Since 2004, the public has been able to view information on sex offenders required to register with local law enforcement under California's Megan's Law. Previously, the information was available only by personally visiting police stations and sheriff offices or by calling a 900 toll-free number. The law was given final passage by the Legislature on August 24, 2004 and signed by the Governor on September 24, 2004. California has required sex offenders to register with their local law enforcement agencies since 1947.
California's Megan's Law provides the public with certain information on the whereabouts of sex offenders so that members of our local communities may protect themselves and their children. Megan's Law is named after seven-year-old Megan Kanka, a New Jersey girl who was raped and killed by a known registered sex offender who had moved across the street from the family without their knowledge. In the wake of the tragedy, the Kankas sought to have local communities warned about sex offenders in the area. All states now have a form of Megan's Law.
The law is not intended to punish the registrant and specifically prohibits using the information to harass or commit any crime against a registrant (Pen. Code § 290.46.).