Three US games companies have decided to ban all those who are on New York State’s register of sex offenders from playing their games.
The deal was worked out with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman who thinks that paedophiles are using games to groom kids. While that might be true, it also throws into question the validity of using the sex register as a method for doing so.
There are 3,500 registered sex offenders on the New York register but few are paedophiles. In fact a good chunk are those happend to have had sex when they were considered too young or committed offences 100 years ago.
The register also does not take into account the fact that they will have paid for crimes they would have done – so this is post-crime persecution and assuming that they will offend again. It is also inaccurate because it assumes that serious sex pests never change their name, so the ones on the register are generally the more law abiding types.
Schneiderman is convinced that online chatting allows sexual predators “to establish contacts with children they would never be able to establish” in parks or playgrounds.
According to the New York Times, companies who will be enacting the sex pest ban are Microsoft, Sony, Electronic Arts, Warner Brothers, Disney Interactive Media Group, Blizzard Entertainment and Apple.
The police have been trying to block sex offenders from gaining access to chat rooms or social media sites without having to go to court and prove anything. Schneiderman said New York’s was the first such ban on using online video games.
Registered sex offenders in New York already have to submit their e-mail addresses and gaming identities to the state. This data was cross-referenced against online gaming accounts before the announcement. So far there has been little in the way of objection from anyone. But we guess anyone who goes out to bat for sex pests is going to face the same problems as those who defended witches in the 16th century.
Rich Wallis, a vice president and deputy general counsel for Microsoft, said that by using online identity information all registered sex offenders are required to provide, Microsoft was able to help reduce harmful situations.
The Entertainment Software Association welcomed appropriate efforts that allowed people of all ages to play games in a safer environment. Other than those who commit sexually related crimes. Crimes of violence are OK.