In the wake of #MeToo, more than 1,000 people have downloaded an app aimed at rooting out repeat sex offenders by allowing victims and witnesses to report the crimes anonymously and join forces against the sickos.
Called JDoe, the free app launched on the Apple and Android app store in April. It works by prompting users to report when and where an incident took place, along with the name of the perpetrator and any details of the crime.
The information is then stored in an encrypted database. Users cannot see the names of other victims or of perpetrators, but the app’s algorithm scans for patterns. If a repeat offender turns up, accusers receive separate notifications along with information on pursuing joint legal action through JDoe’s network of attorneys, if they desire.
There’s no need to wait for other victims to surface, however. JDoe also provides a way for users to anonymously report individual incidents to police or legal services providers.
In either scenario, the accused are not notified through the app that they have been reported.
A page on the JDoe app shown on an iPhone where you can fill out a report on a sexual offender, as well as details on the incident
Company founder and CEO Ryan Soscia, 24, says he began developing JDoe in 2015, shortly after learning that a group of teammates and friends had been assaulted by the same trainer.
“What we [at JDoe] really try to focus on is enabling people to pursue justice together,” Soscia tells The Post. “We’re trying to democratize legal services.”
He describes the app’s identity encryption as something “Edward Snowden would approve of.”
As the app’s user base grows, Soscia plans to develop a map feature that visually displays incident reports. His team is also working on a feature that will alert users if they enter an area with multiple incident reports.
In addition, Soscia plans to grow the app’s survivor-support services such as referrals for mental health care providers. “We’re looking to provide almost a Yelp-like service,” he says.
“There’s power in realizing you’re not alone,” he says. “And that could be powerful throughput for the justice system.”