New York removes sex offenders from online gaming services

The state of New York has removed its registered sex offenders from multiple online gaming services, as announced on Thursday by New York Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, reports Joystiq.

The program is called "Operation: Game Over," and has already purged or suspended the communication privileges of 3,580 accounts with the cooperation of Microsoft, Sony, Apple, Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Warner Bros. and Disney Interactive. While Xbox Live is the only gaming service that is called out by name in the press release, the other companies have online gaming services that are just as recognizable, including Sony's PlayStation Network, Blizzard's, Electronic Arts' Origin, Apple's Game Center and more.

According to New York State law, convicted sex offenders have to register their online identifiers with the state, including all of their email addresses and screen names. This data is already used by "certain websites," such as online dating sites, to purge these potential predators from their databases. The press release claims that Operation: Game Over is the first time the law has been applied to online video games.

"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," Attorney General Schneiderman said. "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."

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