MySpace Sex Offenders Caught by Wired News

Here is an interesting experiment in computer programming, investigative tactics and creative sleuthing.

Wired News is reporting that they created a software script that sorted through MySpace profiles and compared them with sex offender registries to find a number of registered sex offenders who had personal profiles on the social network site.

From the article —

Six months ago, Wired News launched an investigation of MySpace with the goal of comparing the company’s 120 million user profiles against public sex offender registries to see how many matches we could find.

The project began when Wired News contributor Jenn Shreve found a handful of matches based on a random search. How many would you find with a software script that systematically went through those records and compared them all?

We decided to find out. I wrote a series of Perl scripts and began sifting the data.

The technique was crude, like searching for a needle in a haystack. When I began checking ostensible matches by hand, false positives registered in the thousands.

Nevertheless, after several weeks of part-time work on the project, I was led to one suspect whose behavior was so disturbing I contacted New York’s Suffolk County Police Department for comment. The suspect, Andrew Lubrano, was arrested earlier this month on attempted child endangerment charges.

Some 700 other matches were also confirmed, though none of those individuals could be linked by public MySpace posts to actual evidence of wrongdoing.

Wired News is also making their sex offender script available for anyone to use, validate and improve upon. You can read the rest of the article and download the script at the link below.

Source: How to Catch a MySpace Creep