Texas Public Sex Offender Registry

Printed: 8/19/2018 11:37:07 PM


Social Networking and Online Identifiers

Sex Offender Registrants: Internet access, Online Identifiers, and Social Networking Sites

The Texas Sex Offender Registration Program does not prohibit registrants from accessing the internet or from creating accounts or web pages on social networking or photo-sharing websites. However, registrants who are under supervision (probation, parole) may have their access to the internet monitored or restricted based upon a condition of their supervision. A registrant’s failure to abide by their conditions of supervision may result in the revocation of their probation/parole and subsequent penalties of an extended punishment or incarceration may be imposed.

The Texas Sex Offender Registration Program requires registrants to notify their primary registration authority of any “online identifiers” upon the initial registration, as well as any changes or establishment of any new online identifier within seven days of change or establishment. “Online identifier” means electronic mail address information or a 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 includes an 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. State law requires a primary registration authority to forward that information to the Department of Public Safety (DPS). These identifiers are included, among other information pertaining to the registrant, in the Texas Sex Offender Registry.

“Commercial Social Networking Sites” are websites that: Allow users, through the creation of internet web pages or profiles or other similar means, to provide personal information to the public or other users of the internet website, also offers a mechanism for communication with other users of the internet website, and lastly, has the primary purpose of facilitating online social interactions.

Online identifiers of a registrant cannot be disclosed to the public. However, online identifiers are made available to criminal justice agencies and approved commercial social networking sites. The site may request from DPS all information defined by statute as public information as well as any online identifiers. A commercial social networking site or the site's agent may use this information only to prescreen persons seeking to use the site, or preclude these persons from using the site, and may not use any information received that the networking site obtained solely under registration statute in any other manner.

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 an agent of a commercial social networking site, and would like to place a request for registration information containing online identifiers, you must:

  1. Review the "Download Requirements" for the Public Sex Offender Registry Download.
  2. Create an 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

    or email to TxSOR@dps.texas.gov
  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.