It sounds like a Brass Eye hoax but looks like the iPhone app – Find Sex Offenders Free! – is a real app…And yes, that exclamation mark is genuinely included in the title.
Made by a San Diego Company Thinking Drone, it works in America using what we assume is a publically available database of where sex offenders live.
Because it is built to work off an American database, I can’t see if it works in the UK. But it has poor reviews from its American users: with over 30 comments accusing it of crashing regularly and not managing to pick up known offenders in the local area. Thinking Drone claim it includes addresses, pictures and names of registered sex offenders.
One more positive commenter gave it three stars: saying – “App works great in Georgia, easy to use! I also checked some locations in North Carolina works there also, although the information retrieved was vague.”
The app makers explain the rationale behind the apps:
“This app lets users locate registered sex offenders in all 50 states with a single touch. By letting users perform unlimited searches for sex offenders based on GPS coordinates, from their contact list, or by street address, families now have peace of mind in knowing where they can safely let their kids play.”
They list the features of the app:
* NO limits on search results
* NO limits on number of uses per day
* Full featured application!
* Use GPS function to find registered offenders in close proximity
* Search for registered offenders by addresses in your contacts
* Input address manually to find offenders in the area
* Map all offenders in the selected area
* Detailed profile of each offender (picture, location, description)
* Map selected offender
Back in the comment boards, the idea of the app also arouses strong passion – with people saying that it is wrong being able to see where people live like this & others saying it is a great idea for protecting children – if only
It can’t be a complete hoax because Apple obviously approved it to go in the app store, but it does look like a bit of a joke. Unusually, there’s only one screengrab in the iTunes store, of the homescreen.
I’ll emailed Thinking Drone asking more about the app so I’ll update this when I find out..