OPW - Jun 18 - Senator Catherine Pugh (D), Maryland State Senate, and Dan Sykes, CEO of Anastasia International, discussed the hot topic of regulation of the online dating industry. A primary target of Maryland's recent regulation was the International Marriage Brokers segment. Senator Pugh clarified the intent of the legislation was to apply to IMB only and not online dating in general. The Maryland law attempts to mirror the Federal IMB regulation passed in 2005, but with additional caveats and penalties. There was strong opposition to the law from Anastasia International and A Foreign Affair. These companies believe they are being unfairly targeted by the legislation and have had no incidents. They claim to have very significant protection programs in place already.
Dan Sykes believes that the definition of Broker is problematic for companies such as his, giving a negative connotation of human trafficking. He also discussed the issue of compulsory disclosure of personal information, which currently only applies to IMB. Members of the online dating industry are encouraged to stay abreast of legislative issues which may affect the industry and become involved in the process.