New York State Prohibits Sex Offenders From Playing Pokémon Go

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
New condition makes downloading, accessing, or playing game a parole violation for sex offenders

The New York Daily News newspaper reported on Monday that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a directive to his state's Department of Corrections and Community Supervision on Sunday to forbid playing Pokémon Go and similar interactive games as a condition of parole in the state. Under the condition, registered sex offenders under supervision in the state who download, access, or play the game will violate the terms of their parole.

Gov. Cuomo also sent a letter to Niantic Labs, Pokémon Go's developer, to request assistance from the developer to keep sex offenders from playing the game. The governor also ordered the New York Department of Criminal Justice Services to provide the developer with the most updated list of the state's sex offender registry. The Department of Criminal Justice Services will also contact Apple and Google (who offer the game on their respective iTunes and Google Play stores) to make them aware of the public safety concern.

State Senators Jeffrey Klein and Diane Savino published a report titled "Protecting Our Children: How Pokémon Go and Augmented Reality Games Expose Children To Sex Offenders" two days earlier, highlighting the possible dangers of sex offenders using Pokémon Go as a way to attract children.

The new directive will immediately affect roughly 3,000 sex offenders in the state.

In Greenfield, Indiana, convicted sex offender Randy Zuick had been arrested earlier in July for playing Pokémon Go in front of a courthouse, violating the terms of his probation. Probation officers had spotted him on the courthouse's lawn and called for security. Zuick had pleaded guilty to child molestation earlier in April.

The Pokémon Go app launched in select countries including the United States on July 6, and has since launched in more than 35 countries.

Sources: New York Daily News (Kenneth Lovett), BBC

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