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August 1, 2016

Quickly responding to (nonexistant?) problem, NY Gov bars paroled sex offenders from playing Pokemon Go

Pokemon1n-5-webAs reported in this New York Daily News article, headlined "Cuomo orders Pokémon Go prohibition for sex offenders on parole," the chief executive of a state has decided he must chiefly concern himself with who plays with a new video game.  Here are the details (with one seemingly important fact from the story highlighted):

For sex offenders in New York, it will be Pokémon No Go. Gov. Cuomo Sunday ordered that the state make it a condition of parole for sex offenders that they stay away from Pokémon Go and similar interactive games, the Daily News has learned.

The state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision is barring all registered sex offenders under supervision from downloading, accessing, or playing such Internet gaming activities, under the directive.

Roughly 3,000 predators currently on state parole will be immediately impacted, state officials said.  The state will also be sending guidance to the counties around the state that supervise another 5,000 lower level convicted sex offenders urging them to adopt the new policy.

"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."

The Pokémon Go app sends players on a hunt to catch digital Pokémon characters.  If a sex offender is caught playing the game in New York, it would be a violation of the terms of their parole and they could be returned to prison, a Cuomo aide said.

Cuomo also sent a letter to software developer Niantic Inc. to request assistance in keeping Pokémon Go out of the hands of sex predators. "The State has taken action to prohibit sex offenders from using this game, but we need your assistance to make certain that sex offenders will not continue to use Pokémon GO by technologically barring their use," Cuomo wrote in the letter. "Working together, we can ensure that this danger today does not escalate into a tragedy tomorrow."

The governor also directed the Department of Criminal Justice Services to provide Niantic with the most recent version of the state's sex offender registry in the hopes the company will use the list to keep people from having access to the app. The Department of Criminal Justice Services will also contact Apple and Google "to inform them of these public safety concerns and work with them to enhance user safety," Cuomo said.

The order and letter came two days after state Sens. Jeffrey Klein and Diane Savino released a report titled "Protecting Our Children: How Pokémon Go and Augmented Reality Games Expose Children To Sex Offenders." After sending staffers over a two-week period to more than 100 homes of level-2 and level-3 sex offenders in the city, the senators found that characters generated by the Pokémon Go app appeared 57% of the time. That figure rose to 73% when related items like PokeStops and Pokémon gyms are factored in, the report showed. The two senators called for passage of legislation that would keep young children and other players at least 100 feet away from a convicted sex offender's home.

Officials have also expressed concern that a feature of Pokémon Go called a "lure" can make it easier for sex predators to tempt potential victims to come to their homes. Savino on Friday said there's no evidence to any kids were sexually abused after being lured by the Pokémon app.

In light of the last line I have highlighted above, suppose New Yorkers should be grateful that state officials have been so quick to deal with the problem of "Poke Perves" even before such a problem even exists.  Sigh.

August 1, 2016 at 10:37 AM | Permalink


Basically, the concern is sex offenders would go to widely populated areas with lots of people? It seems that's the area "the children" will be most safe in spite of sex offenders.

In addition, there's absolutely nothing preventing them from going to these sites anyway regardless of whether they're playing the game.

Do they think the "lures" lure children into their home or something instead of, you know, a public park?

Posted by: Erik M | Aug 1, 2016 12:08:17 PM

Who will think of the children!?!?!?!?

Posted by: Fat Bastard | Aug 1, 2016 1:48:43 PM

Id be interested in who gave Senator Klein and Savino a heads up on this and what they have to gain from this additional intrusion.

Posted by: beth | Aug 1, 2016 3:12:48 PM

...just more insanity from our politicians and just as alarmist as Trump. Will Americans ever have a hope of recovering from their stupidity?

Posted by: Randy | Aug 1, 2016 7:58:27 PM

About 40 years ago I was a lawyer for patients in a mental hospital in St. Louis. One of the inmates had the nickname of Pokeman. He was paranoid schizophrenia with "spike four" which was an obsession with getting the attention of females. His trick or treat was to walk up behind women who were standing up, like at a bus stop, and then poke them in the rear with his "Arod". He called it his Arod. The asault never got beyond this one time touching with his hard object. In the mental asylum he was often involved in games like monopoly and chess. It seems odd that some company would name a game after him.

Posted by: Liberty1st | Aug 1, 2016 11:30:35 PM

Under this new law, will it be easier for former sex offenders to obtain illegal firearms than it will be for them to have access to Pokémon (sp.?) and other electronic games? I mean, does the New York governor think that possession of a fire arm in the hands of some lunatic like the person who shot up a night club bar in Orlando is somehow less dangerous and repugnant than a former sex offender playing with computer games? Is somebody who uses an illegal firearm to kill one of the NYPD's "Finest" less repugnant than a former sex offender who uses electronic games? Cuomo, get your priorities straight!

Posted by: william r. delzell | Aug 2, 2016 9:57:00 AM

Are convicted thieves and murderers banned from Pokemon too? They have a much higher recidivism rate than sex offenders. They'd be just as likely to "lure" people to sites.
Instilling baseless, non-evidenced fear in New Yorkers is shameful, but unfortunately, I'm certain that unless some lawyer steps up and challenges this banning as "illegal", it'll go nationwide and those on all state registries will continue to lose more of their rights and be subjected to unfair punishment long after they've paid their dues.
Cuomo should be ashamed of himself for promoting baseless fear under the guise of keeping the children safe. Ah, Cuomo, not all those on the registry are contact offenders, just sayin!
And now the Dept. of Justice has made the gaming company the "gatekeeper" by supplying it with the most recent list of sex offenders. That is insane.

Posted by: kat | Aug 2, 2016 10:27:11 AM

It's a catchy cover though -- $1.50 (especially given the weekday rate is $1 and Saturdays have less content) at least gives you that.

Posted by: Joe | Aug 3, 2016 11:56:57 AM

What happens if ex-sex offenders in New York state band together to defy this new policy by the governor in the same way that Black Lives Matter has effectively organized against institutional structural law enforcement racism?

Posted by: william r. delzell | Aug 3, 2016 7:29:03 PM

There is not one single American who thinks it is acceptable that criminal regimes such as the state of New York have a list of U.S. citizens to whom they think they can apply any new type of restriction/harassment/punishment at any time their little retard minds dream one up. Not one single American thinks that is acceptable. Anyone who thinks it is acceptable needs to quit dreaming that they are an American and get out of our country. Live in China or somewhere you fit in better.

And I realize that "retard" is not PC, so sorry about that, but that is exactly what these "sex offender witch hunt" politicians are. Pandering, criminal retards. F them and any retard who supports them.

It is because of idiotic, useless actions/crimes/attacks like these that ALL families that are listed on a Sex Offender Registry (SORs) should do anything and everything that is legal to retaliate, EVERY SINGLE DAY, for the mere existence of the SORs. Every day. Those families absolutely should be around children all the time. It is the moral, appropriate response to these baseless attacks.

Hasn't the criminal regime of New York been sued in federal court yet for their "internet identifier" law? I think everyone who has been sued has lost. New York should be sued as often as possible for anything possible.

Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Aug 5, 2016 7:46:41 AM

Perhaps former sex offenders in New York State and elsewhere should take a page out of the Stonewall Uprising of the 1960's or early 1970's: the Stonewallers sure stood up for their rights against abusive law enforcement practices!

Posted by: william r. delzell | Aug 5, 2016 10:14:17 AM

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