Michigan May Require Criminal Background Checks for Online Daters

The AP reports that the Michigan Senate is considering legislation to force online dating companies to certify that they have conducted criminal background checks on its clients.

Michigan May Require Online Dating Checks (AP)

Sandie Cornillie did a double take when she first heard about a bill that would force online dating sites to say whether criminal background checks have been conducted on their members. The 46-year-old divorcee from Portage prefers finding dates on the Internet over visiting the local bar or relying on a friend to play matchmaker. The Web is less intimidating, more convenient and arguably safer, she said. “It’s a very safe way of getting to know someone before we meet face to face,” said Cornillie, who has tried online dating for five years. “I haven’t met any rapists or any crazy people. It’s kind of up to you to be careful.”

Some lawmakers, though, say that as online dating becomes more popular, users need better protection from predators. Twenty-six million people visited dating sites in January, according to the Internet research firm Nielsen/NetRatings.

The Senate is considering legislation that would require an Internet dating company serving Michigan residents to disclose on its Web site whether it has conducted criminal background checks on users, based solely on the names provided. A provider also would have to disclose the limitations of background checks and urge members to adhere to safe dating practices. Republican Sen. Alan Cropsey of DeWitt is sponsoring the bill. “There are inherent dangers in the whole area of the Internet,” he said. “Something needs to be done.”

There are inherent dangers to a lot of things. Are they going to require that the owners of singles bars and other venues where singles hook up with people they barely know conduct background checks, too?

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Kpt. Kapital says:

    Shoot, half the office in the city of chicago are meat markets … we’ll have to get criminal background checks to apply for a job.

  2. bryan says:

    You know, I heard a story about this recently. It appears that one of the online dating services (not e-harmony, but I think it was match.com) already does background checks, and the owner was pushing states to adopt legislation to make other services do what he already does.

  3. Just Me says:

    From a business standpoint, you would think you would do this anyway. I don’t know that it needs a state mandate though.