Pokémon Go, for all its current ups and downs, is still being enjoyed my millions globally. It’s still pretty common to bump into someone playing the game with all the telling signs. People with their phone out, spinning in place while pointing the camera forward in the hopes of capturing an elusive Pokémon in the real world. Without the app, behaviour like that would look rather suspicious, and it’s leading to some authorities taking action.
Namely in New York, where the city is now trying to legalise a ban on Pokémon GO for any sex offenders on parole. Because how will you know whether they’re trying to catch Pikachu or, well, trying to catch something else entirely.
The report comes way of BBC, who claim that New York governor Andrew Cuomo has reached out to Pokémon GO developers Niantic for help in the matter. He hopes that Niantic will be able to implement a system that somehow cross references player logins with registered sex offenders currently on parole, and immediately revoke their access to the game. It sounds like a longshot, but Cuomo believes it is paramount to public safety.
Another Senator wants Niantic to go a step further too. Jeff Klein has suggested that Niantic removes any Gyms, PokéStops and Pokémon in general from within a 30m radius of a registered offender’s household, so that children playing the game aren’t drawn to the area. That sounds pretty reasonable to me, but it would add to the amount of information parolees would need to provide to authorities, which already includes home addresses, online account names and more.
I see the value in the push for legislation like this, but I’m not exactly sure how Niantic (or New York) could possibly police it. It’s incredibly easy to get on Pokémon GO for obvious reasons, and even authentication past a Google account doesn’t really prove who is playing. As always cautionary play is the best in these situations, because not all trainers out there might be hunting the same digital creatures that you are.
Last Updated: August 2, 2016