The Cyberspace Strategist From MySpace
Hemanshu Nigam, MySpace's chief security officer, on policing the world's largest community.
Hemanshu Nigam, chief security officer for News Corp.’s Fox Interactive Media, oversees all safety, security, privacy and law enforcement programs for MySpace, the social networking site that has come under public criticism for allowing sexual predators to stalk minors. Nigam, who is from Kanpur, has championed safety milestones for MySpace, including the launch of Sentinel Safe, a technology that allows the company to block convicted sex offenders from accessing the website.
In his 15 years of experience, he’s served as a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice, and advisor to a Congressional commission to the White House on online child safety.
Q. You’ve worked as a federal prosecutor specializing in child pornography and computer crime cases, and have also led security at Microsoft Corp. What are the special challenges of MySpace?
A: MySpace is facing all the kinds of challenges you face in any larger community in the physical world, any big city or large country with a lot of people. Any time you have that you have bad people coming in, trying to do things they shouldn’t do. MySpace is like a very large country or city – given that we try to do what any city does, which is to give our citizens the tools to protect themselves and get experts in safety areas to find out the best things we can do and then implement those changes on the site. And most importantly we work with law enforcement, so if things go wrong we can bring a bad guy to justice.
Q. How safe is it for people to put their information on to a very public space like MySpace?
Q. What are the special signs that parents should watch out for?
Q. How does one do that?
Q. What is the biggest challenge of policing Myspace?
Q. What are the trends to combat identity theft and spam?
Q. How does it feel to be a cyberspace detective?
Q. Do you have regular office hours or is it a 24/7kind of job?
Q. What part of India is your family from and when did they come here?
Q. Like many Indian parents, did they expect you to be a doctor or an engineer?
Q. What are your leisure time activities – surely not Internet related?
Q. What are your favorite munchies when you’re glued to the computer, doing sentinel duty?