Apple pulls paid sex offender locator, leaves free version | iLounge News


Apple pulls paid sex offender locator, leaves free version

Apple has pulled the paid version of ThinAir Wireless’ Offender Locator application from the App Store, but left the free version—Offender Locator Lite—in place. Offender Locator used publicly-available databases to help users locate sex offenders in their areas. Trip Wakefield, a ThinAir employee, told Cnet that the app was pulled for unspecified legal reasons, although readers on both Cnet and TechCrunch have suggested that the state of California prohibits the sale of criminal information for profit, which would have made the paid version of the application illegal. Wakefield also noted that a competing paid application, Sex Offenders Search, remains on sale.

Related Stories



That other app, Sex Offenders Search, is NOT displaying California data, according to their iTunes description.

Posted by Todd Bernhard on August 8, 2009 at 3:06 AM (CDT)


If I were a developer I would be scared that my app could get pulled at any time. I did want to develop for the iPhone, but these days the app store is so volitle that any app or any developer could be yanked at any time. This is not looking good for Apple. At least not untill they can straighten out their issues with the FCC and the app store.

Posted by Apple Rash on August 8, 2009 at 3:00 PM (CDT)


sounds to me like California is due for some lambasting on this one.  While I do think the sex offender laws can be onerous and life-ruining, what’s wrong with selling the data for a profit?  To me, that says that people want it, and it’s there to get provided. 

Why’s the state get to stand in the way?  For a ‘liberal’ state, cali strikes out on liberty here.

Posted by shawn on August 8, 2009 at 6:30 PM (CDT)


It’s kind of a gray area because the developer is not selling the information but merely providing a better means of obtaining it. I think 99 cents was a good deal.  I’m glad I got it before they yanked it.

Posted by Dave on August 9, 2009 at 1:07 AM (CDT)


#2, since it was actually illegal for it to be sold then this is one (of the few) examples were Apple was completely justified in suddenly pulling an app.

I think the app dev could get around this by selling the app without the data, then downloading the data form within the app once it is installed. The laws do not prevent a paid app from downloading the data, they just prevent selling the data itself.

Posted by Ned Scott on August 9, 2009 at 2:55 AM (CDT)


#3, a law like this protects customers and is in their benefit the vast majority of the time. CA’s legal data is free, and preventing someone from turning a profit on the state’s hard work is not only fair, but prevents some jerk form tricking someone into paying when they don’t need to.

Posted by Ned Scott on August 9, 2009 at 3:03 AM (CDT)


Am I the only one that thinks that once someone has spent their sentence it’s none of anyone else’s business where they live? If they are still a danger then they should still be under sentence, if not then they should be free from spying iPhone users.

Posted by Fanman on August 9, 2009 at 3:19 AM (CDT)


ned/#6:  though I understand the intent of your comment, it’s extremely paternalistic, as well as obviously undervaluing the perceived worth of the app to those who bought it.  Obviously, to them, it was worth .99.  There’s added value, apparently, in having this on my ipod, rather than in the state’s hands.

As far as ‘turning a profit on the state’s hard work’...well, it’s not like they weren’t paid for it via tax dollars. There’s nothing to worry about here.

#7: yes, well, of course you’re right…but then we’d just have to find something else to freak out about, if it weren’t that *every second* our children are on the verge of abduction/assault.  ;)  Thank *goodness* the government is here to look out for us.

(sorry, have my well-nigh-anarchist stripes shown through? drat.)

Posted by shawn on August 9, 2009 at 12:34 PM (CDT)


#8, I think you misunderstand me. In the comment I made before (#5) I suggest a way the app dev can satisfy the law while still making a profit. It’s obvious that the value in the app is how it is applying/organizing the data, and my comment in #6 wasn’t regarding the app in question, but was just a general comment on the law.

But like I said in #5, he just needs to make it so the app downloads/syncs the data after it is installed, kind of like how an anti-virus app downloads new definitions. Then he wouldn’t he selling the data, but simply the container that can manipulate the data.

Posted by Ned Scott on August 10, 2009 at 2:20 AM (CDT)

Subscribe to iLounge Weekly

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter

iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2018 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy