New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been able to remove more than 2,100 registered sex offenders from popular online games, his office announced today.
The registered sex offenders have been kicked out of a host of games from developers Gaia Online, NCSoft, and THQ, among others, as part of the attorney general's Operation: Game Over, an initiative designed to remove registered sex offenders from video games that might have children playing them.
"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," Schneiderman said today in a statement. "That means doing everything possible to block sex offenders from using gaming systems as a vehicle to prey on underage victims."
Registered sex offenders in New York State must provide all electronic identities to the state, including e-mail addresses, screen names, and online accounts. The attorney general's office then analyzes all of those accounts and determines which relate to video games. The office then contacts game developers and asks them to purge the accounts as part of the Operation: Game Over initiative.
"Operation: Game Over coincides with recent incidents of sexual predators using voice and text chat functions in online gaming services to lure underage victims across the country," the attorney general's office said today in a statement, pointing to a previous case in which a 19-year-old man lured a 12-year-old boy on Xbox Live and allegedly sexually abused the boy in his home.
The latest purge comes several months after the attorney general's office announced the first Operation: Game Over sweep, in which 3,500 registered sex offenders were removed from online games. Many of those people were removed from Xbox Live and popular online title World of WarCraft.
"I applaud the online gaming companies that have purged registered sex offenders from their networks in time for the holiday season," Schneiderman said today. "Together, we are making the online community a safer place for the children of New York."