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World

N.Y. Parole Authorities to Bar Sex Offenders from Pokemon Go

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to make sure the game does not offer opportunities for sexual predators to prey on new victims

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is worried that child molesters will use Pokemon Go to get to know children, photo: Wikipedia
1 year ago

ALBANY, New York —  New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday directed state authorities to prevent nearly 3,000 registered sex offenders now on parole from playing “Pokemon Go” in an effort to safeguard children who play.

The state’s Department of Corrections and Community Services is making that a condition of supervised release from state prison for all sex offenders. State officials recommended that county probation offices adopt the same policy.

“As technology evolves, we must ensure these advances don’t become new avenues for dangerous predators to prey on new victims,” Cuomo said.

The Democratic governor has also sent a letter to software developer Niantic requesting help prohibiting sexual predators from playing the online game, where players roam through the physical world searching for virtual Pokemon creatures.

Niantic did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

New York law requires registered sex offenders to keep current home addresses, email accounts, screen names and other internet identifiers with the Division of Criminal Justice Services, which maintains the publicly accessible online registry.

The division also shares that information with about 40 social media businesses and has contacted Niantic in an effort to work with that company, spokeswoman Janine Kava said.

The division has sent about 52,000 records related to 18,544 sex offenders since 2008 that have been used to remove names from social media sites, according to the governor’s office.

State Sen. Jeff Klein, a Democrat who raised similar concerns last week, said New York already prohibits high-level offenders on parole from using social media. He proposed requiring game manufacturers take steps to ensure the virtual Pokemon creatures don’t pop up near offenders’ home.

MICHAEL VIRTANEN

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