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New York Sex Offenders Banned From Downloading, Playing Pokemon Go

They won’t be Pokémon Go–ing anywhere. New York sex offenders are now banned from downloading or playing Pokémon Go.

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in a press release Monday, August 1, that he directed the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to impose the new rule “to safeguard New York’s children.” Cuomo also sent a letter to Pokémon Go’s maker, Niantic Inc., asking for their assistance with the initiative.

“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 in the press release. “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.” 

A Pokemon Go user plays Pokemon GO game in New York City, NY on July 13, 2016.
A Pokemon Go user plays the game in New York City July 13, 2016.

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The new regulation, which will affect about 3,000 people, prohibits sex offenders on parole from downloading, accessing or playing any Internet-enabled games, including Pokémon Go. The directive follows a recent report by Senators Jeffrey D. Klein and Diane Savino that says children were unknowingly getting close to sex offender residences while trying to catch creatures in the game. Klein and Savino found the “lure” feature could also be used by sex offenders to attract kids to a certain location.

Savino wrote in the report, “Sex offenders who download the game legally could pinpoint hot spots where children congregate, like Poké Stops and gyms, and meet them in person. The investigation I conducted revealed that these spots were located near the homes of these dangerous individuals.”

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There have been several alarming incidents stemming from the insanely popular game. In Phoenix, one of the beacons in Pokémon Go is at the New Windsor Hotel, a former hotel turned halfway house which currently houses 43 registered sex offenders, according to KSAZ. Armed robbers in O’Fallon, Missouri, also used the “lure” feature to attract victims to isolated areas, according to a police statement on Facebook.

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