New York Governor Andrew Cuomo released a statement on Monday, directing the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to prohibit sex offenders from using Pokémon Go. The new augmented reality Pokémon game has become immensely popular, causing concern among some New York lawmakers that there is potential for children who play the game to come into close proximity with potentially dangerous offenders.
In a statement from the Governor's office, Cuomo said,
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. 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.
Cuomo also sent a letter to Niacom's CEO, John Hanke, asking the maker of Pokémon Go to take steps that would prevent sex offenders from using Pokémon Go. Cuomo wrote in his letter,
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. 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.
The move to ban sex offenders from playing Pokémon Go is in response to an informal study conducted by New York Senators Jeffrey Klein and Diane Savino. The New York Times reported that the study found that of 100 homes where sexual offenders live in New York, 59 of them were within half a block of locations where Pokémon Go players could use features of the game.