NY purges sex offenders from online gaming with "Operation: Game Over"

By on April 6, 2012, 2:00 PM

New York state Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, announced that over 3,580 state registered sex offenders have been "purged" from various online gaming networks. The effort to keep sex offenders away from youthful gamers is part of a state initiative coined as "Operation: Game Over". Although the press release emphasizes "purge", the statement mentions revoking communication privileges as a possible, alternate avenue.

"As a result of Operation: Game Over, 3,580 accounts of New York state sex offenders have been purged – or their communication privileges suspended – from the gaming platforms owned by Microsoft, Apple, Blizzard Entertainment, Electronic Arts, Warner Bros. and Disney Interactive Media Group. Sony was unable to provide the number expected to be purged by the date of this press release."

"We must ensure online video game systems do not become a digital playground for dangerous predators. That means doing everything possible to block sex offenders from using gaming networks as a vehicle to prey on underage victims," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "I applaud all the companies participating in this first-of-its-kind initiative for taking online safety seriously and purging their networks of sex offenders. Together we are making the online community safer for our children, not allowing it to become a 21st century crime scene."

Source: ag.ny.gov

Several major industry players are assisting New York officials in its crusade to remove previously convicted sex offenders from online gaming. The list includes such companies as Activision-Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Warner Bros., Disney and Microsoft.

The announcement claims that under New York law, sex offenders must register all of their email addresses, pseudonyms and other Internet identifiers with the state. This is actually common practice for most states. Officials then share this information with participating private sector actors who, on behalf of New York, remove or disable communications for each account. In New York's case, the information is available through an XML database which makes it simple for developers to keep an up-to-date list.

Operation: Game Over is reminiscent of an earlier effort led by former NY Attorney General Cuomo which targeted sex offenders' Facebook and MySpace accounts. That 2009 initiative, despite the absence of a clever name, also led to the deletion of more than 3,500 accounts. The uncanny similarity in numbers is probably more than a coincidence, as such initiatives probably target the same group of people.

According to Pew Research, over a quarter of teens (27 percent) play games online with people they don't personally know. Virtually all teens (97 percent) say they play games, be it on console, computer, web or portable devices.




User Comments: 16

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H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Simply Owned. Though 3k-4k is rather small fraction. I am sure there will be way to bypass this but yeah...

Tygerstrike said:

Shouldnt we have used our power as an angry mob and run those perverts out with torches and pichforks already? Im all for giving ppl a second chance but they have already proven that child molesters can and will offend again.

Maybe a small island somewhere in the middle of the ocean with no children on it.

ramonsterns said:

Tygerstrike said:

Shouldnt we have used our power as an angry mob and run those perverts out with torches and pichforks already? Im all for giving ppl a second chance but they have already proven that child molesters can and will offend again.

Maybe a small island somewhere in the middle of the ocean with no children on it.

You do realize Sex Offenders include anything from drunk streakers to repeat offenders, right? A friend of mine had an uncle who got slapped with the felony for taking a piss in public, and by public I mean an alley at 4 in the morning while he was drunk.

Guest said:

This is one of the most assinine things I have ever heard of. Sex offenders are not out there trolling video games to nab children!! If everyone would quit listening to the media and look at the data from the past 20 years, 90% of all kids are abused by someone that is a first time offender not on a registry and is a family member or close acquaintence of the family! I am getting so tired of reading about knee jerk reactions! I don't think anyone knows just how easy it is to be a sex offender. Pee behind a bush, have a consensual sexual relationship with a teen as a teen, download legal files and find out they aren't what they say they, have a child get mad at you because you said "no" and they lie to police.These all happens and every person convicted of this are included in this label along with the people are really abusing children. When will this witch hunt stop!!!

VitalyT VitalyT said:

I don't think that either taking a piss outside in the night while drunk or flashing a blushing girl at a party should be in the same category as child molesters. And yet they are all titled sex offenders, and that's confusing to the public into thinking they are a definitive scum. That's just wrong.

Guest said:

Consider the 17 year old boy who hooks up with a 16 year old girl both still in High School. The two of them have consequential sex which results in a pergnancy. The girl goes to social services for help and is asked to name the father. This starts a process,and the boy is charged with statuary rape and ends up being labeled a sex offender. This could have been any of us in high school. So is this a fare law????

Guest said:

actually, the recidivism rates for sex offenders compared to all other felonies are surprisingly low. "A 2002 study by the United States Department of Justice indicated that recidivism rates among sex offenders was 5.3%". Also, there are plenty of people who have been labeled "sex offenders" that never harmed anyone. Did you know that pulling your car over and urinating on the side of the road can get you the sex offender moniker? Furthermore, not even all "real" sex offenders have ever targeted children. We may not like the action, but a guy raping a woman in her 30's isn't necessarily a threat to any children. What about the guy who JUST turned 18 who has been dating a 16 year old since he was 16 and she was JUST 15? Does that mean he shouldn't be allowed to participate in things like the rest of us? It's easy to say "I hate sex offenders", and for the most part, good for you. But there's plenty of cases where it's just ridiculous.

The bottom line is the sex offenders are an easy group to attack, there's not going to be ANYONE standing up for them, and it makes the legislators look like real good guys. It's horseshit.

Mindwraith said:

They should do this with anyone who abuses people over gaming chat, trolls included.

Guest said:

Its good to see a balanced view on here, as all to often people jump on the myopic narrow minded bandwagon.

Tygerstrike said:

@Ramon

See im commenting on the perverts who go after children. In no way shape or form did I stray into other forms of sexual offenders. I personally feel if they target children they should be shot. Children should NEVER have to deal with that level of abuse. There is no justification that can be given for the sexual abuse of children. If what the article states is true, then them banning those pervs is a GREAT idea. Anything that can be done to protect them kids is a good idea.

Perhaps you need to comprehend what you read better.....

SumthinSacred said:

It's good to see that the state of New York is denying citizens their rights. Child rapists i can completely understand this for. But what about the guy who took a piss in an alleyway at 4 am? Does he really deserve this? People have been peeing outside for milenia. Obviously many still do.

Camikazi said:

Tygerstrike said:

@Ramon

See im commenting on the perverts who go after children. In no way shape or form did I stray into other forms of sexual offenders. I personally feel if they target children they should be shot. Children should NEVER have to deal with that level of abuse. There is no justification that can be given for the sexual abuse of children. If what the article states is true, then them banning those pervs is a GREAT idea. Anything that can be done to protect them kids is a good idea.

Perhaps you need to comprehend what you read better.....

Except that they are all lumped in together, as far as the law is concerned there is no difference between them. Before you do something like this you MUST take care of this problem and it seems they don't care too. Yea child molesters and rapist should be watched but the random drunk person who urinates in an alley should not be a part of this yet they most likely are.

Tygerstrike said:

No where in this article do they mention ppl pissing on the street as one of the group targeted in this ban. They specifically mention sexual predators who go after children. Thats what Im commenting on. Maybe too many of the guest posters have a sexual offender status from urinating at 4am. My comment is still dirrected at the perverts who target children. I still say they should be taken out into the street and shot.

foreverzero89 said:

really?! we tell these people where to live, work, where they can and can't go. now the state wants to get into their gaming as well, they are in their house just leave them the hell alone! damn state....

Guest said:

This is not a good thing. If ONLY children played games, then it would be fine. But all kinds of people play games. How are you going to take video games away from anyone? Seems a trivial thing to be legislating. Maybe grand theft auto is the only thing keeping that deranged guy placated enough to not be out doing crazy stuff. Then one day he comes home and now he can't play xbox live? I'm calling it... a sex offender is just going to snap one day. One dude is just going to go crazy because of all the stupid legislation and rules against him. He's going to lose his sh*t and shoot up a mall or something. They'll be dragging him off in handcuffs while he's mumbling, "Achievement unlocked"

MrAnderson said:

The crime they committed is awful, but you have to throw them some scraps. If you do something wrong, we punish you with jail time, fines, or public service. When does the punishment stop, and how can they try to do right if we keep marking them. Just monitor them and make sure they are reasonability kept away from children.

If I were a parent I'm sure I would be pretty much for this, regardless of how nuts this sounds and unmaintainable. Parents will do anything to protect their kids if they feel they have the power to prevent something from happening that is bad. I get that?

Couldn't the ex-criminals? accounts get mark to limit features and access within the community... like disable the ability for them to play or detect accounts and participate in game sessions that have under aged customers in a game. That sounds more reasonable.

Otherwise, we might as well revoke email, cell phone use, and regular mail too. Oh and don't let them in to see any movies that have ratings below R. Wait, actually don?t allow them at any public gatherings where children can be found.

If you take away work options and entertainment, you leave people to find entertainment in other ways. Not to mention they will have to lie to get around the system... Oh and make sure they are not allowed on Facebook having access to such a large population like that, who knows what trouble they can make.

This is a total waste of money that could go toward better things... maybe like education, or making jobs. Politicians try too hard to stay relevant. It is picking (noble like) gestures to win public favor. Many of these ideas are lost causes dressed up with good intent. Ever hear the phrase 'a pig wearing lipstick...'

Do politicians care that the idea will fail? As long as he/she gets the attention of the public, while the government budgets struggle, strange ideas like this should be shelved. The poor companies that have to admin have the PR nightmare of arguing against it... talk about balls in a sling. Pardon if I offended.

No I?m not jumping to the aid of sex offenders. I?m more focused on the fact that this will waste more resources than doing any good, and sadly it is smoke screened in such a noble cause that anyone that protests could come off as the brigand.

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