Online Personals Watch Exclusive Interview #11 - Senator Cropsey - Online Personals Watch: News on the Online Dating Industry and Business

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Fernando Ardenghi

The Australian State of Queensland passed a law (Act No. 59 of 2001) in 2001 concerning dating services.
They refer to them as "Introduction Agents"

The full version could be downloaded from:

Also see
and search "introduction agents"
The act was amended in 2004
Amendments included Effective Notes
1 none 17 February 2003
1A to 2003 SL No. 143 1 July 2003
1B to 2004 SL No. 13 12 March 2004
1C to 2004 SL No. 103 1 July 2004


Fernando Ardenghi
Buenos Aires
[email protected]

Fernando Ardenghi

The latest version is

Amendments included Effective Notes
1D Act No. 4 21 March 2005
1E Act No. 14 22 April 2005


Fernando Ardenghi
Buenos Aires
[email protected]

James Houran

Thanks, Mark, for another great interview. What I appreciate is your professionalism --OPW is not like the other blogs that post unsubstantiated rumors and overly biased commentary. Rather, OPW has the industry credibility and visibility to get information direct from the source and pass it along without the annoying spin by those claiming to be "in the know" (but who aren't). High profile interviews like clearly show why OPW is THE online dating resource for the industry and the media.

Keep up the fantastic standards and industry service. We can only hope your approach rubs off on others!


James Houran, Ph.D.
Chief Psychologist,

Lee Phillips

I hear that the next step is to require nightclubs to run background checks on their patrons. After all, they are a place where many singles make romantic connections. Of course, we should also consider passing legislation for churches with singles groups to require background check on their members as well. That Bible could be full of explosives! You know, maybe we should also insist on background checks for that person in line at StarBucks that tries to chat us up.

Where will it stop? Why should we legislate away our common sense and personal responsibility? The incident that Senator Cropsey cites as contributing to his change of heart, while regrettable, could have occurred whether or not the stalker met the lady online.

I sometimes wonder what other forms of persuasion are being used on some of our elected representatives.

Lee Phillips
Independant Consultant/Developer

Evan McCauley

Senator Cropsey's desire to protect vulnerable members of society from criminals
is admirable. However, one has to wonder why this legislation is limited to the online dating industry. If backgrounds checks are an effective method of protecting people from criminals, shouldn't ALL organizations be required to perform background checks on their members? Isn't it true that far more criminals, such as rapists, meet their victims in offline venues such as schools, churches or bars than on dating sites?

Fernando Ardenghi

The most interesting sentence of all the interview to Senator Cropsey

"Online dating companies need someone who has the authority to speak for the industry."


Fernando Ardenghi
Buenos Aires
[email protected]

Representative Barbara A. Farrah

Sen. Cropsey and I don't agree on every issue, but his bill to protect online daters from unscrupulous persons is a movement that I can support.

In the dating world, a single woman can never be too careful. Meeting people in bars, through friends or over the Internet involves taking a risk. But just as you would hope a mutual friend that introduces you to someone who could turn into a potential relationship would let you know if there were any "red flags" to be aware of, Internet dating companies owe it to their customers to provide protection from criminals and sex offenders. Online dating companies are IN THE BUSINESS of pairing individuals for the purpose of potential relationships, therefore it is their duty to do everything possible to protect their users by either disclosing that they are completing sex offender background screenings or providing a "first line of defense" screening process for potential predators.

To be clear once more, unlike bars, bookstores and clubs, these online dating companies are accepting money for the explicit purpose of introducing singles for intimate relationships. People who preach about the value and power of "common sense" consistently fail to understand this latter point.

Studies have shown us that more than 90 percent of sex offenders who are monitored in their home states use online dating services. That is a scary number.

Many of our opponents will say that background checks aren't 100 percent effective, and that should prohibit us from moving forward with this legislation. But if a background checks and screening for registered sex offenders are only 50 percent effective, that's better than nothing. If five out of every ten Internet daters are protected from a predator, then it's worth it. The 50 percent of potential victims, mostly women, which will be saved from acts of violence or other crimes, are worth it.

One felon deterred is one potential victim saved. Passing Sen. Cropsey's bill will make online dating services safer for those who want to use them.

Currently, there is a false sense of security out there among many Internet daters that can be corrected easily through increased disclosure. Sen. Cropsey is taking the appropriate steps to help ease that false sense and has welcomed input from Internet dating companies.

For those who assert that this bill is special interest legislation, let me say that you are absolutely correct. The special interest group in question is the CONSUMER. Several surveys have shown public support for this legislation. Additionally, the legislation is supported by many organizations. The Safer Online Dating Alliance (SODA) has over 130 organizations ranging from law enforcement agencies, sexual assault and rape crisis centers and independent businesses that support legislation focused on raising the awareness level for online daters for the purpose of their personal safety when using dating services.

Bill Broadbent

Representative Farrah,

I imagine you are sincere about trying to write good legislation. But let me say that drawing upon my 20+ years in this sector, this is bad legislation, though the intent is honorable. I believe background checks can be a good thing, but there can be problems with them too.

Out of curiousity, have you studied what percent of the sex offenders also go to bars, grocery stores, bookstores and/or clubs? (Just a few places they surely go, but just highlighting the groups you name) You think people go to bars and clubs to drink? They can drink at home for far less. Why is a disclosure on the home page of a website necessary and being in the terms of service agreement not enough? Are you saying that all online agreements, dating related or not, should not be valid? Should all e-commerce be frozen in the state of Michigan? Here is another example, if Volvo made the safest car (just an example out of reputation) should all other car manufacturers post all the reasons prominently on the homepage of their website why they don't meet the safety standards of a Volvo? If someone can read enough to input their information, are they not capable of reading a terms of service agreement? Why does the State of Michigan feel the need to be designing web pages of businesses? Do you consider the women of Michigan (the group you say you are protecting) too dumb to read a terms of service agreement? Why don't you address the real problem and just pass better legislation to put the scumbags away? Bad laws let people out, don't make dating services be forced to police them because of government's soft stance. Legislators have determined laws that let sex offenders free, not a dating service. If sex offenders are not treatable, then lock them away for ever. Don't make a dating service try to determine who is worthy of finding love and who is not.


If this law was passed even would be in voliation of the law.

1. Only people who paid for member ships have a background check done on them. This represents 5-10% of members.

2. Any paid member may communicate with a "free member" Free members represent 90 to 95% of the site.

The most likely person to fall victum to these sorts of people are desperate women. They sign up to a site and message the free male members who are then allowed to reply for free...

The following dating review site says that members don't have to be paid to converse with each other.


I would like to know who I can contact regarding the background checks , ect..
I would like to state my opinion and experience with someone I met through an online dating service, who is now a sexual offender after a csc 3 on my daughter.
And is now again a member on these dating services.. Thank you

Bill Broadbent


This is an excellent forum to post your story. A story like yours will likely reach the right people here. I am very sorry to hear about what happened to your daughter and it's a shame that anyone that committs a sexual offenses against a child (I am assuming she is a child) is able to walk the streets. Did he have a prior record or was this his first known offense?

background checks

great information, background checks are very useful

Sheena - Background Check Advocate

Background checks are an absolute neccessity for online dating sites. What the senator is doing is what we advocate to all our clients seeking dates on the Internet. You can't trust anybody out there. People are hiding behind false names, identities and much more. There are all kinds of deviants and offenders out there and to trust your life and money is absolute stupidity.


Thank you for the good information above. There are many good reasons.

Criminal record searches are done to ensure you hire only trustworthy people to work in your home.
Make sure that the persons taking care of your children and your house has undergone criminal record searches and has been cleared. Some people ask for the applicants to submit reports of criminal record searches themselves, others hire an independent service provider to do it, with appropriate consent of the persons concerned. Either way, doing criminal record searches ensures peace of mind to those who are not comfortable sharing a house with someone convicted of a crime. Thorough criminal record searches should also include the sex offender registry to make sure that your children won’t come into contact with a convicted child molester.

Criminal record searches are done to ensure employers hire the most suitable applicant for a job.
Under the FCRA, employers are forbidden to order criminal record searches on job applicants without their consent, although those expected to receive $75,000 or more in salary are exempted. This means that persons applying for top positions may be required to undergo criminal record searches. Independent background search providers also have the means to do criminal record searches on information sources legally available to the public, making them the suitable service provicers to do it. Though the FCRA was designed to protect the rights of individuals wishing not to divulge personal information, it does not totally inhibit criminal record searches made by employers who have justifiable reasons to do so. When the situation calls for it, criminal record searches are useful tools to protect employers from being charged with negligent hiring.

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