Finding housing in child exclusion zones…there’s an app for that

Do you, or someone you know, need help finding housing compliant with residency restrictions? There is now an app that may help with that, as reported by the Sex Law and Policy Center.

A relatively recent Google Play app, CSZfree, seeks to aid registrants in need of housing but bound by residency restrictions. These laws limiting where people on the registry can lawfully reside have been an increasingly popular measure to punish registrants. Over the past decade a number of states and localities passed legislation banning registrants from living near parks, swimming pools, day cares, schools, and other such places where children frequently congregate. The specified distance from such places varies from 500 to 2,500 feet depending on the jurisdiction. 

Read more here.

Link to the CSZfree app

3 thoughts on “Finding housing in child exclusion zones…there’s an app for that

  1. What an easy way into sex offenders' cellphones. Just create an app that pretends to help, then collects phone number, name, location etc of the offender and keeps track of that data. Additionally it could collect browser history, contacts and other information and fingerprint files for checking for child pornography.The nice thing is though, that people will install just about anything on their phone if it's available, without knowing who's behind the app, their intentions, et cetera. That is why I was working many years ago on a Website devoted to doing the same thing. Anonymously checking this information is the way to go, which cannot be achieved through an app. It seems weird the author targetted the platform for phones given privacy concerns.Hopefully the app is legit. But here's the problem even if it is:The information is limited and can provide a false sense of help. It can only be as useful as the information provided in the databases. In some states like California as I learned, you cannot get a list of child care centers to add to the exclusion list. This is for THEIR privacy also. In my opinion they need to allow registrants to obtain lists our government loves to create, so that people like me can write applications to perform these kinds of helpful services to stay compliant with the law.The reality is that most registering offices could care less if a registrant has a difficult time finding a place to live.

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  2. The CSZ APP was created by a registrant here in Texas and has been a great resource for many of our registered folks and family members. It is much more accurate than the system used by parole and probation and has been very helpful to those who are searching for approved housing.

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  3. Hi Anonymous, thank you for your comment. I've tried doing some basic homework on the author of the app but unfortunately my internet connection is over 4G (at 1x throttled at the moment due to overage). This means I wasn't able to load the Texas Secretary of State website. If you happen to know how to reach the author directly, could you please relay to him/her/them that I would like to discuss the project with them and my email address is nick@icode4u.com?My work in the past on something similar yielded many issues including inability get master-lists of locations that are considered excluded here in California due to “State Law” that was cited by an officer I spoke with at my local Sheriff department when I was working on the back-end software. Instead, I opted to move towards FOIA requests as a solution and still looking for that State Law here in California.In every State where residency and other presence restrictions in place, the application of those are either blanket restrictions or per crime statute or by registry tier. My database took this into account and let users select which restrictions were in place for them. My system also had additional features planned in, but not yet baked in, which included pulling bulk addresses from known addresses where they were okay (not in the exclusion zones) and the ones that were residential were updated daily in their own database. In this way, I could aggregate rental listings from sources like Craigslist and local listings from other sources so that they are cross referenced where possible to spit out a list for registrants to get updated daily with, removing the ones they've already seen using their own personal exclusion list they can mark off. An app with virtually no permissions required to access other than “Zip code” would be the best way to guarantee privacy to the registrant for using the service.The website would offer the ability for crowd-sourced mappings when accounts are created. This allows staff to administratively audit accounts suspect of database-sabatosh and tainting to have their records redacted from being published if required. All updates would be visually inspected.One of the requirements of the service is that in most cases, the language of the law and rules state that the source and target addresses are defined by their “boundaries”, not the center of each residence to restricted area. This means every property must be mapped by their boundary using polyline data and the distance measured accordingly. This complicates things but I did work out a very neat solution that I can share with the application author(s).I think that this service, if done by well meaning people is a great service offering but it would need to be a free service, maybe offering up ads in-app if appropriate as a way to monetize it. Forming a non-profit around the app might be a good way to secure donations to pay the developers for their time, or crowd-funded.I began work on my version of the mapping software back in 2008 but had to stop due to the issues I ran into relating to getting the databases of locations that are restricted. There was also a lack of interest at the time. The user-base for such software, despite the number of people who can use it, will likely forever remain very limited to a few hundred users at best over a few years time.A website might be the best way to go rather than an app. There is no reason though that a website can't be used as the content for a native app interface.I am highly curious just how far this app will get developed and hope that you or someone out there can put me in touch with it's developer.Thank you.

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