Ohio State Senator Interested In Using 'Sex Offender Radar' To Alert People If Sex Offenders Are Nearby

from the civil-liberties-in-the-age-of-technology dept

For years, people have talked about the idea of a device (or mobile application) that could be useful for meeting available members of the appropriate sex. You could program in your likes and dislikes, and if you happen to be walking near a “match,” it would alert both of you. It appears that some are looking to take that concept and use it in a very different way: to help worried parents know if convicted sex offenders are nearby — and the idea is so intriguing that an Ohio state senator is considering regulating that certain sex offenders need to use the device. Basically, some convicted sex offenders would be required to wear a special bracelet. Then, anyone who was concerned could carry around a special device that would vibrate if one of those bracelets came within a certain distance. Of course, there wouldn’t be any indication of who the person was or even where he was — just that he was nearby. For obvious reasons, this has some folks questioning whether this violates various civil liberties. It also is hard to see how it does much good, especially since you still would have no idea who was wearing the bracelet. If anything, it would just make already worried parents more paranoid.

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Comments on “Ohio State Senator Interested In Using 'Sex Offender Radar' To Alert People If Sex Offenders Are Nearby”

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TheDock22 says:


It also is hard to see how it does much good, especially since you still would have no idea who was wearing the bracelet. If anything, it would just make already worried parents more paranoid.

We need less paranoia in this day and age, not more. Beside, why only sexual offenders? Why not violent ones too? Although the constant buzzing might get annoying…

BTR1701 (profile) says:

Re: Agreed

> Beside, why only sexual offenders? Why not
> violent ones too?

If you stop at just violent crimes, then the most serious criminals would still be able to walk around with impunity.

I personally believe that copyright infringers should have to be tagged as well. After all, who wants their kids around that kind of scum?



Ryan (profile) says:


There’s a really simple solution to the “sex offender” problem.

If they’re dangerous, keep them in jail. If a judge or jury decides they’re not dangerous, then treat them like any normal person – with no restrictions.

Your kid is way more likely to be molested by her uncle than by a random sex offender in your neighborhood.

If you’re scared of random unknown sex offenders who might be in the area then you fail as a parent.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: grr

Then perhaps you shouldnt pee in public or go panty raiding. Its illegal and actually quite disgusting. If you follow the laws you dont have to worry about being tracked on sex offender radar. Be a normal, law abiding, productive member of society and youll have nothing to worry about

Elohssa says:

Re: Re: Re:2 grr

So being disgusting is an act that deserves a permanent reduction to second class citizen? Infants peeing in their mother’s faces is disgusting, and we’ve all of us done that.

Who decides what is normal?
Who decides what constitutes productive?
Who are you to tell me what to worry about?

Talk less and think more, Anonymous Coward.

Asmodeus says:

Re: Re: Re:2

Absolutely. “Be normal”…by the way, who’s definition of normal are we using? Yours? Mine? Perhaps we should have the masochists definition, or for that matter the sadist’s?

The point I’m trying to make here is that using the law to think FOR you is a very dangerous situation. When you depend on the “law” to make every decision for you and decide what is “proper” for people to do, you start down a very short road. I’m not speaking of pedophiles, rapists, or those who have PROVEN to be an ACTUAL danger to society…I’m speaking of those “peeing in public” and the like. YOU might think this is disgusting and have every right to believe that way. Personally I think that people wearing Aeropostale shirts should be maimed on sight for being walking billboards…but that’s just me 😉

On a side note, there are sites out there that give you the location of your local sex offenders. They don’t tell you what they did exactly…just give you their names and addresses. Anyone else see someone getting drunk and thinking about “improving” our society by beating a few of these guys to death? I mean, it’s not like we don’t have people going around assaulting gays or anything right? Think about it.

In summary :
Raping someone = bad and worth strict penalties,
Peeing in public = inconsequential in the grand scheme of things and NOT WORTH THE TIME OR EFFORT.

My 2 cents,

Memorabilia says:

To #2, Ryan.

Jailing all sex offenders is expensive. I much prefer the idea that a well informed public and heavily restricted RSO’s, in public, is a much better, less expensive, solution. I’m all for better at less expense. These people have offended and jail isn’t the only way to make them pay their debt to society.

By the way, those creepy uncles don’t only rape inside the family, they take advantage of any and all kids they can get close to. For many sex offenders this means the opportunity for access to a relative is much greater than access to a neighborhood kid. But, an opportunistic predator isn’t going to “decline” the kid next door simply because they’re not related.

Parents don’t fail if they teach their kids to watch out for free roaming pedophiles. However they’re better parents if they let their kids know that family members, teachers, coaches, priests and just about anyone could be a groomer or a rapist. The real failures are the creepy uncles.

Sex offender radar won’t work because it puts the burden on the technology. The burden needs to be on the RSO, not everyone else.

Anonymous Coward2 says:

Worse than useless, dangerous

The real danger behind sex offender registries is not that they make people feel more paranoid, its that they give an illusion of safety. They only track people who are in compliance, that is they register and continue to register whenever they move. More importantly they only track those who have already been caught. They perpetuate the stereotype that a sex offender is some obviously evil person who can be labeled an isolated, that they are a different class of person. In fact, most sex offenders are known to and have a personal relationship with the person they attack. Reliance on these registries encourages people to think that they are safe when they are not interacting with someone who is on one.

Rich Kulawiec says:

Of course, nothing could possibly go wrong...

…like a battery failing, or someone stealing a bracelet,
or someone losing a bracelet, or someone deciding to
replicate the signal, or someone deciding to jam the
signal, or someone passing along one of these to an
unsuspecting person, or the Boston police department
going into a blind panic when they find one on the ground.

Ted Kennedy says:

Better Use

I’d much rather be made aware of any pick-pockets in the area.

I think most women have been made to feel so paranoid that they think every man around them is a rapist, so this would be useless for them, and bad parents just want the false security. I really don’t see how being buzzed every time some guy who was labeled a sex offender for being 18 and having sex with his 17 year old girlfriend who ratted him out as some sort of revenge is going to do anything but scare people to the point that they don’t leave their house.

Anonymous Coward says:

As long as female sexual predictors are included I’m good with it. If an adult male gets caught having sex with a 14 year old girl, he goes to jail for 8 years and is denied housing and a job for the remainder of his life. If an adult woman has sex with a 14 year old boy she gets probation or house arrest for a year or so.

As long as woman are equally included in this scarlet letter campaign, go for it 🙂

Equal rights = equal incarceration and stigmatization ! or does it ?

Anne (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I agree with you completely. As a feminist, it makes me sick when the female teacher/male student cases are laughed off, as in ‘Wow, I wish my English teacher had f–ed me when I was fourteen!’ Yet as a society we demand full punishment for any male teacher/female student sexual cases. I think it’s hypocritical.

I was also in support of Meagans Law, but now believe that it is far too stringent and casts a wide net, never allowing the offender to get on with their lives. If he raped a kid, then we should keep the bastard in prison for life, but on these wobbler cases, streaking, being a stupid teenager and mooning someone, all are behavior that can result in a lifetime requirement to register as a sex offender.

lizard (user link) says:

drawing the line

the article said “certain” sex offenders so i’m figuring that 18 year olds convicted of having consensual sex with 17 year olds wouldn’t apply (or would they? who knows). the point is, where do you draw the line, how do you determine who gets the radar transmitter, and more importantly, who gets the radar *reciever*? who do we say “needs” to know, and how do we know they aren’t vigilantes looking for someone to terrorize or humiliate?

look, i’m not saying i approve of sexual predators, but making them wear the electronic scarlet letter is opening up a huuuuuge can o’ worms, and where do you stop? how many threats to society will we feel the need to be warned about?

now — as a few commenters have mentioned, they’d rather know about pickpockets, or violent criminals. well, that’s a logical next step. and if they were to put this in effect for people who’d been convicted of any felony, i know a few people who have committed crimes, and then went on to become productive members of society. could they do this if they were wearing little criminal locator beacons? or would they be rejected from everywhere — retail locations, restaurants, public transit? people do rehabilitate you know. but not if they’re driven out of society.

when you’re talking about pervasive surveillance such as this, line drawing becomes such a complex issue, where do you stop? i’d rather not start, and use the old fashioned method of keeping my eyes on my kids and indoctrinating them to know it’s always ok to tell if anyone touches them.

sorry for long rant…

Brendan says:

Who's to say they will stop at criminals?

What prevents the government from implanting these transmitters into say a state id card or some other type of identification?this would then make everyone transmit their location.It is just another type of pet microchipping for people.If they are dangerous people increase the sentencing guidelines make the punishment harsher.As a parent I am more concerned with what my child is doing on their own.I don’t have time to worry about whether there are sex offenders transmitting their locations or not? There are plenty of other things to worry about when raising a child.

Barrenwaste says:

People Just Don't Know

If you add up all the ways to get on the sexual offender list you will find that it is now illegal to be male in America.

First, a little look into your average male. Most males want sex. It’s a fact, we can’t help it, it’s just the way we are built. Most of us can control our social reactions so that this obscene drive isn’t noticeable. However, occaisionally we are driven to profess our drive to a woman. In these cases we are usually flushed with excitement, anticipation, angxiety, and the chemicals that go along with sexual attraction. Understandably we are a bit akward when professing this. We stutter, we blush, we stare off into nothing, and blurt out things that we really didn’t want to blurt out. In short, we are nervous and really, really, really hoping the target female doesn’t laugh in our faces. To combat this we often have a few drinks to “screw up some courage” before admitting to such vile emotions and feelings.

Now add to this mixture the fact that if the female feels “threatened” by the males advance she can have him arrested, fined, jailed, and ostracised for a minimum of 25 years. Just for asking for a date….

And just for kicks let’s take into account highschool sweethearts, laws forbidding defendants from confronting thier accusers in court, laws turning failure to sign a piece of paper into a repeat sexual offense, and laws forbidding homes and jobs, and laws forbidding adult entertainment. No wonder there is a “problem” with sexual predators in our country, it’s now a sexual offense to have male reproductive organs. Good thing I’m not….wait…anybody know where I can get a passport? The Sahara desert is looking really, really good right now.

SpecialCase says:

This whole thing stinks...

It seems that parents today want to have as little responsibility for raising their kids as possible. Parents will rise up and say “there outta be a law to prevent X or protect from Y” when there really is no need for such legislative loco parentis. Just do your job as parents, take responsibility and the kids will learn for themselves since it is physically impossible for you to be there 24/7/366 for your kids’ entire life.

Penalties for crimes should have a set time frame after which you are free to resume life as a citizen again provided you obey the law. To create an underclass of the criminally convicted yet free is unjust. A criminal sentence is a debt that is owed society for the damage caused unto it. When you get a mortgage loan for your house, it specifies the term that the money is to be repaid over. Once you finish payment on the loan, you have no further obligations to the lender. The same should apply for those convicted of a crime, regardless of the nature of the crime. If you think that the “debt” given to the convicted is insufficient, then lobby for more prison time so long as the time is commensurate of the crime (i.e. life imprisonment for shoplifitng), not “perpetual punishment” post-release. While I personally disagree with many of these hard sentences for relatively mild crimes (e.g. drug possession), I am more willing to accept them than registration databases that really only track the ones that want to be tracked. Remember that criminals are those who do not obey the law, so if you are already breaking one law that will send you to prison for a long time, why not ice the cake (what is 5 years more on a 30 year sentence)?

Barrenwaste says:

This whole thing stinks

Excellently put. Incarceration and fines, those are morally acceptable and responsible. Refusing to allow people to once again take up a life, enter back into society, after having paid those dues, is not. Nor is placing the burden of responsibility on the government. We, as americans, have come perilously close to creating the government the communist world has accused us of having for the past sixty years. Every responsibility we foist onto the federal or state governments is a right we lose. That is the cost of freedom, responsibility. Look at the laws that we have and ask yourself are they truly needed? In the system we have set upon ourselves it is often the “victim” who is the true predator. Frivolous lawsuits aimed at aquiring fortunes, not justice. Criminal cases in which the defendent must prove innocence rather than the prosecution proving guilt. Multinational corporations buying laws that force others to sell thier products and create monopolies. Our ancestors must be looking down on us and crying out in fury. These are just the things they fought to protect us from.

Every way we, the average citizen, turn we are brought up against the things we cannot do. Politically correct speach cannot eradicate prejudice. If it doesn’t matter what color you are or what sexual preferrence you have, then why must I say that you are Asian American or have a Life Partner? If I slip in your store, because of a puddle of water, it doesn’t mean you were criminally negligent. Accidents happen. And just because you shot, and killed, another person does not make you some inhumane monster. The worst crime we can commit is that of apathy, and it is sweeping this nation like a plauge.

Anthony says:

The list can be a joke

Several years ago in Australia a 15-year old was arrested for production, distribution and possession of child pornography. Her crime? Taking photos of herself and putting them on the Internet. So now for the rest of her life she is on the same list as scum who molest 1-year olds. I don’t know if she’ll be put on the list at her age in the US, but if this bracelet comes into play, then she could be unfairly targeted even moreso than she would be without it. And no one would know what her crime was because her name wasn’t released at the time because she was also the “victim”.

George W. Clinton says:

Crime = Punishment

A previous comment claimed that if you don’t want to be treated bad, don’t comit crimes.

He was refering to “Panty Raids” and “Urinating in Public” being offenses that can get you on the Sex-Crimes list.

Very well, I see the point, and to a degree agree. However, the punnishment should fit the crime. In the US, of which Ohio is a part, the constitution bars cruel and unusual punnishment.

As much as I think some sexual crimes are very hideous, I think the US has gone overboard and ventured into punnishments for some of these crimes which are unwarranted. It’s become popular to make these criminals targets of schemes that would be deemed rediculous for any other crime.

But back to the original point someone else brought up that “if you don’t commit the crime you have nothing to worry about”.

Everyone has broken a law at some point or another. Should we start executing people who pirate music, break the speed-limit, drink alcohol under age, go across on amber when they could have stopped, change lanes without signalling, tell lies about colleagues (slander), infringe on copyrights by taking a photo at dinner (and there is a painting in the background).

No, each crime has it’s own punnishment. Let’s not go overboard here. No one is a saint, and no one wants to live in a draconian society. People should serve their time and then be allowed to live their life unhindered.

kato says:

sex offender radar?

Am I the only one that sees that this phony is just using sex offenders to get elected. Then they make more useless laws that only penalize their families. I’m trying to figure out how it is that they can even think to fix a problem when they don’t even understand the questions. Most of these pretenders that are banging the “save the children” drums to get elected, couldn’t care less about your kids or mine. If they did, People like John Couey would never have been out of prison to rape and murder an innocent little girl. Then they don’t even have sense enough to watch a house that is highly questionable till after they accidentally find her body. After they fail that little girl, what do they do? They propose more laws against people who should never have been let out of prison to begin with. Ya I’ll vote for the moron….yeah right!!! Then they desecrate those children’s memory by naming laws after them that does nothing but hurt all the wrong people. 50% of the registry is made up of people who have never hurt anyone, then they throw the child rapists and murderers right in the middle so you can’t tell who is who. Real safe….Hey?

pailrider says:

please elect me because I hate sex offenders

Does the good senator realize that there are many who see him for what he really is? Will the distinguished gentleman from Ohio please respond to this question? “What the hell are people doing out of prison when they are so dangerous that they have to be monitored with an electronic device?” Now please allow me to express my own thoughts on this matter and then you may respond. I’m thinking that you are simply taking advantage of the media’s success with sensationalism, mixing it with the pain of the unfortunates who have had the experience of meeting up with those you have released upon us, and then you are pretending “get tough” on those same individuals, so that you may become the “champion of children” everywhere. In light of that, to me, you are simply unelectable. When you have the good sense to use an electronic device to monitor these dangerous individuals from inside a prison fence, then you will have my vote and probably the votes of many others as well.

tina says:

Much study has been given to the fact that a sex offender’s can’not change. So why are they out and about in our society and we must come up with ways to protect our children. They can be hired as coaches, teachers, bus drivers etc where children are eccesible. Scary world we live in when we are more concerned with the rights of child molesters, then that of our law obiding citizens

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