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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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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.


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