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Perl script used to sniff out sex offenders leads to arrest

By using 1000 lines worth of code over several Perl scripts, former hacker and currrent Wired editor Kevin Poulsen was able to identify 744 sex offenders with MySpace profiles. 497 MySpace users are registered for sex crimes against children, with six of them listed as repeat offenders. At least 243 of the 497 have convictions in 2000 or later. Poulsen reveals in a Wired article how he helped to indentify and catch a known sex offender who was preying upon young boys through MySpace.

"In May, I began an automated search of MySpace's membership rolls for 385,932 registered sex offenders in 46 states, mined from the Department of Justice's National Sex Offender Registry website -- a gateway to the state-run Megan's Law websites around the country," Poulsen wrote. "I searched on first and last names, limiting results to a five mile radius of the offender's registered ZIP code."

The code that Kevin Poulsen quickly wrote was far from perfect and turned up many false or unverifiable matches. Poulsen then worked part-time to sift through the data and manually compare photographs, ages and other data.

"For every profile with warning signs, I found eight without," he continued. "In many cases, the sex offender's MySpace profile is a window into a seemingly normal life: Their comment board is innocent; their image gallery contains a wedding photo or two; the underage friends on their list, if they have any, turn out to be relatives, or adults lying about their age to game MySpace's old security model -- in which only 14- and 15 year-olds enjoyed private profiles."

The result of all that work culminated on October 2, 2006 when New York's Suffolk County Police Department apprehended 39-year-old Andrew Lubrano, who now faces his his fourth arrest for a sex crime over the last 20 years.

Today, Kevin Poulsen is releasing to the public the code he wrote that helped to identify sex offenders on MySpace. The download link may be found here, along with a few pages of explanation on exactly how the code works.

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this really annoys me
By GhandiInstinct on 10/20/2006 2:49:28 PM , Rating: 2
Our judicial system tells us this is one of the worst crimes, and punishable by law. Then why do these sex offenders always get loose? Even allowed back in society?

RE: this really annoys me
By MrSmurf on 10/20/06, Rating: -1
RE: this really annoys me
By Etern205 on 10/20/2006 3:50:03 PM , Rating: 1
You really are an idiot!
A 17 year old would be consider as a teenager.
If he was 18 or above then it would be something else.

What this article is about is men who wants
to have sex with underage girls. How young?
Probably from the ages of 10-17.

Also I'm glad that someone wrote a
program to catch these lowlifes, but
I'm also disgusted that these sex offenders are let out.

They never learn from their mistakes so why
let them be free, when the firing squad
is eager to pull their triggers?

RE: this really annoys me
By cplusplus on 10/20/2006 4:11:19 PM , Rating: 4
Just so you know, when two teenagers sleep with each other, legally they have both commited statuatory rape. It doesn't get prosecuted for obvious reasons, but technically it is a sex crime.

IIRC, the law is usually less than 5 years difference and it's a misdemeanor, more than 5 years and it's a felony. So something like 22-17 is a felony, while 23-18 isn't a crime at all.

RE: this really annoys me
By FITCamaro on 10/20/2006 4:19:09 PM , Rating: 1
I don't believe this is the case everywhere. It depends on the age of consent. And if both are below the age of consent, I don't think theres anything anyone can do as long as its not rape.

In my mind, two 15 year olds having sex isn't a crime, its just incredibly stupid.

RE: this really annoys me
By Decoy26517 on 10/21/2006 11:51:45 AM , Rating: 2
Depends on which state your in. Florida states its ok to have sex if with someone under 16 if your 17 and under. if your 18 you can only have sex with people over 16, and if your 21 and over you can only have sex with people over 18. I know it varies state to state as to which age can be pared with a younger age for it to be considered statuatory rape, So it really does depend on which state you live in.

RE: this really annoys me
By FITCamaro on 10/20/2006 4:16:37 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Two teenagers having sex isn't a crime. It's looked down on, but its not illegal. An 18 year old having sex with a 17 year old isn't a sex offender either in most states as long as it was consensual.

And they get out because its not as huge a crime as is say, killing someone. We only have so much space in jails. I'm not saying I'm glad they do, its just not possible to keep them all. Now if they adopt my philosophy, there would be no problem. But since the US is to touchy feely about executing people like that, we get to deal with them as our neighbors instead of corpses.

And as the first post said, think? MySpace is a child predators wet dream. Except its not a dream.

RE: this really annoys me
By shoRunner on 10/20/2006 5:28:00 PM , Rating: 3
You may not consider it a crime, but the laws in many states would say different. and the people convicted are considered sex criminals.

RE: this really annoys me
By cnimativ on 10/20/06, Rating: -1
RE: this really annoys me
By jimmy43 on 10/20/2006 7:45:27 PM , Rating: 2
Truly the stupidest comment of the day! Congratulations!

RE: this really annoys me
By thecoolnessrune on 10/21/2006 1:20:41 AM , Rating: 1
im not sure.... Pedophiles most obviously prey on the stupid.... Do I believe what they do is wrong? Well, I can say yes, but giving a clear drawn line is difficult. Having sex with a prepubescent, whether male or female, is sick and deserves an immediately carried out death sentence. Do I believe a 17 and 14 year old having sex is a crime? I think its stupid, and if your a Christian like me you also know its a sin (premarrital sex), but it doesn't deserve death by any standard as long as everything is consentual. The laws controlling the majority of men are created from the stupidity of the minority of women. A few teen women who need affection so bad that they would entrust their safety to someone the met online is retarded to begin with. I hate seeing how many have died due to it. But at the same time I withold much sympathy simply because of the stupidity of their actions. Do I believe there should be some protection? Of course, and harsh punishment for those true pedophiles. But the current teens have sex > find male > blame male > put him on pedophile list forever mentality needs to change along with the belief that all men will take advantage of any woman available. Will some men? of course, as well as will some women preying on boys. But not all men are that way. I certainly am not.

RE: this really annoys me
By Wwhat on 10/21/2006 8:51:02 AM , Rating: 1
ROFL at you american 'christians'.
Ever read the bible? you better not! you'd be shocked and would be spending the rest of your life burning any copy you found.

RE: this really annoys me
By thecoolnessrune on 10/21/2006 11:37:12 AM , Rating: 2
Fornication explicitly means (In the King James Version) "sex before marriage." This is harped many many times in the Bible. I am by no means a theologian, however, I am also versed well in the Bible. However, even on a pure intellectual basis, you know as well as I do that it is ridiculous to come here and spout off nonsense without proof. If you can prove otherwise then you are only helping me. However you contributed nothing except useless banter. It is you who would be laughed at. Find some info and your all good. No need to flame fest the place.

RE: this really annoys me
By Christopher1 on 10/21/2006 11:25:42 PM , Rating: 1
Uh..... wrong. I am a pedophile myself, and we do not 'prey upon the stupid'. In fact, I am upfront with people that I am a pedophile, and most people are okay with it.
The problem is that we make pedophiles HIDE their sexual orientation out of the fear of discriminatory laws and discrimination against them from overly protective parents whose real issue is the time and energy it would take to monitor their children's sexual relationships with ANYONE.

The problem isn't that pedophiles are in this world, the problem is that we have gone to the degree of treating children and teenagers as infants who cannot make sexual choices themselves, or we are keeping them from sex for religious reasons (that should not be forced upon children) or blatent lies like "Adults get children and teenagers pregnant" (which the AMA has said has the honor of being other teenagers and children who are mainly doing that).

That is more because they are IGNORANT of basic sex information than that they cannot make the choices for themselves, as I did when I was 7 with a 14 year old girl and numerous women and teenage girls after that.

We need to realize that most 'sex offenders' are driven to force sex on others by the fact that if they are HONEST about their sexual attractions that are not 'mainstream' (such as someone who likes forced sex play or who is attracted to children), they are treated as monsters by idiots and intolerants.

RE: this really annoys me
By thecoolnessrune on 10/22/2006 5:19:38 PM , Rating: 2
FWIW, I dont consider someone dating a 14 year old as a pedophile. I consider the act of anyone engaging in sexual acts whether they be minors or adults before marriage to be moronic.

I fully know what its like to be treated like an infant as a teenager. Im not an adult myself. Im 17 :P I live with my grandparents who are very constricting at times. However im not stupid like the 14 year olds that think going and having sex with a stranger will prove they are capable of handling adult responsibilities.

Dont try to tell a teenager that a teenager doesn't know sexual information. Kids and teenagers today know more about sex for their age than any of their last generation did. I know teens have a sex drive. Thats obvious. Its also rediculous that teens have sex. There is no sanctity, nor real affection, its just getting off. This generation as well as slightly past and even worse in the future.... they are simply idiots.

Its the usual argument. Adults are out of touch with children. You yourself who claims to know the information, is trying to teach a teenager what im *supposed* to know? Thats truly moronic.

Lastly, I *hope* what you said last was just bad wording choice. Forcing someone of ANY age is rape. It's wrong. It's disgusting. And it deserves a slow, painful death to the person that committed such an atrocity.

RE: this really annoys me
By ElJefe69 on 10/23/2006 2:23:05 PM , Rating: 1
16 year old + 22 was legal in VA when i was there.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

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