Finally, the government does SOMETHING good for video games. At least, the government of New York state has. As of today, over 3,000 registered sex offenders in New York have been banned from the online gaming networks of Microsoft, Sony, Apple, Blizzard, Warner Bros., and EA.
The New York Attorney General's office teamed up with these game companies to make sure that sex offenders have even fewer places to find and lure future victims. Under New York law, convicted sex offenders must provide all e-mail addresses and internet screennames to the state, and then the state, in turn, gives this information to video game companies. The companies can use this information to perform a clean sweep of these email addresses and screennames into the ban zone. New York has always turned in sex offender information to websites, but this is the first time that they have extended the law to video games. They named this collaboration, "Operation: Game Over", which rules on so many levels.
The final push for the state to apply the law to video games came from several recent incidents where sexual predators used an online gaming service to lure victims to places where they can be assaulted. Sadly enough, most of these incidents involved underage children.
It's easy to point the finger at parents for not monitoring their children's activities. While there may be some truth to this, I think everyone can agree that sexual predators should be stopped at every avenue possible. Operation: Game Over only took place in New York state's borders, but it is likely that other states may join in.
I am 100% for this sweep. When you become a convicted sex offender, you lose your rights to privacy, because you put someone else in danger—whether they are underage or not. I really do hope more states adopt this measure, and I applaud these game companies for agreeing to help the NY Attorney General.
That said, however, I'd like to see exactly which sex offenders are on this ban list. There are actually many different levels of registered sex offenders. For instance, I have a friend who is a registered sex offender due to pissing on a cop in public (he peed off his balcony onto an unsuspected police officer below). He was smacked down with two public indecency tickets for the incident—exposure and urination in public—which made him a registered sex offender in the state of Texas. Or what about the cases where a spouse accuses the other child molestation in an ugly divorce? It doesn't matter if it's true or not; if it has to be investigated, the spouse becomes a registered sex offender (in Texas). When I worked in family law, I saw this happen more times than I would like to admit.
Surely, Operation: Game Over only targets those with convicted counts of sexual assault; at least, that's what I hope it does. If it's a blanket law for all registered sex offenders for no matter the charge, then I withdraw my support to that extent.
Moral of the story, kids: do not pee off your balcony, no matter how drunk you are and no matter how certain you are that no one is below.