At any one time, some 750,000 pedophiles are prowling the Internet in a virtual epidemic of child pornography. To fight it, law enforcement officers from all over go to a building in South Florida for access to the most advanced technology for finding pedophiles, reports the St. Petersburg Times. But this isn’t run by any government agency. The desks, computers and technology are provided free by Hank Asher, a former drug smuggler who has made a fortune collecting public records and combining them into databases that can be invaluable in locating people.
Asher’s best-known product is Accurint. Now he is building a super computer and a database “a thousand times more powerful” than anything he has developed yet. It’s a project that worries privacy-rights advocates and other critics. They wonder if Asher’s real reason for donating some of his technology to government agencies is to get access to confidential data like firearms registries, tax information, even health records – information that could be a boon to businesses and an unprecedented intrusion into the lives of millions of Americans.