New York state bars sex offenders from playing Pokemon Go

Sex offenders on parole in New York state have been barred from playing Pokemon Go, a move that state officials on Monday said would protect children who could be easily lured to unsafe locations through the game.

Under the new guidelines, New York's nearly 3,000 sex offenders who are currently living in communities but under supervision are not allowed to download or access the augmented reality game or similar games over concerns that they could endanger the safety of children.

According to a recent report presented by New York senators Jeffrey Klein and Diane Savino, children playing Pokemon Go are often unknowingly steered to locations close to sex offenders' residences. The game even allows players to buy "lures" for a small fee to direct people to particular locations.

"Sex offenders who download the game legally could pinpoint hot spots where children congregate, like 'pokestops' or gyms, and meet them in person," Savino said. A "pokestop" is a physical location where players go to collect virtual items needed to capture more Pokemon.

Klein said that the report also revealed a "disturbing correlation between high level sex offenders' residences and in-game objectives."

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said his office also had contacted the software developer behind Pokemon Go, Niantic, to assist with prohibiting sex offenders from accessing the game.

"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.

Last update: Mon, 01/08/2016 - 20:07

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