New York Sex Offenders Forbidden To Play Pokemon GO

Almost a month after its initial release, the Pokemon GO craze shows no signs of stopping. The latest real-world change incited by the mega popular mobile app happened in New York after the city's correctional department made playing Pokemon GO a violation of sex offenders' paroles. This decision was made as a result of a direct order from Andrew Cuomo, a governor of the state of New York. While it pertains to all online games, it was directly prompted by the increasing popularity of Pokemon GO after reports emerged that sex offenders are using the mobile game to connect with unsuspecting children. More specifically, all registered New York-based sex offenders on parole are now forbidden from engaging in any kind of online gaming activities, including downloading and playing games.

The New York governor also revealed that he sent a letter to the Pokemon GO developer Niantic Labs, urging it to help the state in preventing registered sex offenders from signing up for their game. It's currently unclear how Cuomo expects Niantic to do that, though. This ban was prompted by a report from a last week's report published by Jeffrey Klein and Diane Savino, two New York state senators. The duo found that a random sample of 100 New York City sex offenders on parole is withing half a city block of no less than 59 PokeStops. The senators were particularly worried of sex offenders using in-game Lure Modules to attract Pokemon—and consequently-Pokemon GO players to their locations. This is because the same tactic was recently used by a couple of armed robbers in Missouri who were robbing Pokemon trainers.

Critics of this decision point out that it's completely unclear how effective a ban on all online gaming is in preventing registered sex offenders from repeating their crimes, especially because the Electronic Security and Targeting of Online Predators Act already requires that these people provide authorities with all information pertaining to their online activity. After all, that information was the basis for the aforementioned research which prompted the ban itself. Regardless of that, experts say it's possible other states will soon follow after example of New York.

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About the Author

Dominik Bosnjak

Senior Writer
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]