New York governor Andrew Cuomo has approached the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to request that they block registered sex offenders from playing the popular mobile app Pokémon GO. He also wants Niantic Inc., the developer behind the game, to find ways to prohibit such individuals from using the game.
Presumably, the reasoning behind his requests is that, due to the game’s use of GPS data to bring players to certain locations, sex offenders may utilize this feature to find or lure potential victims. For example, the game features ‘lures’—for a small fee, Pokémon will spawn more frequently around a certain location, drawing in more players to that area. This could be used to bring players to the residences of sex offenders, muggers, or other unsavory individuals. Indeed, players have been involved in incidents such as a group being caught in a gunfight while out hunting for Magikarp.
New York state senator Jeff Klein also said on Friday that he would be introducing legislation to prevent such offenses. In a statement, Klein said that the game “provided sex offenders with a virtual road map to our children.” The first part of the legislation would prevent moderate to high-risk sex offenders from playing the game, while the second would require games using GPS data like Pokémon GO to remove any in-game activity locations within 100 feet of the offender’s home.