On Monday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a letter to Pokémon Go parent company Niantic, Inc. He requested assistance in a New York State initiative to bar sex offenders from playing the popular mobile game. “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. He hopes this directive will help avoid any tragic consequences in the future.
Cuomo directed the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Monday to “restrict sex offenders under community supervision” from playing Pokémon Go, as well as similar apps that may be developed in the future. The injunction will apply to almost 3,000 sex offenders who are currently on parole in New York.
The Governor’s action closely follows a report issued by Senators Jeffrey D. Klein and Diane Savino, which showed that Pokémon Go can and has been used to lure children near the homes of sex offenders. According to Senator Klein, “Pokémon Go provided sex offenders with a virtual road map to our children.” Senator Savino echoed those sentiments, stating, “Sex offenders who download the game legally could pinpoint hot spots where children congregate, like pokéstops or gyms, and meet them in person.” Savino added that many pokéstops were located near sex offenders’ homes.
In his letter to Niantic, Cuomo promised to provide the company with “the most up-to-date information of offenders within the Sex Offender Registry” in hopes that they will work with him to bar sex offenders from using the game. Cuomo said that representatives from New York’s Department of Criminal Justice Services would also be reaching out to Apple and Google with similar requests.
Cuomo also announced his new directive via Twitter.