New York's attorney general has booted thousands of sex offenders off online gaming platforms as part of a drive to protect children from online predators.
The city's deleted over 2,100 accounts as part of Operation: Game Over, which earlier this year saw a first batch of 3,500 registered sex offenders lose their gaming accounts.
The initiative has the support of major gaming companies including
Microsoft, Apple, Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Disney, Warner Brothers and Sony. And now Gaia Online, NCSOFT, Funcom and THQ have signed up, purging their platofrms too.
"The internet is the crime scene of the 21st century, and we must ensure that online video game platforms do not become a digital playground for dangerous predators. That means doing everything possible to block sex offenders from using gaming systems as a vehicle to prey on underage victims,” says attorney general Eric Schneiderman.
"I applaud the online gaming companies that have purged registered sex offenders from their networks in time for the holiday season. Together, we are making the online community a safer place for the children of New York."
He's able to do this courtesy of the state's Electronic Securing and Targeting of Online Predators Act (e-STOP) law, under which convicted sex offenders must register all of their e-mail addresses, screen names and other internet identifiers with the state.
Sexual predators have been quick to catch on to the possibilities of online gaming platforms - and, according to the Division of Criminal Justice Services, New York State has more than 34,000 registered sex offenders.
"I applaud Attorney General Schneiderman for continuing this bold action to protect New York’s children from becoming victims," says Laura Ahearn, executive director of parents for Megan’s Law and the Crime Victims Center.
"This is a groundbreaking effort that keeps the online community safer for our children, and sends a strong message that sexual predators can’t hide behind anonymous profiles online to prey on victims anymore."