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Texas Department of Public Safety

TxDPS Sex Offender Registry

USER: Anonymous (0,0) SERVER: DPSWEB7 DATE:4/16/2014 11:20:15 AM LANG:ENGLISH (UNITED STATES)

Sex Offender Registry Export

Sex offender registrants: Internet access, Online Identifiers, and Social Networking Sites

Texas Sex Offender laws do not prohibit registrants from accessing the Internet or from creating accounts or web pages on social networking or photo-sharing websites. State law requires the Department of Public Safety to collect online information provided by sex offenders in the Texas Sex Offender Registry; and then give this online information to approved Social Networking Sites to facility the Sites in identifying sex offenders using the site.

Social Networking Sites are websites that allow users to communicate or share personal information with the public or other users of the website. Users of these websites create accounts or nicknames; with most users utilizing these sites to socialize; however, some individuals have ulterior motives.

Texas statute does not preclude a registered sex offender from accessing the Internet. However, offenders who are under supervision (probation, parole) may have their access to the Internet monitored or restricted based upon a condition of their supervision. An offender’s failure to abide by their conditions of supervision may result in the revocation of their parole/probation and subsequent penalties of an extended punishment or incarceration.

The Texas Sex Offender Registration law requires registrants to notify their respective primary-registration authority of any “online identifiers” upon the initial registration or within 7 days of creation of such identifiers. “Online identifier” means electronic mail address information or name used by a person when sending or receiving an instant message, social networking communication, or similar Internet communication or when participating in an Internet chat. The term also includes any assumed name, nickname, pseudonym, moniker, or user name established by a person for the use in connection with an electronic mail address, chat or instant chat room platform, commercial social networking site, or online picture-sharing service. These identifiers are included, among other information pertaining to the registrant, in the Texas Sex Offender Registry.

"Online identifiers" of a registrant cannot be disclosed to the public. However, online identifiers are made available to criminal justice agencies and approved Social Networking Sites. The Site may place a request from DPS to receive all information defined by statute as public information as well as “online identifiers.” The statute gives the Sites the authority to use this information only to vet individuals and determine suitability for access to the Site.

A Social Networking Site may designate an agent who will be the primary point of contact to access the sex offender registration information on the site’s behalf; however, the agreement remains between DPS and the Site.

Instructions

If you are a Social Networking Site Operator and wish to obtain registration information containing online identifiers, you must:

  1. Review the "Download Requirements" for the Public Sex Offender Registry Download.
  2. Create a TxDPS Public Website Account.
  3. Print, complete and sign an "Application Form".
  4. Print, complete and sign a "Memo of Understanding".
  5. Mail the Application Form and Memo of Understanding to the following address:

    Texas Department of Public Safety
    Crime Records Service MSC 0231
    Attn: Sex Offender Registration Unit
    P.O. Box 4143
    Austin, Texas 78765-4143

  6. Once approved, you will then be able to download the database including online identifiers.

Notice: If you are not a Social Networking Site you may download the Public Sex Offender Registry, which is available to all users.

If you have any questions, please contact the Sex Offender Registration Unit at 512-424-2800 or at txsor@dps.texas.gov.

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