CUPERTINO, Calif. – Offender Locator, one of the hottest new iPhone apps, costs less than a buck and provides users with the mapped locations of registered sex offenders living in their area or wherever the phone happens to be. It has become so popular, in fact, that it recently cracked the Top 10 paid app list.
According to TechCrunch, the app works by scrubbing sex offender databases and lists based either on the iPhone’s location, a contact address or a location manually entered into the device, and then serves up a feast of information.
“You can click on any of these names to get a picture of the person, their information like date of birth, height, weight, and a picture. And you can also see the specific sexual crime they were charged with,” TC reports.
The app does provide a disclaimer that some of the information could be wrong, and it may not even be legal in some states, such as California, where it is illegal to profit from the dissemination of an individual’s personal information, even if that person is a former offender. The information provided is, of course, also available for free on government websites.
The popularity of the app has already opened some eyes as to the number of ex-sex-offenders around the country.
“Then we scroll down and then there’s more and more,” said Ben Leonard, of West Texas, looking at the new app. “This is astounding. There are a lot of people in here.”
Others are making a reasonable connection between the ways that technology can be used, and some unforeseen ramifications that could be problematic down the road. As more and more states deal with the sexting phenomenon, with some considering making offenders subjects to inclusion on sex offender lists, Offender Locator provides a timely reminder that we might want to think twice before we decide to parade a generation of young people through the digital pubic square for doing what comes naturally.