Pokémon No: N.Y. Governor Bans Sex Offenders From Playing Game

At the direction of Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York’s correctional department has made playing online games a violation of parole for sex offenders — particularlyPokémon Go. Cuomo’s directive was issued in response to a recent investigation on app locations and proximity to sex offenders.

From Route 50,

Among other findings, the report highlighted dozens of instances in New York City where “Pokemon Go” characters, which game-users seek out in real world locations, appeared directly in front of the residential addresses of sex offenders on probation and parole.

At Cuomo’s direction, the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision will impose a new condition of parole for sex offenders, prohibiting them from downloading, accessing, and playing internet games like “Pokemon Go.”

The guideline will apply to nearly 3,000 sex offenders now on parole, according to the governor’s office.

The governor also sent a letter Monday to John Hanke, the CEO of Niantic, Inc., the developer of “Pokemon Go,” requesting assistance in keeping predators from using the game. In the letter, Cuomo said New York’s Division of Criminal Justice Services would reach out to the company to provide the state’s most current information about registered sex offenders.

The game includes incentives for players to visit places designated as “Pokestops” and “gyms.” It also incorporates “lures.” These can be purchased online and attached in the game to real locations in order to draw Pokemon and, in turn, players to a place.

The investigation conducted by state Sen. Klein and state Sen. Diane Savino involved compiling a list of primary addresses for sex offenders in New York City. Those addresses were visited while using the Pokemon app to see if game activities or objectives were located nearby.

Pokemon characters were “caught” 57 times directly in front of sex offender residences. These offenders were on probation and parole and their crimes involved sexual abuse of children, or the possession of child pornography, the report about the investigation said.

All told, 73 of the 100 addresses were within a half-block of an item in the game—either a character, a Pokestop, or a gym.

Read the full article for more information.

At this year’s MACo Summer Conference, you can learn more about Pokémon GO and the future of augmented reality games, as well as how state and local officials are handling the additional safety, law enforcement, and recreation needs caused by the influx of players.

Here are more details:

Title: Gotta Catch ‘Em All – Pokémon GO and the Public

Description: Pokémon GO, the augmented reality smartphone application, has been downloaded by millions of players. Using technologies such as GPS and cameras, players navigate real, physical spaces and overlay their camera-view with digital images – characters from the game appear as if they’re in the player’s real-life setting. In the quest to “catch ’em all,” some players have gotten a lot of exercise, explored new parts of their communities, and made new friends. Others have injured themselves while walking distracted, played in inappropriate places, and been targeted by criminals. The popularity of this game – and the anticipation of more like it – present both positive and negative challenges for local governments. In this session, learn more about Pokémon GO and the future of augmented reality games, as well as how state and local officials are handling the additional safety, law enforcement, and recreation needs caused by the influx of players.

Speakers to be announced soon.

Moderator: The Honorable Allan Kittleman

Date/Time: Friday, August 19, 2016; 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

The MACo summer conference will be held August 17-20, 2016 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City Maryland. This year the conference’s theme is “Cyber Solutions: Counties in the Digital Age.”

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference: