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Pokémon GO... directly to jail for NY sex offenders

Sexual predators could be banned from playing Pokemon Go!

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered his state to keep Pokémon GO out of the hands of sexual predators. Cuomo directed the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to restrict the use of Pokémon GO and similar online games to all registered sex offenders by making it a parole violation.

Gov. Cuomo

Pokémon GO is a mobile game that has players searching for and collecting the titular creatures. It uses the device's GPS and camera to locate Pokémon which are caught by the player flicking Pokéballs at them. 

According to a recent poll done by SurveyMonkey, The majority of Pokémon GO players are female and over the age of 18, so how much are children actually affected by this new directive? As far as Governor Cuomo and the State of New York are concerned, any chance at all is too much.

"Protecting New York's children is priority number one and, as technology evolves, we must ensure these advances don't become new avenues for dangerous predators to prey on new victims."

-- Gov. Cuomo   

The Department of Criminal Justice Services will also be providing Niantic Inc. a copy of the state's most recent sex offender registry. They are being asked to block these people from playing the game. How they would achieve such a task remains a mystery, since the game never asks for your real name. They will also be in contact with Google and Apple with a similar request.

A report issued from Governor Cuomo's office stated that, in the game, Pokémon characters appeared near the homes of level-2 and 3 sex offenders 57% of the time. That number jumps to 73% if you take into account Pokéstops and Gyms. This report was conducted by office staffers over a two-week period and surveyed over 100 sex offender homes in the New York area.

This latest initiative is part of a larger campaign to limit sex offender's access to internet and social media related apps and games. A law passed in 2008 requires registered sex offenders to regularly report all current email account information. Social media sites are then utilized to scrub these accounts for violations.

The law has been expanded and refined since then, but remains a key component to keeping sex offenders away from any potential victims. Whether or not these new actions will have any effect in regards to Pokémon GO is unclear, but it is a step toward keeping all of us a little safer. 

[Header image courtesy of guile93.deviantart.com]

Published Aug. 3rd 2016

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