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Blogging background checking and security issues

2.24.2005

Dating a Felon

Yes, background checking’s sphere of influence is growing. Mr. or Ms. Perfect may not be as perfect as they appear to be, and while this has been a well-known fact in the human resources and personnel management industry, an article recently published in the Oakland Tribune shows that background checking is already a prerequisite for one online dating community, and will likely soon be for others as well. Herb Vest, the Chief Executive and found of True.com is pushing for legislation that will require all online dating services to do a background check on its members.

Of course, this does make a great deal of sense. If you’re going to go on a relatively blind date with someone, alone, wouldn’t you want to know if that person has a criminal history, especially violent or sexually related charges?

I wonder what kind of legal issues will come out of this. The Fair Credit Reporting Act governs the reporting of criminal activity for employment purposes, but as far as I know there are no laws that state you may not decline to date someone based on anything in their consumer report. If someone loses a date because of incorrect information in his or her consumer report, what will the recourse or compensation be? Force the person who rejected him or her in the first place to go on a date? Put a monetary amount on the value of the potential future these two individuals could have had? Will the person who did the rejecting also be able to claim damages for the loss of the potential relationship since the decision was based on inaccurate information? This sounds like a mess to me, but with the speed at which we’re moving as a society toward increased safety and security, I can’t see how it’s going to be avoided.

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