Computer Crime Research Center


Website of sex offenders

Date: May 26, 2005

The Justice Department will launch a national sex offender registry Web site that will allow people to check state databases with a single search, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said on Friday.

"With this technology, every citizen and law enforcement officer will be able to search the latest information for the identity and location of known sex offenders," he said in prepared remarks announcing the new registry.

Protect your children online now!

Gonzales and other Justice Department officials said that within 60 days they expect to have the site available for public use and searches, with at least 20 states participating in the registry.

They said they want by autumn to have online information from the 48 states that have public sex offender registries. It will be up to each state to decide whether to link into the new system.

"We will be working with the two remaining states to be sure that everyone gets on board with this important public notification system," Gonzales said. The department released a copy of his prepared remarks at the National Press Club.

Under the Justice Department's registry, an individual can enter a name, zip code, county or other query to search for registered sex offenders. Department officials said a limited number of public and for-profit Web sites now attempt to offer the data from the various states.

They said the new registry would promote public safety by using already existing sex offender data, would minimize the time and cost required to create a new repository and would allow state and local agencies to keep control over the data.

The officials said policy concerns over privacy issues and misuse of the data would be avoided because the states keep control of the data, rather than creating a federal database.

They said the registry cannot be used by employers to screen applicants for jobs. That would violate FBI policy and would be inconsistent with the noncriminal justice background checks in the Interstate Crime Control and Privacy Compact.

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