New York state authorities have banned registered sex offenders from downloading and playing the augmented reality game Pokemon Go citing concerns that paedophiles could use the app to find or lure victims.
“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,” Time magazine quoted New York Governor Andrew Cuomo as saying on Monday while announcing the ban.
An investigation by state legislators found that some of the locations that pop up on the platform were located nearby registered sex offenders’ homes.
Of particular concern is the fact that users could purchase “lures” to attract gamers to their area, an option that paedophiles could seek to exploit, reports Time amagazine.
According to Cuomo, the ban aims to prevent nearly 3,000 Level 1, 2 and 3 offenders who are on parole from using the game.
Authorities from the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) will visit the sex offenders and make them sign an acknowledgement of receipt of the new special condition barring them from playing the game.
The agreement will be enforced by visits, both scheduled and unannounced, to offenders’ homes and workplaces, which will entail inspections of the space and of approved electronic devices, Time magazine noted.
Cuomo has also asked Niantic, the company that developed the game, to work with the DOCCS to remove sex offenders from its app.
The DOCCS will regularly send an updated list to Niantic, as it does with other technology companies like Facebook and Microsoft, to keep offenders off platforms like the Xbox 360.