democrat, said his legislation would give consumer protection measures to dating sites. State Rep. Michelle Mussman, a Democrat from Schaumburg, introduced the other bill this week.
 
"They're offering a service," Silverstein said. "There should be some due diligence."
 
However, State Rep. Jim Sacia, a Republican from Pecatonica and former FBI agent, said he would oppose the proposal unless online dating services said they would use background checks done by law enforcement.
 
"My greatest fear would be the false sense of security," Sacia said.
 
Two well-known online dating websites, Match.com and eHarmony, said they screen subscribers against public sex offender registries.

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