New York sex offenders on parole and under community supervision will be barred from downloading and playing "Pokemon Go" after lawmakers raised concerns that young gamers may be led into contact with offenders, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.
The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision issued the new conditions of parole, which will prohibit about 3,000 sex offenders currently on parole from accessing the game.
At Cuomo’s direction, the Department of Criminal Justice Services will also recommend county probation offices adopt the policy. The agency will provide Niantic, Inc., the company that makes the game, information about offenders on the sex offender registry, Cuomo said in a statement.
“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 a statement.
The move comes after Sen. Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx) pushed for additional regulations last week, after an investigation by his office found virtual creatures in the game popped up near the real homes of sex offenders.
Users playing "Pokemon Go" roam through the physical world searching for virtual Pokemon creatures. The game also allows players to attract other users to physical locations using so-called "lures."
Under the new parole regulations, other games "similar" to Pokemon Go will also be unavailable to offenders, according to Cuomo's statement.
"We want our children to have safe fun, but it makes no sense at all to give dangerous sexual predators a virtual road map to where our children congregate," Klein said last week.