back in the news about online dating background checks

David Crary of Associated Press wrote an article about the recent New Jersey legislation requiring online dating sites to disclose whether they perform background checks and discusses and’s response.   Predictably, was “elated” by the legislation (which provides them with an opportunity to trumpet their usage of background checks).  Match, on the other hand, said they were “disappointed” in the legislation.  

“ is disappointed New Jersey has enacted a flawed and unconstitutional law and we will explore opportunities to challenge it,” a company statement said. 

Strangely enough, the law doesn’t require background checks, just that company disclose whether they are performed. 

As we have discussed before, all background checks are not created equal.  Running names through a criminal database is helpful but is far from complete.  The real problem with online dating is identity verification.  What steps are these companies using to verify a user’s identity?  They should need to run the minimum of a social security trace or possibly a motor vehicle records search to confirm identity.  This can also create more problems, as some states have stricter requirement for accessing DMV records and have different turn around times.  Other users as well could provide stolen SSN numbers to defeat the system.   Perhaps the best way is make all the background check conducted totally transparent to all users.  Perhaps the user should be allowed to choose how complete of a background is run on himself.   Perhaps the market forces will define the standard. 

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