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GPS Sex Offender Tracking System Shut Down Because of Data Overload

gps tracking cuffA major data system used to keep track of sex offenders shut down Tuesday morning, after unexpectedly reaching its storage limit. The blackout, which lasted about 12 hours, prevented law enforcement authorities in 49 states from keeping track of some 16,000 sex offenders, parolees and other marked citizens. Although tracking devices continued to record movements of known offenders, authorities at prisons and correctional facilities couldn't immediately receive the data after the system reached its limit of 2 billion records.

BI Incorporated, the Colorado-based company that runs the system, says it's substantially increased the storage threshold for the database, and that employees will now receive warnings whenever the system approaches its new limit of more than a trillion records. "People in our development group knew there was a threshold," BI spokesman Jock Waldo tells the AP. "They've never in their careers ... seen a system hit such a database threshold. It speaks of the enormity of the data we collect."

Government authorities, meanwhile, claim that the offenders were never aware of the outage, which affected GPS tracking devices, home monitoring systems, and even at-home breathalyzers used to enforce parole. Harmless as the incident may be, though, officials at BI acknowledge that their company should've prevented it. "In retrospect, we should have been able to catch this," Waldo said.

Tags: BiIncorporated, blackout, crime, criminal, data, gps, law, lawenforcement, monitoring, parole, police, prison, SexOffenders, storage, top, tracking