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MacRumors
Aug 10, 2009, 11:01 AM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/iphone/2009/08/10/sex-offender-iphone-applications-address-legal-constraints/)

Last week, TechCrunch noted (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/08/06/as-apple-starts-talking-about-app-rejections-another-popular-one-is-pulled/) that the popular Offender Locator iPhone application [App Store (http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=317435796&mt=8), $0.99], a map-based application that pulls data from public records regarding the residences of convicted sex offenders, had disappeared from the App Store. While neither the developers nor Apple provided comment about the application's removal, speculation centered on a California law forbidding the sale of personal information for profit.We haven't been able to get in touch directly with the developers of the app yet, but we're told that they're looking into the possibility of filing a suit (presumably against Apple) for the removal. So clearly they feel this removal is unjust. But at [sic] we wrote when we covered the app a couple weeks ago, this may have to do with the fact that they were charging for this app. As a couple commenters noted in our last story, "This app is not legal, at least under CA law. Selling the personal information of people (even ex-criminals) for profit is forbidden."The theory was supported by the continued offering of a limited free version of the application, Offender Locator Lite [App Store (http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=322664011&mt=8), Free], although other users noted that a competing paid application, Sex Offenders Search [App Store (http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=321170961&mt=8), $1.99], continued to appear in the App Store.

The story became clearer over the weekend, as Sex Offenders Search saw its App Store description revised to include a statement regarding removal of data on sex offenders registered in California.***NOTE*** SOS is currently not displaying data regarding California registered sex offenders until we are certain that doing so is allowed by law.

Users who have already purchased a copy of SOS on or prior to Aug 7, 2009 should still be able to view the complete set of data.In addition, Offender Locator has reappeared in the App Store with a similar statement appended to its description.* Note: California sex offender data is unavailable at this time in the paid version of our application. You must use Offender Locator Lite version to access this data.

Article Link: Sex Offender iPhone Applications Address Legal Constraints (http://www.macrumors.com/iphone/2009/08/10/sex-offender-iphone-applications-address-legal-constraints/)

runeasgar
Aug 10, 2009, 11:04 AM
OMG IT'S ALL APPLE'S FAULT JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER DEVELOPER COMPLAINT!!

oh.. wait..

nevermind.

Xian Zhu Xuande
Aug 10, 2009, 11:42 AM
I love the line about potentially suing Apple. Why not? It's the American way. It's Apple's fault for adhering to laws set in their own state, so let's sue them. I'm starting to think that a large amount of these developer complaints and whining are not as legitimate as they would like us to believe.

The only one I'm still curious about is Google Voice.

mixel
Aug 10, 2009, 11:48 AM
Hmm, I want a "paranoid control freak detection" app, a "people who completely misunderstand the purpose of the legal process" app and an "exploitative money grabbing developer" detection app.

GoCubsGo
Aug 10, 2009, 12:18 PM
Confused: * Note: California sex offender data is unavailable at this time in the paid version of our application. You must use Offender Locator Lite version to access this data.

If you pay for the app you don't get CA data but if you don't pay you do? How is one less illegal than the other? CA has very ridged privacy laws when it comes to criminal records and sex offenders. Where Florida will post your mug shot online, CA tends to like to hide these people. It is all so backwards in CA.

guzhogi
Aug 10, 2009, 12:22 PM
I work at an elementary school, so when you work with 300 people all under the age of 12, it really helps knowing where sex offenders live & what they look like. These kids usually don't know any better so it's up to the faculty & staff to help make sure the students are in a safe environment. I don't really care if the app is free or not (as long as it's not too expensive) if it helps keep the children safe.

Confused:

If you pay for the app you don't get CA data but if you don't pay you do? How is one less illegal than the other? CA has very ridged privacy laws when it comes to criminal records and sex offenders. Where Florida will post your mug shot online, CA tends to like to hide these people. It is all so backwards in CA.

I can understand California wanting to hide people who have not committed crimes for privacy reasons, but I agree, criminals, especially sex offenders, murderers, etc. should be known. While some can change is prison & learn the error of their ways, I feel it's important to forgive, but not necessarily forget.

Shookster
Aug 10, 2009, 12:43 PM
I can understand California wanting to hide people who have not committed crimes for privacy reasons, but I agree, criminals, especially sex offenders, murderers, etc. should be known. While some can change is prison & learn the error of their ways, I feel it's important to forgive, but not necessarily forget.

If someone's done their time and they've been judged to be a low enough public threat to be released, they're no longer a criminal. They're regular citizens like the rest of us and they should be given the rights that all of us have.

dscuber9000
Aug 10, 2009, 12:43 PM
I tried the free version and all ten of the closest people looked in their 20s and were on there for dating someone underage. I feel kind of bad that they are in there when they clearly aren't dangerous in any way. But that's my opinion.

Scooterman1
Aug 10, 2009, 12:46 PM
Now, if someone could just develop and App that would tie in the Sex Offender Database with Online Dating Apps............

aristokrat
Aug 10, 2009, 12:52 PM
The problem with sex offender registries is that the term has too broad an application. While I understand the idea behind having pedophiles introduce themselves to their neighbors under Megan's Law, the sex offender tracking starts messing with people's lives when crimes such as public urination fall under the category. I fail to see how we are protecting society by making people caught doing minor crimes have to pay for it for the next 20 years of their lives.

And don't even get me started on how ostracizing people with seriously deviant sexual impulses does nothing to help them avoid acting on said impulses. Not that I think we should set them up as janitors in schools or anything, but too often do these people wind up repeating the same behaviors due to the depression of not having a job, friends, or anything positive in their lives anymore because nobody will give them a chance to do anything else.

niuniu
Aug 10, 2009, 12:53 PM
Tell you what, when I have kids, I'll have that app installed pronto. Great idea, hope it lives on.

Xian Zhu Xuande
Aug 10, 2009, 01:22 PM
Confused:

If you pay for the app you don't get CA data but if you don't pay you do? How is one less illegal than the other? CA has very ridged privacy laws when it comes to criminal records and sex offenders. Where Florida will post your mug shot online, CA tends to like to hide these people. It is all so backwards in CA.
You've misunderstood. California's law is about *profiting* off this public information. It is available for distribution, they just aren't allowing people to charge money for it.

I can understand California wanting to hide people who have not committed crimes for privacy reasons, but I agree, criminals, especially sex offenders, murderers, etc. should be known. While some can change is prison & learn the error of their ways, I feel it's important to forgive, but not necessarily forget.
I agree in part here. The really bad sex offenders--such as rapists, and especially child rapists--are highly likely to commit the offense again. This is supported statistically, and beyond that, I don't think people really stop to think about how much must be wrong with someone for them to *decide* to do this to a child. Our system isn't going to rehabilitate them.

But the problem with sex offenders lists is that they are ruinous to one's life. That's fine for someone who might rape children, but there are people who were intimate with seventeen year olds when they were as young as eighteen. That's perfectly natural and it is fine and all that there are laws about it, but the *consequences* for those people--being on a list like this one--are insane.

Full of Win
Aug 10, 2009, 01:34 PM
Quick someone call John Gruber!

I'm sure he can make this molehill into a mountain....like he did last time! Who cares about facts and such, when you got some one like Ol' John doing the writing.

Gasu E.
Aug 10, 2009, 01:55 PM
The problem with sex offender registries is that the term has too broad an application. While I understand the idea behind having pedophiles introduce themselves to their neighbors under Megan's Law, the sex offender tracking starts messing with people's lives when crimes such as public urination fall under the category. I fail to see how we are protecting society by making people caught doing minor crimes have to pay for it for the next 20 years of their lives.

And don't even get me started on how ostracizing people with seriously deviant sexual impulses does nothing to help them avoid acting on said impulses. Not that I think we should set them up as janitors in schools or anything, but too often do these people wind up repeating the same behaviors due to the depression of not having a job, friends, or anything positive in their lives anymore because nobody will give them a chance to do anything else.

Quite right.

Anyone who unquestioningly supports sex-offender registration laws should consider the following chilling quote, from the current issue of The Economist: (http://www.economist.com/printedition/displayStory.cfm?Story_ID=14165460)
In all, 674,000 Americans are on sex-offender registries—more than the population of Vermont, North Dakota or Wyoming. The number keeps growing partly because in several states registration is for life and partly because registries are not confined to the sort of murderer who ensnared Megan Kanka. According to Human Rights Watch, at least five states require registration for people who visit prostitutes, 29 require it for consensual sex between young teenagers and 32 require it for indecent exposure. Some prosecutors are now stretching the definition of “distributing child pornography” to include teens who text half-naked photos of themselves to their friends.

How dangerous are the people on the registries? A state review of one sample in Georgia found that two-thirds of them posed little risk. For example, Janet Allison was found guilty of being “party to the crime of child molestation” because she let her 15-year-old daughter have sex with a boyfriend. The young couple later married. But Ms Allison will spend the rest of her life publicly branded as a sex offender.

Kefka
Aug 10, 2009, 02:12 PM
Stephen Marshall, the man who murdered two registrants in Maine, used a wireless service to locate his victims and plot their brutal murders. A registrant holding his baby son is shot to death. Over 200 registrants shot to death. Forty percent of registrants and an equal number of family members have experienced vigilante violence as a result of over-saturation of the public registry coupled with abuse of the information contained within. The truth is such information should be regulated, as these stories consistently show the public abuses the information rather than use the info wisely. These apps do not educate the public as to the truth about *ex offenders. FACT: most *ex crimes are committed by someone NOT on the list and most often by someone the victim knows. FACT: Most registrants never re-offend IN SPITE of the law. If you want more truth, go to www.oncefallen.com

guzhogi
Aug 10, 2009, 03:21 PM
agree in part here. The really bad sex offenders--such as rapists, and especially child rapists--are highly likely to commit the offense again. This is supported statistically, and beyond that, I don't think people really stop to think about how much must be wrong with someone for them to *decide* to do this to a child. Our system isn't going to rehabilitate them.

But the problem with sex offenders lists is that they are ruinous to one's life. That's fine for someone who might rape children, but there are people who were intimate with seventeen year olds when they were as young as eighteen. That's perfectly natural and it is fine and all that there are laws about it, but the *consequences* for those people--being on a list like this one--are insane.

Very true, that's kinda what I was thinking. For rapists, they are hard to rehabilitate. But then there are the people who just want to have sex just once and may get carried away that one time and don't really mean anything by it. For those people, I can see not being on these lists. This is the kind of thing where there's no easy way to solve it, unfortunately.

guzhogi
Aug 10, 2009, 03:28 PM
Quite right.

Anyone who unquestioningly supports sex-offender registration laws should consider the following chilling quote, from the current issue of The Economist: (http://www.economist.com/printedition/displayStory.cfm?Story_ID=14165460)

In all, 674,000 Americans are on sex-offender registries—more than the population of Vermont, North Dakota or Wyoming. The number keeps growing partly because in several states registration is for life and partly because registries are not confined to the sort of murderer who ensnared Megan Kanka. According to Human Rights Watch, at least five states require registration for people who visit prostitutes, 29 require it for consensual sex between young teenagers and 32 require it for indecent exposure. Some prosecutors are now stretching the definition of “distributing child pornography” to include teens who text half-naked photos of themselves to their friends.

How dangerous are the people on the registries? A state review of one sample in Georgia found that two-thirds of them posed little risk. For example, Janet Allison was found guilty of being “party to the crime of child molestation” because she let her 15-year-old daughter have sex with a boyfriend. The young couple later married. But Ms Allison will spend the rest of her life publicly branded as a sex offender.

Very good quote. Some stuff, like the public urination, is stupid. If someone goes to a dark alley behind a building because he really needed to pee, but couldn't find a bathroom, he shouldn't be classified as a sex offender. If he did it in front of a lot of people to annoy them, I can see that. Also, for people who just got carried away once, they shouldn't be branded a sex offender for life. Maybe like 5 years or so. It might just be a case of a person's partner sending them the wrong signals and thought they wanted sex when they didn't. Whatever.

dasmb
Aug 10, 2009, 04:09 PM
If someone goes to a dark alley behind a building because he really needed to pee, but couldn't find a bathroom, he shouldn't be classified as a sex offender.

And of course, anybody on a sex offender list can now claim it was due to public urination, trading a potentially vile crime for a simply embarrassing one.

I wonder what possible benefit the sex offender registry has besides encouraging harassment. If you're only guarded against predation if there's a known predator in the area, you're asking for trouble.

I also think it's a bit obsessive that we have a sex offender registry, but no violent offender registry. Which implies we're fine, as a culture, living next door to a former mass murderer, but not living next to a flasher.

Full of Win
Aug 10, 2009, 04:26 PM
And of course, anybody on a sex offender list can now claim it was due to public urination, trading a potentially vile crime for a simply embarrassing one.

I wonder what possible benefit the sex offender registry has besides encouraging harassment. If you're only guarded against predation if there's a known predator in the area, you're asking for trouble.

I also think it's a bit obsessive that we have a sex offender registry, but no violent offender registry. Which implies we're fine, as a culture, living next door to a former mass murderer, but not living next to a flasher.

I'm going to guess the benefit is it might help prevent your child from associating with a child molester. Sounds crazy, does it not?

If I had kids, I would use this app to check any adult that my child could come into contact with (eg coaches)

iphones4evry1
Aug 10, 2009, 04:57 PM
As long as the free lite version continues to be offered, families with children around the country will continue to know where the bad guys live. If Apple were to ban the free version of this app, Apple would be putting millions of children in harm's way.

djdole
Aug 10, 2009, 05:22 PM
I don't really care if the app is free or not (as long as it's not too expensive) if it helps keep the children safe.

Thing is, the app doesn't, won't and shouldn't be expected to.
It's not the resources (or restrictions) put in place that will (or should even be expected to) keep children safe.
It's how and what the kids are taught that will keep them safer in the long run.
That said, the best protection you can provide your students would be an education. Not an app.

chameleon81
Aug 10, 2009, 06:59 PM
Not every sex offender is child molester or rapist or some other kind of sick person.

You can be on the list if you had sex with your 15 years old girlfriend while you were 15 as well.


Here is a good and very recent article on Economist.

http://www.economist.com/displayStory.cfm?story_id=14164614&source=most_commented

labman
Aug 10, 2009, 07:28 PM
like this called sex offenders search that one is $1.99 no light version says nothing special about California i wonder if it will be pulled as well. I will try the lite version for now. :D I agree this are another tool and should be taken grain of salt.

Zimmer62943
Aug 11, 2009, 04:57 AM
Being from Australia seeing how paranoid you americans are having to have a sex offenders app, absolutely disgusts me. What good information is this going to do for you? What u gonna go stake out the offenders are track them with your iphones gps?
Fair enough they have done something bad to get on the list in the first place but give them their privacy.

DerfBWH
Aug 11, 2009, 08:47 AM
Being from Australia seeing how paranoid you americans are having to have a sex offenders app, absolutely disgusts me. What good information is this going to do for you? What u gonna go stake out the offenders are track them with your iphones gps?
Fair enough they have done something bad to get on the list in the first place but give them their privacy.

As a paper carrier, I actually use this app, and it has come in handy. The paper I deliver doesn't usually do checks without me asking, so I take it upon myself - and one of my ex-customers was, in fact, a child molester.
You can never be too careful. They've done horrendous acts, and in my opinion, the point of being on this list isn't to destroy the privacy, it's to protect the children around them. Use it to make sure that house your looking forward to buying doesn't have a sicko living next to it.

GoCubsGo
Aug 11, 2009, 08:48 AM
Not every sex offender is child molester or rapist or some other kind of sick person.

You can be on the list if you had sex with your 15 years old girlfriend while you were 15 as well.


Here is a good and very recent article on Economist.

http://www.economist.com/displayStory.cfm?story_id=14164614&source=most_commented
This is true. However, I can also say if you're 18 and you have sex with your 16 year old g/f or vice versa, then if the parents wish to charge you with "rape" then you will certainly be a registered sex offender.

bstpierre
Aug 11, 2009, 08:53 AM
Does that mean in California you can't sell computers and/or web browsers if they are able to access the registries?

chameleon81
Aug 11, 2009, 10:31 AM
As a paper carrier, I actually use this app, and it has come in handy. The paper I deliver doesn't usually do checks without me asking, so I take it upon myself - and one of my ex-customers was, in fact, a child molester.
You can never be too careful. They've done horrendous acts, and in my opinion, the point of being on this list isn't to destroy the privacy, it's to protect the children around them. Use it to make sure that house your looking forward to buying doesn't have a sicko living next to it.

As discussed not everyone on that list is a sicko.

According the article I posted in 1996 even oral sex was barred in Georgia. ( probably in public places. )

I do not support having those kind actions in public and find it disrespectful to community but those people should not be in the same list with rapers and child molesters .

MacVixen
Aug 11, 2009, 10:51 AM
Does that mean in California you can't sell computers and/or web browsers if they are able to access the registries?

:confused:No......

It just means you can't *sell* the information. The registry is free for anyone to look at - California law prevents a company from mining that information and selling it for profit.

Ericatomars
Aug 11, 2009, 02:06 PM
yeah i see millions of people walking into poles and such to stay up to date on their sex offender where abouts.. such a joke... and most sex offenders dont keep up their registations so not only do you have wrong information but you wasted your money. if your turely that paranoid then lock your self and the kids in the house...

Zimmer62943
Aug 12, 2009, 05:56 AM
As a paper carrier, I actually use this app, and it has come in handy. The paper I deliver doesn't usually do checks without me asking, so I take it upon myself - and one of my ex-customers was, in fact, a child molester.
You can never be too careful. They've done horrendous acts, and in my opinion, the point of being on this list isn't to destroy the privacy, it's to protect the children around them. Use it to make sure that house your looking forward to buying doesn't have a sicko living next to it.

So what are u saying, u use this so can not deliver thier papers? or do you look on your phone, see they are on the list and then throw thier paper in the tree?