New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday that the state has taken steps to prevent registered sex offenders from abusing minors who play the wildly popular mobile game Pokemon Go.
The decision comes in the wake of an investigative report issued by two state senators July 29, who found that the game often leads users in the proximity of high-level convicted sex predators.
The governor ordered the state’s department of corrections to bar 3,000 sex offenders currently on parole from gaining access, playing, and even downloading the app and other similar online games.
Cuomo said that one of the state’s top priorities is protecting children from criminals despite the technological progress which makes the task all the more difficult. He added that technological advances should be prevented from morphing into means that “dangerous predators” can use to prey on innocent victims.
The Governor’s office also submitted a letter to the app’s creator Niantic Labs urging it to find ways of preventing convicted sex offenders from accessing the game’s maps. Cuomo wrote in the letter that law enforcement needs assistance in prohibiting criminals from using the app.
He also spoke about “technologically barring” them from accessing the game. The measure was first proposed by the two senators. They explained that the game maker can issue patches that can instruct the game to learn a user identity, compare it against the Department of Justice’s sex offender database and decline access when matches are found.
The recent investigative report shows that in 70 percent of cases Pokemon beasts appeared near the homes of registered sex predators who had been convicted for either child abuse or child pornography.
One of the senators said that it is absurd to allow these people to have access to the game’s maps and learn where dozens of children congregate.
Since 2008, the state’s sex offenders must disclose their internet identities, e-mail addresses and other details that may help authorities track their online activities. Social media networks also receive this info on a weekly basis to help them ban the said accounts.
Niantic’s Pokemon Go currently has more than 9 million daily users, and was downloaded for over 75 million times since July 6 when it was first rolled out.
Image Source: Pixabay