How to catch a paedophile on Myspace

Written by Ryan Garside

October 17, 2006 // 11:20 a.m.

Tags: #abuse #child #hacker #investigation #kevin #lubrano #magazine #myspace #paedophiles #police #poulsen #wired

Former hacker and current Senior Editor of Wired, Kevin Poulsen, has recently sparked a bit of internet controversy by uncovering paedophiles lurking in Web 2.0 wonderland, Myspace.

Five months ago Poulsen wrote a few lines of code which searched through Myspace's 1 million plus user profiles searching for the names and addresses of anyone who is on the sex offenders list. That code uncovered 39 year-old Andrew Lubrano, father of five, a convicted sex offender, who it seemed was once again up to no good.

The code looked through Myspace profiles, searching for 385,932 registered sex offenders in 46 US states. Poulsen claims that Myspace said that what he was doing was not possible. Poulsen discovered 497 people registered on Myspace had committed sexual crimes against children. Most of these people turned out to be using Myspace innocently or simply not using it at all but then Poulsen stumbled upon a 39 year old man named Lubrano. Here is an extract from the original article which you can read here:

"Lubrano stood out early in the results. His rap sheet was chilling, and by the time I found him, a half-a-dozen underage boys populated his friends list, many commenting on his message board. He lavishes particular attention on Jacob (not his real name), the 14-year-old in Virginia, lamenting the distance from his home on Long Island to the house Jacob shares with his grandparents near Washington D.C. -- about a six hour drive. "Damn," he writes, "it's a shame you don't live close by boy the things we can do."

It's a truly shocking read – raising the question of how many sex offenders are using sites like Myspace incognito? Surely they can't all be as stupid as Lobrano and use their real names. Myspace has said since that it is hoping laws will come into place that will allow them to prohibit all registered sex offenders from signing up with the site. The article is a very interesting read, with more details about how Poulsen went about creating the code and how the police eventually invited Poulsen along to the stake out and eventual arrest of the sex offender.

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