Match.com has announced it will begin checking new members against the national sex offender registry. The site says this move has been in the works for a while, but a lawsuit by a former Match user who was sexually assaulted by one of her dates accelerated the process. Match president Mandy Ginsberg says, "We want to stress that while these checks may help in certain instances, they remain highly flawed, and it is critical that this effort does not provide a false sense of security to our members." This is one of the concerns raised by Salon's Tracy Clark-Flory in response to the lawsuit — I previously supported the recommendation to screen, but Clark-Flory's counterargument is pretty convincing.
I now wonder what kind of liability Match is subjecting itself to by running these background checks. Imagine that it screens a user, the user checks out as OK but later sexually assaults a date he met through the site. It comes to light that the user actually did have a sex crime on his/her record previously. Can the victim of the assault then file suit against Match, claiming he/she relied upon their representation and they've breached a duty tohim/ her by failing to uncover the sex crime?