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New York Governor Asks Niantic to Help Block Sex Offenders From Playing Pokemon Go

| 1 Aug 2016 20:50
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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is taking steps to stop sex offenders from playing Pokemon Go, and he's asking Niantic to help.

In an open letter to Niantic's John Hanke, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo requested Niantic's assistance with blocking known sex offenders from playing Pokemon Go.

In the letter, Cuomo references lures, which can be placed at any PokeStop in order to draw Pokemon to the location and, unlike incense, is an item that can benefit anyone playing the game, not just the person who uses it. Cuomo expresses concerns that lures "have the potential to be abused by predators."

"That is why I have directed the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services to reach out to Niantic, Inc. to provide the most up-to-date information of offenders within the Sex Offender Registry," Cuomo writes in the letter. "With this information, we hope you will be able to prevent identified sex offenders from using this game. DCJS will also contact Apple and Google to inform them of these public safety concerns and will work with them to enhance user safety. Software developers that operate augmented reality games like Pokemon GO should be entitled to the same information that is regularly shared with companies like Facebook, Apple and Microsoft."

Cuomo helped pass the Electronic Security & Targeting of Online Predators (E-STOP) Act in 2008, which requires that convicted sex offenders share the details of their online accounts with law enforcement. Today, it was announced that sex offenders on parole in New York are prohibited from downloading or accessing Pokemon Go and similar Internet-enabled games.

"Protecting our children and ensuring their safety is our top priority, and the State of New York is moving swiftly to respond to troubling news that young children using Pokemon GO are being steered to locations in close proximity to, or even at, sex offender residences," Cuomo writes. "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 Pokemon GO by technologically barring their use. Working together, we can ensure that this danger today does not escalate into a tragedy tomorrow."

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