Sex Offender iPhone Applications Address Legal Constraints

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Aug 10, 2009.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Last week, TechCrunch noted that the popular Offender Locator iPhone application [App Store, $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.
    The theory was supported by the continued offering of a limited free version of the application, Offender Locator Lite [App Store, Free], although other users noted that a competing paid application, Sex Offenders Search [App Store, $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.
    In addition, Offender Locator has reappeared in the App Store with a similar statement appended to its description.
    Article Link: Sex Offender iPhone Applications Address Legal Constraints
  2. macrumors regular


    May 26, 2004
    Nashville, TN

    oh.. wait..

  3. macrumors 6502a

    Xian Zhu Xuande

    Jul 30, 2008
    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.
  4. macrumors 65816


    Jan 12, 2006
    Leeds, UK
    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.
  5. macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    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.
  6. macrumors 68020


    Aug 31, 2003
    Wherever my feet take me…
    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.

    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.
  7. macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2009
    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.
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 16, 2007
    Indiana, US
    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.
  9. macrumors 6502a


    May 15, 2008
    Houston, Tx
    Now, if someone could just develop and App that would tie in the Sex Offender Database with Online Dating Apps............
  10. macrumors regular

    Apr 15, 2007
    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.
  11. macrumors 68020


    Mar 29, 2009
    A man of the people. The right sort of people.
    Tell you what, when I have kids, I'll have that app installed pronto. Great idea, hope it lives on.
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Xian Zhu Xuande

    Jul 30, 2008
    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 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.
  13. macrumors 68030

    Full of Win

    Nov 22, 2007
    Ask Apple
    Quick someone call John Gruber!

    I'm sure he can make this molehill into a he did last time! Who cares about facts and such, when you got some one like Ol' John doing the writing.
  14. macrumors 68040

    Gasu E.

    Mar 20, 2004
    Not far from Boston, MA.
    Quite right.

    Anyone who unquestioningly supports sex-offender registration laws should consider the following chilling quote, from the current issue of The Economist:
  15. macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2009
    iPhone app promotes vigilante violence

    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
  16. macrumors 68020


    Aug 31, 2003
    Wherever my feet take me…
    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.
  17. macrumors 68020


    Aug 31, 2003
    Wherever my feet take me…
    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.
  18. macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2007
    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.
  19. macrumors 68030

    Full of Win

    Nov 22, 2007
    Ask Apple
    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)
  20. macrumors 65816


    Nov 26, 2008
    California, USA
    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.
  21. macrumors regular

    Aug 21, 2007
    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.
  22. macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2006
  23. macrumors 604


    Jun 9, 2009
    Mich near Detroit
    I wonder about the other app

    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.
  24. macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2008
    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.
  25. macrumors regular

    Aug 11, 2008
    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.

Share This Page