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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 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.

"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs

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