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Posted by Chris Scott Barr on Apr 6, 2012

New York Bans Sex Offenders From Online Games

New York State attorney general Eric T. Scheiderman announced today that 3,580 online gaming accounts have been removed from a variety of services. Why? It’s part of an initiative by the state to crack down on sex offenders dubbed “Operation: Game Over.”

In a world where kids play several hours worth of games each day, it’s not terribly surprising to see a move like this, especially not on an election year. The initiative was created with the intent to remove a direct line of contact between pedophiles and children. Who could say no to that? Microsoft, Blizzard, Sony, EA, Warner Bros., Disney and Apple all cooperated with the state to remove the accounts.

So how did they know which accounts to remove? All registered sex offenders are required to register every email address, online screen name and account with the state. This makes it easy to block them from services such as MMOs and Xbox Live.

The unfortunate part of this is that not every sex offender is a pedophile, which means that someone who might have had a relationship with a minor, who was only a year younger than them, could be banned from online games for the rest of their life. Currently there is no method for classifying sex offenders by crime, so each will receive the same ban from gaming, regardless of what they did to receive the label.

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