Sex Offender Locator App Yanked from App Store

Top-Selling iPhone App: Sex Offender Locator

Yet another iPhone app has been given the boot by Apple.

On Thursday, Apple removed Offender Locator, a popular application that had been among the top ten best-selling paid apps in the company's App store.

The application lets users view the locations of registered sex offenders living in their area.

Though the 99-cent version has been pulled, a free version is still available.

The application was developed by ThinAir Wireless, a GPS-tracking and wireless monitoring company.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment from But in a statement released today ThinAir said its paid application "was removed due to unsubstantiated, inaccurate legal concerns."

The specific legal concerns have not been spelled out publicly at this point, but commenters on the technology Web site CNET and the blog TechCrunch suggested the state of California prohibits the sale of criminal information for profit.

In its statement, ThinAir also said that the second version of its application, which had been submitted to Apple last week, included a structure to donate 10 percent of the proceeds from its app to support philanthropic organizations, including Stop Child Predators.

App Pinpoints Registered Sex Offenders in a Neighborhood

In July, ThinAir CEO Howard "Trip" Wakefield told that the app is one part of the company's suite of "Peace of Mind" products. Other services in markets include a GPS tracking system for teenagers and an alert system that sends subscribers real-time text messages from government agencies about weather and emergency situations.

"The offender locator is kind of like the first step in peace of mind -- who's your neighbor," he said. "Our goal is really to allow parents to be aware of the different people that are just living right around the corner from them."

Although he wouldn't provide specific numbers, he said both the free and paid versions have been downloaded tens of thousands of times since early June. The free version provides fewer locations of sex offenders in the area than the paid version, and only lets users access the app a limited number of times each day.

The app prompts users to type in their address and then generates a map of the area with pinpoints showing where sex offenders have said they live.

Although the information is available for free on each state's sex offender registry Web site, Wakefield said they charge a price for the full version because the technology to power their service is expensive. The information may be free online, but their tool makes it easier for the public to access it, he said.

While ThinAir's paid application is no longer available in the App store, other paid applications that say they track sex offenders, including Sex Offenders Search and StaySafe Personal, remain.

However, ThinAir's Sex Offender Locator isn't the only app that's run into problems. Here are few others.

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