Even the Innocent Should Worry About Sex Offender Apps

The average citizen may not feel that they have anything to fear from the rise of apps that promise to identify sex offenders in their area but they are part of a worrying trend that should act as a warning about what happens when personal data is flattened out and sliced up into apparently user-friendly services.

Sex-offender-locator apps proudly boast that they can help users find sex offenders in their local area. But they aren’t, of course, actually detecting anything. US federal law mandates that every state must collect information on convicted sex offenders and make it available to the public online. Sex offender locator apps take this freely available data and repurpose it.

After loading the app on your phone, you are presented with a map of your surrounding area and an icon, such as the commonly used blue dot, to show your own position. As you move around your neighbourhood, the app tracks your movements and the blue dot moves accordingly. At the same time other dots or pins also appear on the screen. These are most often coloured red and indicate the address of a registered sex offender. Clicking on a pin opens a profile containing an image of the sex offender, some personal data such as their age, sex, ethnicity, date of birth and address, and a list of convictions together with the date of those convictions.

At first sight these applications seem helpful. Many parents would want to know if there was a sex offender living next door for understandable reasons. And since SORNA (as the sex-offender registry is known) mandates that local police forces should notify communities when sex offenders convicted of more serious crimes move into their neighborhood they aren’t necessarily providing much more information than users would receive without an app.

via Even the innocent should worry about sex offender apps – Quartz.

———————————————-

Journal of Law & Cyber Warfare | www.jlcw.org The Journal of Law & Cyber Warfare provides a public peer-reviewed law publication to foster open discussion and education of technology, government and legal stakeholder in relation to the complex issue of cyber warfare.  Journal of Law & Cyber Warfare accepts articles written by military, technology, judges, government officials, academic and legal practitioners.  The Journal of Law & Cyber Warfare provides a public peer-reviewed law publication to foster open discussion and education of technology, government and legal stakeholder in relation to the complex issue of cyber warfare.  Journal of Law & Cyber Warfare accepts articles written by military, technology, judges, government officials, academic and legal practitioners. The Journal of Law & Cyber Warfare is honored by the world class caliber editorial board that is involved with the Journal. Thought leaders from forensics, law, warfare, and cyber security are on the Board. The Journal is always looking for interested thought leaders who believe they can contribute in a meaningful fashion to the development of cyber warfare scholarship.

Author: Daniel Garrie

Daniel Garrie is a renowned computer forensics, e-discovery, privacy, and cyber security expert and thought leader. Quoted in Forbes and profiled in the Los Angeles Daily Journal, he is a frequently retained neutral and Chair of Alternative Resolution Center’s (ARC) E-Discovery and Forensic Dispute Resolution practice. Today, Mr. Garrie is a Partner and General Counsel for Law and Forensics LLC, a boutique legal strategy and forensics firm that works with clients across industries to address privacy, e-discovery and forensic issues in the U.S. and abroad.In the past two years, Mr. Garrie has been involved in over 50 e-discovery matters both in the U.S. and abroad.