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July 12, 2016

"Pokémon Go Craze Sparks Worries About Sex Offenders, Cybercriminals"

MaxresdefaultMy students and regular readers know I am eager to assert that any and every aspect of modern law and life has a sentencing/crime and punishment angle. In service to that claim, I could not resist highlighting this new local NYC article which shares the headline of this post and demonstrates that the latest gaming craze in not immune from criminal justice concerns. Here are the (serious?) particulars:

The Pokémon Go app has been all the rage in recent days, but new concerns have mounted about criminals abusing the game.  As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, there are worries that sex offenders might use the app to lure children, and cybercriminals might steal people’s information.

Sulma Rivas is part of a Pokémon Go scavenger hunt adventure craze. So are her three children. Rivas keeps a watchful eye. “I don’t want to do it when my mom’s not around, because I could get hurt,” said Mylie Rivas, 10.

Pokémon Go is exploding in popularity, and Babylon town officials have been monitoring hundreds of people of all ages circling the lake in Argyle Park -- with their heads down and their smartphones in hand.  When asked if he was playing unsupervised, Ethan Fortaleza, 12, smiled and said, “Maybe.” Ethan said his parents dropped him off in a safe area. But county officials are worried about the luring component of the game.

With 38,000 registered sex offenders in New York state, police fear that it might be easy for someone to fake a Pokémon Go ID and stalk a child player. “The people who are the quickest to adapt to new trends in social media technology are criminals and predators,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.  Bellone wants Pokémon developer Niantic to install e-stop technology, making it tougher for predators to sign on and demanding more checks and balances.

After downloading the app, players are asked to sign up with their Google accounts, using existing credentials to ensure the process is fast and simple. But that can put at risk users’ emails, cameras, photos, and storage.  That pool of data could be a boon for cybercriminals.

“I haven’t heard anything about that. That would be unfortunate,” said Samara Katini, 21. “I probably wouldn’t play the game if that was a real problem.”...

Ninatic said it is working closely with authorities to keep all players safe. The company said it has no plans to share the data it collects with third parties.

July 12, 2016 at 08:11 PM | Permalink


Who will think of the children? Geebus H. Christmas.

Posted by: Fat Bastard | Jul 12, 2016 10:46:54 PM

“The people who are the quickest to adapt to new trends in social media technology are criminals and predators,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

Anyone care to guess what hole he pulled that 'fact' out of?

Posted by: anan | Jul 13, 2016 2:17:59 AM

The research that exists does not support hordes of unwashed sex offender masses flocking to technology to lure children. It is the Halloween sadism boogeyman wearing a different suit.

Posted by: Guy | Jul 13, 2016 9:06:20 AM

Actually, the big Pokémon Go crime wave on the news in my neck of the woods has been robberies -- robbers using Pokémon Go to find locations and then waiting for distracted victims to come to them.

Posted by: tmm | Jul 13, 2016 10:31:03 AM

Of course, there HAS been violence and crime associated with Pokemon Go. But no worries, it doesn't involve registered sex offenders.


Move along now. Go back to your regularly-scheduled harassment of registered sex offenders.

Posted by: Eric Knight | Jul 13, 2016 11:42:39 AM

I might be missing something, but unless these registered sex offenders are Mr. Mimes, I don't see how this works.

Posted by: Erik M | Jul 13, 2016 2:54:13 PM

And, by all means, let's abdicate our responsibilities as parents and neighbors to supervise and watch out for children and keep them safe and instead let pandering legislators create some horrid governmental solution to this imagined problem. *rolling eyes*

Posted by: Fat Bastard | Jul 13, 2016 8:52:49 PM

"With 38,000 sex offenders in NY state, police fear that it might be easy for someone to fake a Pokemon GO ID and stalk a child player."

Here we go again, lumping all of those labeled SO's into the same category as child predators. Will they never learn?

Posted by: kat | Jul 14, 2016 8:59:11 AM

Other types of offenders like kid-nappers, extortionists, etc. could misuse Pokémon. Why do politicians assume that only (and all) former and current sex offenders would misuse Pokémon?

Posted by: william r. delzell | Jul 14, 2016 9:21:45 AM

Because they only think that kids would play Pokémon and forget how many of the kids who used to play Pokémon are now adults. Think those offenses which involve personal contact -- robberies, kidnapping, and, yes, sex offenses -- are more likely than something like extortion which can be handled at a distance.

Posted by: tmm | Jul 14, 2016 10:20:51 AM


The British are getting into the act too.

However, some people have raised concerns about the app's safety. The chief executive of children's charity NSPCC urged the app's makers to adapt the game before its UK release, warning that adults could use it to prey on children.

An NSPCC spokesman said: "It's deeply troubling that the app's owners have ignored many warning signals and well documented child safety concerns. It would have been better if they had taken time to reflect on these and put their young users first."

Posted by: just passing by | Jul 14, 2016 11:07:29 AM

I went to my local police precinct and asked for the names and addresses of local RSOs. The desk sergeant asked what I wanted them for. I said I wanted to make their lives a living hell until they left our community. He laughed and said he couldn't give them to me then. But he walked away and left the printout in front of me.

I'm a professor, BTW.

Posted by: Able Reader | Jul 15, 2016 2:05:49 AM

@Able Reader:

It's actually against the law to use the registry information to harass anyone on it. Ironic that the people on the list are arguably more law-abiding than yourself.

Posted by: Guy | Jul 15, 2016 9:22:13 AM

Able Reader-
One can be on the RSO list for something as innocent as public urination or a Romeo & Juliet romance.
Why, being the educated person that you claim to be, would you want to go out of your way to "make their lives a living hell?"
RSO's have already been punished by the state or federal government, they've done their time. Who are you to make their lives a living hell? Have you never done something wrong or made any mistakes in your life that you now regret? Perhaps things that you'd just as soon FORGET.
Just leave the RSO's alone and let them pick up the pieces of their lives. They're not bothering you and you're the one likely to end up behind bars if you harass them.

Posted by: kat | Jul 15, 2016 9:58:57 AM

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