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iPhone App Tracks Sex Offenders 358

Posted by samzenpus
from the there's-a-sweaty-app-for-that dept.
The Narrative Fallacy writes "All 50 states in the US require the 50,000 people convicted of sexual offenses to sign a register so that their whereabouts can be tracked and monitored. The Telegraph reports that now users of the iPhone Offender Locator application can search for sex offenders living nearby a friend or colleague whose address is stored in their Apple iPhone address book, or they can type in a street address to generate a list of convicted sex offenders in the local area. 'Offender Locator gives everyone the ability to find out if registered sex offenders live in their area,' says the application developer, ThinAir Wireless, on its iTunes page. 'Knowledge equals safety. They know where you and your family are...now it's time to turn the tables so that you know where they live and can make better decisions about where to allow your kids to play.' Offender Locator uses the iPhone's built-in GPS to pinpoint the user's location, and then provide a map listing sex offenders in the local area. Tapping on one of the 'pins' dropped on to the map brings up a photograph of the offender, as well as their address, date of birth and list of convictions."

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iPhone App Tracks Sex Offenders

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  • by thesolo (131008) * <slap@fighttheriaa.org> on Thursday July 30, 2009 @09:32AM (#28880985) Homepage

    They know where you and your family are...now it's time to turn the tables so that you know where they live and can make better decisions about where to allow your kids to play.

    That's great for the very stereotypical creepy, mustachioed child molester, but ever-increasingly the phrase, "sex offender" has nothing to do with children at all. That same title now applies to people convicted of statutory rape, even if they were 17 & 18 at the time. It applies to people who streak, people who are caught skinny-dipping, people who are caught having sex in public (including in their car), and even people who happened to urinate behind a tree in some places. Yet they have the same social stigma & registration entries in the database as people who raped children.

    So yeah, it might help protect your children, or it might just show you the house of a guy who really needed to take a leak, and happened to get caught. But hey, feel free to use it and get extremely paranoid at the rapidly growing number of people it shows...

    • by Canazza (1428553) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @09:40AM (#28881131)

      this is pretty much my sentiment. I hope the application comes with a tag saying what the crime was (ie child molestation or rape or weeing in the street) when it happened (was it 2 years ago or last week) and where it happened (did it happen in their house, or in Vegas)

      Last thing you want is what happened in the UK when this stuff is leaked
      this [bbc.co.uk] pretty much covers UK Law in relation to violent sex offenses

      • by ByOhTek (1181381) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @09:45AM (#28881195) Journal

        Tapping on one of the 'pins' dropped on to the map brings up a photograph of the offender, as well as their address, date of birth and list of convictions.

        Like what is stated in TFS.

        Yeah, I must be new here.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 30, 2009 @11:18AM (#28882651)

          Don't expect the list of convictions to be meaningful. No way is the system going to be honest about their own bullshit. The guy busted for taking a leak will be convicted of public lewdness, just like the guy who waggled his weiner at the kids in the preschool playground.

          The kids busted for sexting will be convicted of manufacture and distribution of child porn and the 17 year old busted for fooling around with a 15 year old will be convicted of statutory rape and probably indecency involving a minor.

          All very much not helpful in evaluating the true nature of the people caught in the witch hunt.

          • by JCSoRocks (1142053) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @11:27AM (#28882789)
            Which is why those people are screwed for life. That'll be fun to explain at job interviews with background checks... If you even get a chance to explain. The whole system is so broken it's depressing. I feel sorry for the people that have gotten themselves caught up in it.
            • by BrokenHalo (565198) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:11PM (#28884257)
              The system is also broken in that there is absolutely no place in it for rehabilitation. The effort to show voters that the administration is "doing something" about such offenders represents the wooliest of short-term thinking.

              There is no place in the system for acceptance that once the offender has taken his punishment, he should be able to start again. I'm not a fan of creeps, but the idea that they should be stalked unto the grave after they have served their punishment is nothing short of sick. It amounts to a suggestion that anyone caught up in the system should be summarily condemned to death, but without having the guts to carry out the decree - while the miscreant has to wear his death warrant around his neck for the rest of his life.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by mpe (36238)
                The system is also broken in that there is absolutely no place in it for rehabilitation. The effort to show voters that the administration is "doing something" about such offenders represents the wooliest of short-term thinking.

                Another big problem is that there will be people who are dangerous who are not on such lists at all. Even including those who have been found guilty of crimes. If the idea is to "protect the children" it appears daft not to have the details of convicted child murders available. It
          • by ByOhTek (1181381)

            but what about the guy acting a lot like he was taking a leak, but was actually showing off to some kids?

            Sadly, I knew someone who did exactly that. Then again, as in his case, once you get multiple arrests for that kind of thing, your story wears a little thin.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              I agree that kind of thing needs be to dealt with. However, you can't make the rules based on the exceptions. The vast, vast majority of people will never attempt to show off their privates to a child while pretending to pee. A much larger number of people, however, will get drunk and pee in public at some point. We're punishing 1000 people in order to protect us from 1.
              • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:58PM (#28885039)
                "That it is better 100 guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer, is a Maxim that has been long and generally approved." - Benjamin Franklin
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by terrymr (316118)

            Idaho prosecutes kissing in public between an 18 year old and a 17 year old as "Lewd conduct with a minor" - sounds terrible doesn't it?

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Bakkster (1529253)

              Idaho prosecutes kissing in public between an 18 year old and a 17 year old as "Lewd conduct with a minor" - sounds terrible doesn't it?

              A wise use of the application would show that the person who got a "Lewd conduct with a minor" charge 5 years ago and is now 23 might not be a worry, especially compared to the guy convicted last year at the age of 47...

              Ah, who am I kidding? Everyone who sees a red pin will assume it's a child rapist who posted the pictures to the internet.

      • I don't know why it being a Iphone app is that big of news.

        If you look at websites that already track this, you'll be able to see the dates of arrests or convictions, pictures, work and home addresses, etc. Some offenses are decriptive enough (Second-Degree Sexual Assault of a Child) and others make you wonder what they did (computer crimes). Throw in the fact, there also might have been deals made during the court cases to get a guilty plea and it's hard to know for sure.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by terrymr (316118)

        Doesn't help when the high school senior who had sex with his girlfriend who happened not to have had her birthday yet - they still list it as "Rape of a child"

    • by should_be_linear (779431) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @10:05AM (#28881475)
      17? Fucking hell... where I live (Prague, Europe) 14 is legal (before it was 15, but parliament change it year ago (at least to my best knowledge from local media).
      • by Fred_A (10934) <(fred) (at) (fredshome.org)> on Thursday July 30, 2009 @10:37AM (#28882045) Homepage

        17? Fucking hell... where I live (Prague, Europe) 14 is legal (before it was 15, but parliament change it year ago (at least to my best knowledge from local media).

        But this is the US where seing a breast on TV (the same where people are shown being shot by cops - or vice versa - all day long) will scar you for life and will force the network to issue a public apology.

        Your body is dirty, *dirty* do you hear ? It's the work of the devil !

      • The age of consent varies state-to-state in the US, but all of them have it set at 16, 17, or 18 years old.

        Some states have close-age exceptions, and in some other states it may still a crime but it's a lesser offense if you're close in age.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by T.E.D. (34228)
      Actually, in most areas you can get on that list for "indecent exposure", which is what the cops charge you with if you get caught taking a wizz in an alley after a night of drinking. Perhaps that's not the best decision in the world, but when a guy's gotta go, he's gotta go. Is that really something that deserves being treated like a child molester for life?
    • by SoulRider (148285)

      You are absolutely right we have to deal with the fear and the people who perpetrate fear before we can actually solve any of our social problems. This country has become nothing but a fear paralyzed invalid.

    • by Hammer (14284) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @10:15AM (#28881659) Journal

      Lemme see.... A sex offender is anyone convicted of a sex based offense. I was under the impression that going to a hooker is an sex offense in some jurisdictions.

      And also... What happened to the idea that once you served your time your debt to society is paid?

      Make no mistake I want to keep my kids safe. But isn't this a perfect way of pushing an offender of the track again??

      • by ajs (35943) <ajs@@@ajs...com> on Thursday July 30, 2009 @10:23AM (#28881823) Homepage Journal

        What it is is a way to permanently marginalize an increasingly large segment of society. In Miami, I think it is, there's now a community that sex offenders have to live in. "Community" is a nice way of saying, "a bridge they have to live under." This is because the city won't let them live within a certain radius of any school, day-care or other facility that has children. So... what you get is a rapidly growing, very disenfranchised group of people, essentially randomly selected from society (of course, if you had enough money to hire a really good lawyer, you won't be there). How long before they out-number other neighborhoods? Who knows, but then we'll have to build a wall, right? I mean, think of the children.

        Of course, at some point, the wall will seem insufficient. We'll have to move them all forcibly out to less populated areas. But they won't have any way to support themselves... hey, I know they can work for their food....

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by terrymr (316118)

          There are proposals going around across the country to add "Violent" crimes to the list of offenses requiring registration, scope creep is a huge problem, before you know it they'll make you register because you had a parking ticket.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jhfry (829244)

          Then of course we will have a community of sex offenders, who will have children, who by law must attend school.

          So a school is built, and all of the children move away.

    • Agreed 100%, but at least the app does list convictions. I'm not so worried about the neighbor kid who got caught sleeping with his girlfriend as the guy a few blocks over who tapped his 5-year-old neighbor.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jedrek (79264)

        Statutory rape is the same if she was 13 and he was 30 or if she was 17 and he was 18.

        • by davidwr (791652)

          In most areas Romeo and Juliet laws protect people close in age.

          • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @10:40AM (#28882089)

            In most areas Romeo and Juliet laws protect people close in age.

            I know someone who spent years in jail because those Romeo18 and Juliet17 laws were determined to be inapplicable to Romeo18 and Romeo17.

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by interkin3tic (1469267)

              I know someone who spent years in jail because those Romeo18 and Juliet17 laws were determined to be inapplicable to Romeo18 and Romeo17.

              Frankly, I think going back in time a year and doing anything with yourself is a gross violation of the laws of physics. Reguardless of your age or name.

          • Unless the girl's parents flip out and force her to criminalize the guy. It happens more often than you might think.
        • by TerranFury (726743) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @10:52AM (#28882297)

          There is a growing number of states with "Romeo and Juliet" laws that relax the statutory rape laws so that if, say, an 18-year-old sleeps with a 17-year-old it's not considered rape. So things are improving.

          Even a generation ago, however, the situation was much worse. A relative of mine knew a boy in high school who dated a girl a few (2 or 3) years younger than himself. It turned out that this girl was being sexually abused by her father, so the boyfriend encouraged her to speak out; he was the one person giving her support in this very difficult time for her. What happened? The father got into no substantial trouble; rather, he got the boyfriend sent to jail on statutory rape charges.

          Yay justice!

          Luckily, like I said, things are a little better today. But the laws still vary by state.

    • That's great for the very stereotypical creepy, mustachioed child molester, but ever-increasingly the phrase, "sex offender" has nothing to do with children at all.

      There are times when I think the geek has disconnected from reality.

      Office of Sex Offender Management [state.ny.us]
      Sex Offender Registry

      Sex offenders are classified by risk level:

      * Level one (low risk);
      * Level two (medium risk); and
      * Level three (high risk).

      Level 1 offenders are required to register for a minimum of twenty years, and level 2 and 3 offenders

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by terrymr (316118)

        State laws vary wildly on how classifications are made - here (washington state) there was a report on the TV about a level 3 in the area. Police openly he was classified level 3 because he was currently living in a motel and it would be lowered if he moved to more permanent housing.

    • by jamonterrell (517500) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @04:02PM (#28887099)
      Someone tell me exactly how having an iphone app that shows you where all the 12yo's that posted nude pictures of themselves on facebook/myspace is going to protect the children, please?
  • Debt to society? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rotide (1015173) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @09:35AM (#28881045)
    Was their debt to society ever paid? What was the point of their prison sentence?

    How many more years until realtors no longer sell houses in certain areas to sex offenders? Or even more scary, how long until we only let them live in certain areas? Maybe even put up a fence around the area? Post guards at the gates?

    Ya, getting a little dramatic, but this BS where any soccer mom can pick up her iPhone and gawk with her friends at all the "criminals" in their neighborhood.. It's getting sickening..

    If these people are still dangerous, keep them locked up. If they are no longer dangerous, don't make public lists that they have to register on.

    Either you're guilty and you pay your debt, or you're paid your debt and are no longer guilty.

    Personally, if I had a daughter, I'd teach her to be aware of her surroundings and be wary of strangers, just like I was taught. List or no list, if a predator is out there, he's going to hunt. Some list that further punishes those that have paid their debt won't save my child, or yours.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 30, 2009 @09:52AM (#28881293)

      Has anyone read Les Miserables? The story of Jean Valjean sounds very similar - the label of 'Convict' was carried for life. The fact that he had committed a crime in his youth meant that he was a criminal forever, in the mind of society and the law - he could not hold a job, travel, or live without permission from the police.

      I don't think that specific knowledge as to former criminals who have served their time and are now living in your area is necessary. It would be not be helpful in any meaningful way to the public and would make it very difficult for the people on the list to live normal lives. The fact that the sex offender list is very loose as to who becomes assigned to it makes the situation worse.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Not just Les Miserables, but also The Scarlet Letter.

        The concept of legally condoned persecution for live has NEVER existed in American law prior to this whole "sex offender registry" bullshit.

        This is simple logic: if the nature of the person and the crime make them an actual, clear and present danger to members of the public, then they should be behind bars and stay there unless and until that situation changes.

        If they are NOT a danger to the public, and they have served their time, then set them
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Personally, if I had a daughter, I'd teach her to be aware of her surroundings and be wary of strangers, just like I was taught. List or no list, if a predator is out there, he's going to hunt. Some list that further punishes those that have paid their debt won't save my child, or yours.

      Not only that, but the thing no one seems to mention with all this "think of the children" crap is that, by far, the most cases of child abuse (sexual or not) are perpetrated by family members.

      • Family perpetrators (Score:2, Informative)

        by davidwr (791652)

        For physical abuse, the in-home family rate is very high, I've heard 90%.

        For sexual abuse it's way lower, in the 40-50% range. Another 40-50% is from family members not living at home and others familiar to the child, such as neighbors and the like.

        The bulk of the remaining 5-10% are from people who have a more distant connection with the victim. The number of "stranger kidnappings" of children in America is about 500 a year, less than 2 a day in a country with 300M people.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      How this gets moderated insightful is beyond me. You consider 'dangerous' as a binary: Either you are and you should be locked up, or you are not and you should have all the rights that everyone else has. The real world is just not that simple, and an in-between form (you are not in prisson but you get watched very carefully) may allow offenders to return to freedom at least in some sense, while the higher probability of this person to commit a crime again is also addressed. Oh, and should you ever have a
      • Re:Debt to society? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Evanisincontrol (830057) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @11:48AM (#28883101)

        You consider 'dangerous' as a binary: Either you are and you should be locked up, or you are not and you should have all the rights that everyone else has. The real world is just not that simple...

        Agreed, he over simplified "dangerous" into a binary attribute, and it isn't that simple. However...

        an in-between form (you are not in prisson but you get watched very carefully) may allow offenders to return to freedom at least in some sense, while the higher probability of this person to commit a crime again is also addressed.

        The "watched very closely" thing can be worse than jail. A buddy of mine is guilty of having sex with a 16 year old when he was 18 (and a senior in high school), and spent time in prison for it. Now that he is out, he is being "watched very closely", just in case he decides to have sex with any girls only two years younger than him (???).

        However, that isn't the bad part. The bad part is that when he moved, he was forced to go door to door and tell people he was a sex offender. In under a year, he has had his house vandalized three times (people throw rocks through his windows or spray paint stuff like "RAPIST" on the front of his house). He is harassed on a fairly regular basis, despite his trying to explain the circumstances of his conviction. People in the neighborhood stare and point at him like he's a lesser form of life -- I'm honestly surprised no idiot redneck has tried to play superhero and run him over in the street.

        I'm starting to turn red as I'm get angrier and angrier, sitting here thinking about how fucking stupid people can be. When we allow arbitrary laws to label people as "sex offenders" under an utterly ridiculous set of rules, and then encourage people to outcast those "sex offenders" with little iPhone apps like this, we lose our humanity. We no longer rely on common sense to define our morals -- we let laws and toys do it for us. It's nothing short of absurd.

        Oh, and should you ever have a daughter, they come without the right developement tools so they may very well end up a little different than you hoped them to be.

        I hope with every fiber of my existence that my daughter is never harmed by some depraved rapist. However, with that same energy I also hope that the existing laws will be reformed dramatically (and soon) so that my son will never be labeled an outcast because he drank too much and peed on a tree.

    • Re:Debt to society? (Score:5, Informative)

      by T.E.D. (34228) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @10:14AM (#28881635)

      How many more years until realtors no longer sell houses in certain areas to sex offenders? Or even more scary, how long until we only let them live in certain areas?

      Already happened. Check out this story [jaunted.com]. Turns out Miami passed restrictions on where offenders can live that are so restrictive that the only place available to them is under a bridge. Seriously.

      • Re:Debt to society? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by sckeener (137243) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @11:13AM (#28882577)
        And last year they got a female resident under that bridge. She had been convicted of striping in front of a 14 year old. She was drunk at the time. Basically the offenders even after getting out of jail are given life sentences. I blame the fact that sex crimes are such a titillating topic that we have such restrictive measures against them. I'd be more worried about the druggie who's barely an adult living with his parents who has a previous burglary conviction. Many drugs are more addictive than sex and druggies aren't known for thinking rationally. Also if we keep ratching up the penalty for such crimes, we are going to have cases where the perp thinks 'might as well hang for a sheep as a lamb," and commit murder.
    • by mariushm (1022195)

      They're already forced to live under bridges: http://www.cnsnews.com/Public/Content/article.aspx?RsrcID=45831 [cnsnews.com] :

      quoting:

      Wiese is among 52 sex offenders living under a busy bridge over Biscayne Bay that connects Miami to Miami Beach. The state insisted two years ago it would urge them to leave, but the community has only grown.
      It has become a makeshift town of parolees and others who struggle to find affordable housing that doesnâ(TM)t violate strict local ordinances against sex offenders living too cl

    • by oldspewey (1303305) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @10:32AM (#28881969)

      any soccer mom can pick up her iPhone and gawk with her friends at all the "criminals" ... If these people are still dangerous, keep them locked up.

      There is a gigantic dose of frightening irony in all this: Sex offenders (and for the moment let's assume the very worst kinds of sex offenders such as kiddie molestors) are statistically much more likely to reoffend when exposed to high levels of stress ... for example the kind of stress that comes from having a bunch of iphone-wielding soccer moms tsk-tsking to their friends ans scowling every time they see you in public ... the kind of stress that comes from being socially isolated and shunned when a person is making a good faith effort to get well again, be part of a neighbourhood, and function in society.

      Stress is a known addiction trigger, and this app is a guaranteed stress generator.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ajs (35943)

      The whole concept of the "debt to society" is hosed. Was Bruce Perlowin's debt paid? The so-called "King of Pot" is an unrepentant smuggler of marijuana who has now gone legit, and is the head of a successful public company that's helping to promote the medical use of the plant. It's not a debt, it's an agreement. We have an agreement that we want to live in a certain kind of world. If you don't agree, we'll lock you up and smack you around for a while. If you still don't agree, we'll do it again until we j

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Was their debt to society ever paid?

      According to current law, the answer apparently is no.

      To be honest i'm torn on this issue. I fully believe in the concept that once you have paid your debt you should be allowed to get on with your life. However, this is in the realm of mental illness, and simple prison time does NOT cure you of it. So which is more important, the safety of the area or your rights to be left alone with a potentially dangerous ( to others ) illness still brewing. We do isolate infectious people, is this different? I donno..

      • by rotide (1015173) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @10:57AM (#28882365)
        "So which is more important, the safety of the area or your rights to be left alone with a potentially dangerous ( to others ) illness still brewing."

        This is where I lose people. How does a list protect you, in _any_ way?

        Do you routinely allow your children to walk into the homes of strangers? I suppose this list would tell you what strangers houses should be off limits.

        Do you routinely follow _every_ "criminal" on the list in your given area and make certain to call your child on their cell phone to give them directions to "avoid" said "criminal? If so, I suppose this list could help.

        Fact of the matter is, list or no list, predators will hunt. They will hunt their prey. Children, cute women, men that look scared, etc, etc, etc. A list will do _nothing_ to stop a predator. Unless you really believe that a sick individual with intentions to harm "your" child really will second guess their decision and decide, "you know what, I'm on a list and should probably stay in and watch a movie instead of picking up and molesting that little boy down the street. I know my loins tingle at the thought but you know, that list calms me right down and makes me not want to do it now!". Ya, the list saved another!

        So again, how would a list like this _ever_ make you safer than before you had that list?

    • I completely agree with you, however I get the feeling that the government feels they aren't dangerous enough to lock up, but are dangerous enough to keep tabs on; kind of like a sentance of jailtime plus a lifetime of probation.

      What really bothers me is that there are offenders who are required to register who were sentanced before these registries came into being. If the judge feels they ought to register, while I disagree, so be it. But for the state to append to a sentance is precarious from a legal st
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SecurityGuy (217807)

      Disingenuous at best.

      The notion of debt to society is fallacious. Some crimes carry a cost to the victim that is never repaid. In the minor cases, like a relative of mine whose house was burglarized, they'll never again feel quite the same level of security. Putting someone in jail for a little while won't bring that back. It is not as simple as "Go to jail for a while, and the scales are again balanced." That is all the more starkly true in the case of violent crime. There was a story in the news a w

    • More to the point, I'd like to see this app extended to other criminals who cause major damage to society and yet move unseen among us. Unethical individuals in the banking, real estate, and politics business. Just so I know who I'm potentially making deals with. Their debts to society far outstrip the psychological twitch of one person's regretable encounters.

      The sex offender stigma is totally overused, though.

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @09:38AM (#28881093)
    You'd have thought that a mobile provider might figure that these guys move around.
  • by Pvt_Ryan (1102363) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @09:39AM (#28881105)
    If only 47 had a cell phone with gps location of his targets...
  • Cool! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Mr. Firewall (578517) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @09:39AM (#28881117) Homepage

    Now when I'm in a strange town, I'll always be able to find the REALLY KINKY action!

  • by hattig (47930) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @09:40AM (#28881129) Journal

    I care more about knowing where known pickpockets are, in relation to my current whereabouts.

    Not whether someone got caught taking a piss behind a bush, or who had sex with someone two years younger than them when they were a teenager.

    When you overextend a label such as 'sex offender' (adding noise to signal), the label becomes meaningless, and those that actually deserve that label are less noticeable in the noise.

    But not before dumb vigilantes attack a few paediatricians ...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 30, 2009 @09:46AM (#28881207)

    Beware! Sex offenders!

    Doesn't take much to get people up in arms. Most of us imagine some rampaging dirty old man abducting screaming children from the streets. It's terrible. They need to be tracked and dealt with - obviously.

    But what percentage of the sex offenders really fit that description? How many were teenagers whose girlfriend/boyfriend was maybe a year or two younger than themselves? How many offenders were under age themselves at the time of the offence? Which offences are included in the category and what percentage of the offences fit into each of those categories? Does the category include men who have patted a women on the behind and ended up in court on the strength of it? Are women who brazenly expose their breasts at public events included too?

    Before we go bandying around the 50,000 figure let's at least establish what it means.

    • Are women who brazenly expose their breasts at public events included too?

      I would think so - where else are geeks going to find women in real life willing to show them their breasts?

  • Why Sex Offenders? (Score:5, Informative)

    by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @09:49AM (#28881251)
    What is with the excessive demonization of sex offenders today? What makes this class of crime the worst by such a large margin that we need a whole separate form of punishment? Why not a murderer registry? Certainly murder is a more serious crime, right?
    Furthermore, if the government can ascertain fully enough that these people are very dangerous and likely to commit their same crimes again, WTF are they doing free? Shouldn't they be in prison or a mental hospital if that is the case?

    BTW to the other posters -- only Class 2 and 3 sex offenders show up on the registry -- these are usually the nasty, malicious ones. The bush-pissers and streakers end up as Class 1. Still extremely odious, but not quite as bad, and their names are not made pubic, errr... public.
    • by TheP4st (1164315) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @10:01AM (#28881431)
      What category is this?

      On January 19th, a Florida state appeals court decided that minors could be prosecuted for child pornography even if the subject of that pornography is him/herself. The case involved two Florida teens who took pictures of themselves involved in sexual behavior. The photos were intended for their own personal use and neither teen shared the photos with anyone else. From Police Blotter [cnet.com]:

      On March 25, 2004, Amber and Jeremy took digital photos of themselves naked and engaged in unspecified âoesexual behavior.â The two sent the photos from a computer at Amberâ(TM)s house to Jeremyâ(TM)s personal e-mail address. Neither teen showed the photographs to anyone else. Court records donâ(TM)t say exactly what happened nextâ"perhaps the parents wanted to end the relationship and raised the alarmâ"but somehow Florida police learned about the photos. Amber and Jeremy were arrested. Each was charged with producing, directing or promoting a photograph featuring the sexual conduct of a child. Based on the contents of his e-mail account, Jeremy was charged with an extra count of possession of child pornography.

      Source [wordpress.com]

      • Ahh... yes. This is highly disturbing. I am not sure where this would be categorized, but that is completely insane that a minor could be charged like that. Please note that I don't use the class thing as justification for the registry, I am just clarifying that if you get caught peeing in a bush, you aren't going to be visible on the registry's website. I think that the idea of it really stinks of a witch hunt and is flawed on more or less every possible level.
    • by TheCarp (96830) *

      Do you seriously want to know or is that rhetorical? I think the answer is obvious, it is because the image in our mind of a "sex offender" is someone who is likely to steal a young child, rape and kill it, leaving its family torn and destroyed with grief.

      Its a powerful image. An utterly bullshit image. However, its the image that people have in their mind when they froth as they mark their disdain for sex offenders.

      Its also a bullshit image, when the majority of child abuse is done by family members. Bulls

    • Goverment needs people to fear someone. They need source of their fears be always withing walking distance and source of fears that can be easily demonized. Someone they can 'protect' citizens from.

      Besides, it is awesome to have this great label which can be stuck on someone. Label that will completely destroy their life withing minutes and which can never be taken off because of social stigma. Something to fear for any troublemaker.

      Murder is not good crime for that. It was glorified by media and actually c

    • What is with the excessive demonization of sex offenders today? What makes this class of crime the worst by such a large margin that we need a whole separate form of punishment? Why not a murderer registry? Certainly murder is a more serious crime, right?

      First, note that I'm not disagreeing with your main point. Still, I'd say the difference is this: there are justifiable homicides, but never any justifiable offenses against children. I'm not condoning murder, but I can imagine circumstances where someone might kill a specific person in retribution or to end long running torture or abuse. The murderer might be an otherwise good person who would never kill again outside that exact situation, and although punishment might be appropriate depending on the fa

      • "Contrast with sexual offenses [1], where a low estimate of recidivism is at about 52% [wsj.com]. Such offenders do represent a real, long-term threat to those around them. I'm not sure how to reconcile that with the idea of "paying one's debt to society", because while I believe that serving a prison sentence should wipe the slate clean, there's no way I'd move my family next to someone with "only" a 52% chance of repeating their crime."

        I heartily agree with you -- which is where my second point came fro

    • by Fished (574624)
      Simple... every sort of study done has shown that certain sorts of sex offenders (i.e. pedophiles) are basically not "curable." They WILL do it again given the opportunity. Now, the problem as it stands is that these "real" sex offenders are often lumped together with others who don't fall into that category... but that's a separate issue.
      • My response to that would be to lock them up -- knowing where they live is simply not enough. If they are likely to commit their crimes again, keep them in jail. If necessary, keep them in jail until they die.
    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Technically every offender is registered in a sense, its all public record, and you have to admit it every time you get a job or get a place to live.

  • Truly amazing. Now are we going to see Slashdot stories for the other 1,000 iPhone apps that are just as useful?

  • by matria (157464) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @09:58AM (#28881389)

    At least 40% of all child molestations are by family members with no previous record. It's a pity my mom didn't have something like this to let her know all those years when my dad was molesting me.

    • family members with no previous record

      Um, here's a thought: if he wasn't a registered sex offender, this app wouldn't have helped.

  • Pure bullshit (Score:5, Informative)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @10:01AM (#28881435) Homepage

    'Knowledge equals safety. They know where you and your family are...now it's time to turn the tables so that you know where they live and can make better decisions about where to allow your kids to play.'

    Oh really? The US DoJ's Inspector General had some withering criticism [examiner.com] of the utility of the information sources this guy is relying on.

    "We found that the registries that make up the national sex offender registration system - the FBI's National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR) and the state public sex offender registries accessed through OJP's National Sex Offender Public Registry Website (NSOPR) - are inaccurate and incomplete. As a result, neither law enforcement officials nor the public can rely on the registries for identifying registered sex offenders, particularly those who are fugitives."

    • by kalirion (728907)

      As a result, neither law enforcement officials nor the public can rely on the registries for identifying registered sex offenders, particularly those who are fugitives.

      We can't use it to find fugitives???? Damn, I thought we had a psychic app here, what a disappointment.

      • The sex offenders who probably just want to be left alone and/or the ones who committed serious sex crimes like boning their girlfriend in high school, pissing in the bushes or buying their younger brother a playboy or R-rated movie.
  • Charging? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by oahazmatt (868057) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @10:03AM (#28881453) Journal
    I just did an App Store search on my iPhone for "iPhone Offender", and sure enough the first result was a list of sexual offenders.

    Curious about how many are in my area, I thought I'd download it. Turns out to "think of the children" (in the good way... not the way that gets you on the list) costs money. Which is odd because there are official government resources that will give you this information, online, free of charge.

    I can't believe someone's trying to make money off of this. Doesn't feel right to me.
  • by Pentagram (40862) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @10:04AM (#28881473) Homepage

    This sounds like an excellent way for people with similar interests to hook up with each other. What could possibly go wrong?

  • Be sure to live your life scared of everything in the world around you. It's the modern, 21st Century way of life!

  • They should make an app like this for weed smokers and growers so people can buy local and avoid the creepy criminal dudes. Also they should legalize weed, it's safer than alcohol in every way and hemp is a miracle plant. What's up with that?
  • Idle (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Thiez (1281866) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @10:18AM (#28881723)

    Why is this article or Idle? Since the article is relevant to anybody who has at some point in their life urinated behind a tree, a more serious category such as YRO, IT, or News seems appropriate.

  • Sign me up! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Yvanhoe (564877) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @10:20AM (#28881761) Journal
    I don't like children. Can I register myself as in the list so that parents go make their spawnlings cry and shout somewhere else ? Can I register a dozen of imaginary offenders too ?
  • I thought that the majority of offenses against children were by people already known to the family/child? So what does this App add aside from scare mongering?
  • you do realize that some of you sound more hysterical than the "won't somebody think of the children" tired meme you are supposedly skewering, right?

    let's put it this way: underneath all of the teenagers emailing each other naked pictures, there actually exists actual pedophiles who actually harm children, and society has every logical and moral reason to do something about them. btw, they are also highly recidivist: you murder once for certain reasons, then you may never murder again, but once a pedophile,

  • I'd be much more interested in knowing if any murderers live near me than someone who may or may not have pissed behind a bush.
      But we don't track murderers, do we? They don't get votes the way sex offenders do these days.

  • It's the sort of app that will make the paranoid even more paranoid which will only cause more problems.

    This which hunt for sexual offenders is what happens when you let parents think their child is something unique and special and must be protected like pile of gold.

    The fact is their kid isn't special and they're more likely to be abused by family. Single and those that don't fit into the soccer mom's view of this world always get shit on. The young and single need to be more vocal to drown out these

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