NY Attorney General culls web games of 2,100 sex offenders; “crime scene of the 21st century”

Dec 19, 2012
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NY Attorney General culls web games of 2,100 sex offenders; “crime scene of the 21st century”

It's no small feat taking on the entire internet when you're making sure the world is safe for children - that's why New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman has removed approximately 2,100 registered sex offenders from online gaming communities instead. Targeting groups like Gaia Online, NCSoft, and THQ, Scheiderman has made it clear that if it's possible that a child is playing a video game online, he doesn't want sex offenders anywhere on the digital premises.

Schneiderman spoke this week on how the most recent (but not the largest) wave of 2,000 registered sex offenders being kicked from gaming communities as a result of his office's initiative called "Operation: Game Over." Cleverness of the title of the project aside, this situation has offered up some key quotes from the official in his bid to cut out any offenses before they happen.

"The Internet is the crime scene of the 21st century, and we must ensure that online video game platforms do not become a digital playground for dangerous predators. That means doing everything possible to block sex offenders from using gaming systems as a vehicle to prey on underage victims." - Schneiderman

In New York State the law requires all sex offenders to provide the state with all of their electronic identities. This includes online accounts of all kinds, email addresses, screen names, and basically any other identifying set of numbers and letters a human might have to tie them in to the web. This initiative has this list of contacts run down and used to contact online gaming developers, asking them kindly to purge accounts of the sex offenders. It's not clear at the moment if this request can be enforced with each developer, but by the sound of it, there's not been much resistance either way.

"peration: Game Over coincides with recent incidents of sexual predators using voice and text chat functions in online gaming services to lure underage victims across the country. ... I applaud the online gaming companies that have purged registered sex offenders from their networks in time for the holiday season. Together, we are making the online community a safer place for the children of New York." - Scheiderman

The message released today by Schneiderman's office also included the following tips for parents with kids that play video games:

Attorney General Schneiderman provided the following tips for parents to protect children from sexual predators from online video game networks:

• Choose games appropriate for your child’s age and maturity level;

• Use your game console’s parental controls (control which games can be played, for how long, and whether they can play online;

• Keep computer or game console in a public area of the home; and

• Talk to your kids about how to protect identifying information, and to avoid and report conversations that make them uncomfortable.

Schneiderman's initiative previously had announcements with different amounts of registered sex offenders kicked from gaming communities, the most recent being an amount of 3,500. Recent targets included Microsoft's Xbox LIVE community and World of Warcraft. Let us know what you think of this program in comments below!

[via Attorney General Eric T Schneiderman]


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