New York Wants To Stop Registered Sex Offenders From Playing Pokemon GO

New York Wants To Stop Registered Sex Offenders From Playing Pokemon GO

In perhaps the most practical ban against the game, the state of New York is looking for ways to stop certain people from playing Pokemon GO. Sex offenders, to be precise.

The BBC reported this morning that the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, has written to Niantic. The idea is to ban those with sexual convictions from being able to access the free-to-play augmented reality game. The proposal: if you’re a registered sex offender, you won’t be permitted to play the game once you leave jail.

“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,” Governor Cuomo said in a release.

The concern is that predators might be able to inadvertently attract victims through the use of lures, although the Governor’s office didn’t distinguish between dropping a lure on a Pokestop and luring people to specific locations.

“Sex offenders who download the game legally could pinpoint hot spots where children congregate, like Pokestops or gyms, and meet them in person,” Senator Diane Savino said.

A directive has also been issued that will “impose a new condition of parole for sex offenders under community supervision that that will prohibit them from downloading, accessing, or otherwise engaging in any Internet enabled gaming activities, including Pokemon GO”.

If an offender is caught playing Pokemon GO, the new directive means it could be used as grounds to return them to jail. Niantic has also been asked to provide any details of Pokemon GO players that are on the state’s sex offender register, with the Governor’s office having already supplied information from their end.


  • It’s hard to work out how Niantic could implement a ban, even if they wanted to. They don’t have users’ real names, and it’s trivial to set up a new email address even if NY has a registry of those. Easy enough to make it a condition of parole, but no reason for Niantic to be involved with that.

  • Whilst I will continue to deplore these crimes, ultimately, they have already served their time. If you have such a fear of sex offender recidivism, how about some effort done on rehabilitation rather than the current hyperfocus on punishment in the penal system.


    • I agree, the whole purpose of jail is that they’re supposedly rehabilitated during that time and “paid the price” with time. Is a former thief barred from handling money for life? A former hoon barred from driving a vehicle for life? I’m not trying to down-play the seriousness of sex-related offenses, but it always seems like they’re given a life sentence regardless of whether they’re incarcerated or not, and yet everyone is too afraid to bring up the death penalty. That would certainly make for quite a deterrent for repeat offenders.

      • I don’t think it’d make that big of a deterrent. I mean as far as deterrents go the bar is about as high as it can get. It’s pretty clear that if you get caught touching kids you’re life is over. I think the only way to improve the deterrent aspect would be to make them question how likely they are to get caught.

    • Not to mention, there are a lot of people who are on the sex offender list for fairly inocuous reasons, like the stories you hear of the underage couple in a legal relationship then the guy getting busted for statutory rape because he turned 18 and she hadn’t yet. Apparently in some US states things as trivial as public urination or sex in a public place will put you on the sex offender list for life.

      • I have heard a story about guy getting drunk, staggering home and he took a leak behind a tree yet a mother and her kids saw him and he’s now on the sex offenders list. Was he an idiot? Yes. Does he deserve a Fine? Sure. Is he a Sex Offender? I don’t believe so.

  • The problem that other people have pointed out is that once you are on that list (of sex offenders), you are always on that list and the actual requirements for getting on it is blurry in some areas and even if you are mistakenly charged, you’re not always removed. But hey, if Niantic figures out how to do it then maybe Trump can get their help banning terrorists from the internet.

  • From what I’ve seen most “registered sex offenders” in murica are teenagers that sent nudes to their same aged boyfriend/girlfriend.

  • prohibit them from downloading, accessing, or otherwise engaging in any Internet enabled gaming activities

    Wait, so is that basically just any and all video games that have internet access? Anything with a Mutliplayer mode at all? That’s… a bit overkill, isn’t it?

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