10-28-2010, 05:25 AM #1
TN Computer Program Catches Sex Offender Entering School Book Fair
"The Raptor Technologies" computer program did the job and kept this creeper out of an elementary school book fair.
Eric Zephyre Butler went to a local elementary school book fair with his girlfriend and her child. O.K. hello. Does she know he's an RSO? Butler had to hand over his driver's license with all the other adults entering the book fair and he was told there was a glitch in the system.
Girlfriend took her own tail inside and he waited in the car while school officials called police. Butler was convicted of molesting and attempting to rape three boys ages 6-9 in Ohio. He admitted he knew entering a school or being on school grounds violated his probation.
Hey, at least something awful was avoided. He's locked up. For how long who knows, but this Raptor Technologies did the job.
10-28-2010, 05:22 PM #2
I wonder how many schools use this system? IMO, it's paid for itself if it catches only 1 creepo.
Kudos to the school office workers who did their job thoroughly & didn't let this RSO get by them.
11-04-2010, 10:43 AM #3
11-04-2010, 03:35 PM #4
11-04-2010, 07:15 PM #5Androgynous Mind
- Join Date
- Jul 2008
- United States
I really don't like how this story seems to be being sold by various news outlets as, "Wow! A new security technology protected a child from being attacked!" That's simply not even close to an accurate representation of what actually happened in this case. It's a classic example of journalists blowing something drastically out of proportion in order to spice up what is actually a rather bland occurrence.
What really happened is that Eric Butler, a sex offender, was found to be violating his probation by attending a function at a school. However, he was with his girlfriend and her son, a student at the school, for the very legitimate reason of attending a book fair. Again, I stress that Butler was not wandering into a school with an obvious attempt to abduct or harm any child. He was going to a book fair with his girlfriend and her daughter, a child who may well have herself invited Butler, so that he could look at and perhaps buy books that would assist in funding the school.
Should Eric Butler have free access to a school or any other building that is generally full of children? No, of course not. On that day, was Eric Butler actually a threat to any of the children in that school? Almost certainly not. Did Eric Butler behave in a very, very stupid manner? Yes, he did.
It's also important to look at what this piece of technology does. It takes information scanned in from an identification card of some kind, and then it compares that information with an online database of known sex offenders, people convicted of domestic disputes, and people added to the list as "tresspassers". Don't just take my word for it though, Raptorware's website discusses it here: http://www.raptorware.com/vsoft.html
This leaves literally dozens of ways to bypass the security system in question. The following is a list of a few of the more obvious means:
1. Defeat the system by simply not bringing an ID card. On any particular day, though especially during a high traffic event such as a book fair, spelling bee, or science fair, there are bound to be parents who have simply not remembered to carry a piece of identification on their person. Since it is not particularly feasible to start forbidding numerous parents from entering the school because of a brief memory lapse, I'd guess that there's another way to get in. The most probable of these would be a simple sign-in sheet wherein the unwelcome guest in question could simply use false information.
2. Defeat the system by obscuring the optical character recognition of your ID card. Most optical character reading devices do not do a particularly good job of correctly picking out characters that were printed less than perfectly clearly, have grown to be or have been purposefully smudged, or have been blocked out or modified even slightly. The above failings of OCR technology are relied upon heavily on the internet where "captcha" images are frequently used to prevent machine automated posting of spam or downloading of files. As an example, Eric Butler might show in the database as a sex offender, but Eric Butber almost certainly wouldn't. While this problem could be somewhat alleviated by an attentive human being also checking each person's identification, it's a sure bet that some people won't pay attention and errors will slip through.
3. Defeat the system by simply using a fraudulent identification card. Fake identification cards aren't particularly difficult for a technologically savvy person to make, and numerous people are in the business of manufacturing them for the less technologically sophisticated. Odds are that nearly every high school and college campus in the United States has at least one person who can make or has made fraudulent identification cards in hopes of helping people illegally obtain age-restricted material like alcoholic beverages. These individuals will often work for relatively little money, and they aren't hard to find.
Since Raptorware is not a government-operated organization, the company's software has no way of verifying whether any individual's credentials are actually valid. Essentially, this means that a fraudulent method of identification will beat their system one hundred percent of the time. If Eric Butler had been carrying an identification card that stated that he had any other name and/or address, there is no one other than his girlfriend and her daughter who would have known that he was even present at the event.
The above are only a small sampling of ways that Raptorware's method of security could be defeated, and all of the above methods are available to most any person. While the system did work in this individual case, it will only work as a whole under the most ideal of circumstances. Though I applaud any reasonable effort to prevent children from being harmed by sexual predators, it is my personal view that this case and the efficacy of the software in question is drastically overblown.
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