"Pokémon Go" has been a hit with the young and the young at heart. But New York's governor is suggesting that heartwarming appeal might be cause for concern.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says "sexual predators" might exploit the game to take advantage of children and should be legally banned from playing.
The governor asked the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to restrict sex offenders from using "Pokémon Go" and similar games. The request came after an informal investigation from two New York lawmakers found a high rate of "Pokémon Go" incentives near sex offenders' homes. Those lawmakers not only want to limit offenders from using the game, but they also want to make sure PokéStops don't show up near the homes of sex offenders.
In a release on Monday, the governor 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."
The governor's directive prohibits about 3,000 sex offenders on parole from downloading and using the game. Cuomo also sent a letter to the game's publisher asking for its help in preventing sex offenders from playing the game.
But as The Verge points out, limiting who can play video games could raise concerns about already controversial sex offender registries.
One civil rights lawyer told The New York Times these kinds of limitations could conflict with the constitutional protection of freedom of assembly, saying, "Without any evidence of any existing criminal or sexual activity by sex offenders, vis-à-vis Pokémon Go, this is an overreach."