A no-go: NY Governor bans sex offenders from Pokémon Go

© Sergio Perez
Sex offenders must refrain from playing Pokémon Go and any other interactive games as a condition of their parole, according to a directive issued by NY Governor, Andrew Cuomo.

The New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision has been tasked with preventing sex-offenders from “downloading, accessing, or otherwise engaging in any internet-enabled gaming activities, including Pokémon Go.”

There are around 3,000 sex offenders currently on state parole in New York who could return to prison if caught playing Pokémon Go.

“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," Cuomo said. 

"These actions will provide safeguards for the players of these augmented reality games and help take one more tool away from those seeking to do harm to our children," he added.

The governor also sent a letter to Pokémon Go developer Niantic Inc., asking for help in keeping the game free from sexual offenders.

"Working together, we can ensure that this danger today does not escalate into a tragedy tomorrow," Cuomo wrote in his letter, adding that the company would be provided with a list of identified perpetrators.

The Department of Criminal Justice Services will also get in touch with tech giants Apple and Google "to inform them of these public safety concerns and work with them to enhance user safety," the governor stressed.

The directive comes two days after New York Senators, Jeffrey D. Klein and Diane Savino, released a report, warning that Pokémon Go could expose children to pedophiles.

According to the paper, a state-sponsored investigation revealed that popular gaming areas were located near the residences of around 100 identified sex offenders.

Perpetrators could also purchase so-called lures, designed to attract Pokémon and therefore players to one or another area.

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Pokémon Go is a popular mobile game, which sends players outside to catch hidden Pokémon, using a camera and the GPS featured in the mobile devices.

Senator Klein said he “applauded” Cuomo for such a rapid reaction to his report, but stressed that there’s still a lot of work to be done to protect children.

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"Pokémon Go provided sex offenders with a virtual road map to our children. We know that pedophiles always seek new ways to lure victims and this new technology that entertains our kids, could also bring them close to dangerous individuals instead of Pokémon,” Klein said.