back to article New York takes 2,100 pervs offline, gets gaming support

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has announced that the state has taken more than 2,100 registered sex offenders off of online games and forums, and has signed up another five firms to expand the banning regimen further in the future. "The Internet is the crime scene of the 21st century, and we must ensure …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The statement doesn't clarify whether these people have actually committed any subsequent crime. Seems like extrajudicial punishment to me, which I'm pretty sure is unlawful.

    1. SoaG

      Just a new way of enforcing existing restrictions

      Typically child abusers will have stipulations in their probation/conditional release about not associating with children or where children congregate.

      Not really seeing a difference between not being allowed to hang out at the jungle gym in the park vs not being allowed to hang out in Lego Universe.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah right, 2100 taken off line but that's only the ones who they know about, 3,263,285,219,297 to the power of 10 have not been stopped....

      Does this also include all the false identities?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Considering the strong protections for freedom of speech we (supposedly) have, it probably would be unlawful if the government directly banned convicts from communicating in an online forum. But they found a sneaky way around that. As I understand it, they're not technically forcing anyone off the forums, no they're just going to the companies who run them and saying "Hey uh, you know you've got *sex offenders* on your forum? Here's a list, if you want to do anything about it, that would be alright with us." And those companies, not being part of government, can censor anybody they like. And since they might look bad if the didn't, go along with it.

      This makes me uncomfortable given how reliant the average person is on huge companies for communication. They could just as easily give FaceBook a list of all felons or supply GoDaddy with a list of "suspected terrorists".

      I'm hopeful that at some point this would be ruled unconstitutional prior restraint anyway, but I wonder just how far they could push it before that happened.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > They could just as easily give FaceBook a list of all felons or supply GoDaddy with a list of "suspected terrorists".

        No, they couldn't. The sex offenders list in the USA is public due to the Sexual Offender (Jacob Wetterling) Act of 1994 (aka Megan's Law) which requires the public to be notified of sex offenders. There are no such requirements for felons and/or suspected terrorists. Whilst the government can use lists of felons and/or suspected terrorists for their own use (no fly lists, employment etc) or for vetting (Defense job in a private company for example), they can not distribute these lists to Facebook (or GoDaddy).

      2. kellerr13

        Construde

        A sneaky way around it is right, and it is a direct violation of the 9th amendment.

  2. Rusty 1
    Stop

    You wrote "off of"

    Please don't use that sequence of words. It is not a good sequence and the remedial eye bleach hurts. Think of the children, the badgers, and all others who read English.

    1. Androgynous Crackwhore
      Headmaster

      Re: You wrote "off of"

      Eye bleach? I had to read that sentence three times to decipher the brutally mangled grammar. Now I need brain bleach.

      I've still got the offending snippet in clipboard - in case no one else had cried for mercy:

      ...offenders off of online games...

      FFS El Reg, It's Christmas. Show us some mercy!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    not our kind...

    so any online service that intermingles kids and adults will be purged of sex offenders, period, point blank.

    1. kellerr13

      Re: not our kind...

      That is not for the Attorney General to decide. That is a decision to be made by the courts, as a condition of their release.

  4. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    Now if they would only remove....

    All the teenagers with avatar names like "Count Clit" or "Ridemypeen" I might actually be interested in playing an online game!!

    1. Robert Ramsay
      Joke

      Re: Now if they would only remove....

      I saw one the other day which did make me smile: "Vagitarian"

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  6. Oli 1

    I wonder if this was a bad move long term. Surely its better to know their online identities and monitor rather than cut off that identity to the services its using. I mean if I was cut off from something I'd sign up under a new name.

    Does come down to parents to protect theirown kids tho.

  7. Oninoshiko
    Childcatcher

    some crimes which get you banned from games in new york:

    patronizing a prostitute in the first or second degrees

    promoting prostitution in the second or first degrees

    sex trafficking (IIRC includes offering your services as a prostitute)

    disseminating indecent material to minors in the first degree (not sure what it takes to be first degree)

    unlawful surveillance in the first and second degrees (presumably to cover cameras in bathrooms, not sure what else this would cover)

    I omitted patronizing a prostitute in the third degree as it is only a registrable offense is the victim was under 17.

    While the people of New York have decided these are all awful crimes, I'm not sure violating these makes you a risk to minors online.

    1. Oninoshiko

      Re: some crimes which get you banned from games in new york:

      sorry, ment to cite my source:

      http://www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/nsor/sortab1.htm

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Patronizing [sic] a prostitute?

      Ooh! —That's a nice pair of stained fishnets. Did you pick them yourself? Aren't you a clever girl!

  8. Graham Marsden
    Big Brother

    So let's see...

    "Under New York State’s Electronic Securing and Targeting of Online Predators Act (e-STOP) law, convicted sex offenders must register all of their e-mail addresses, screen names, and other Internet identifiers with the state. That information is then made available to certain websites so they can purge potential predators from their online worlds"

    Right, so that's *potential* predators even though "According to the Division of Criminal Justice Services, New York State has more than 34,000 registered sex offenders: 13,260 are level 1 registered offenders (lowest risk of repeat offense); 12,342 are level 2 registered offenders (moderate risk of repeat offense); 8,596 are level 3 registered sex offenders (high risk of repeat offense and a threat to public safety exists)."

    That's about 40% who are lowest risk and only 25% who are "high risk" and "a threat to public safety", but rather than educate people ("Parents often do not realize that gaming consoles have these capabilities, or that parental controls exist for these systems") far better to consider anyone (even those who have only been convicted of taking a piss in public or teens who have had consensual but underage sex) should be thought of as a potential child molestor and banned from playing online games!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surely if you keep these people off the street and stop their fiddling ways that is a good thing? So long as they're not using the net to groom people.

    Or should they all be out raising money for charity like Jimmy did?

  10. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    Oh!

    "New York takes 2,100 pervs offline, gets gaming support"

    When I saw the headline I thought it was about NY unplugging the TSA with the help of Atlantic City casinos. No offense but the story I had envisioned unfolding was oddly more interesting, very oddly I might add.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      "2,100 pervs offline"

      I'm sure the TSA is much bigger in NYC.

      1. kellerr13

        Re: "2,100 pervs offline"

        Yeah. The TSA agents ("Security guards" according to the courts) are the biggest perverts around, and need their asses kicked.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In the USA you can be put on the sex offender registry for urinating in public, having consensual sex as a teenager or even for “sexting.” And in California, once you are on the list, you are on it for life.

    Not sure how throwing public pee'ers offline is protecting anyone child.

    http://reason.com/blog/2012/03/14/reasontv-how-sex-offender-registries-fai

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah......... the land of the free........ with liberty and justice for all huh?

    The lunatics really are running the asylum now it seems.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Coat

      "The lunatics really are running the asylum now it seems"

      Except under new a Congressional law the term "lunatic" may not be used for in Federal legislation.

      Mad but true?

      1. Lamont Cranston
        Coat

        re: Mad but true?

        It's madness gone politically correct!

  13. Tank boy
    FAIL

    Wait a minute

    New York has the kind of extra money laying around to play "whack-a-mole" with online pervs? How about fixing all the mess from superstorm Sandy first, then worry about what happens on the interwebs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wait a minute

      "New York has the kind of extra money laying around to play "whack-a-mole" with online pervs?"

      Work zone speed traps

  14. Gordo Rex
    Childcatcher

    Testing

    If you see this post, apparently pervs are still allowed to post to El Reg.

    That is all.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Testing

      So you visited a professional sex worker in NY?

      The descendents of the Mayflower nutters do not appreciate!

  15. Suricou Raven

    Some laws are made to be broken.

    In this case, in the most literal sense. Laws around sex offenders in the US are often made to be impossible to obey, in order to either force said offenders to move elsewhere (NIMBYism in action) or to provide an excuse to jail them. The best-known example of this is the colony of sex offenders formerly living under a bridge in Florida. A 'for the children' law in Miami prohibits sex offenders from living within 2500 feet of anywhere children may gather: Schools, daycare centers, homeless shelters(I don't know why), shopping malls, skating rinks, parks, even bus stops. So many that every square inch of Miami is within at least one of these exclusion zones, and so forcing sex offenders to either go underground or move to the shanty town illegally established under a bridge just outside city limits. The law wasn't made to be obeyed: It was made to be impossible to obey.

    This sounds like a very similar approach. Just try registering every name you ever use on any service. Sooner or later, you're going to slip up - and if the authorities are in the habbit of following you around online and closing down all the accounts you open, it's going to be very tempting to 'forget' to report a few. Then back to jail you go, just as the writers of the law intended!

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  17. mickey mouse the fith
    FAIL

    Isnt there a glaring flaw in this?

    Am I missing something here, or cant the perv just create loads of fake accounts, then continue as normal? Use a vpn or connect via public wifi or maybe a burner phone and even with i.s.p. snooping dibble wont have a clue what the perv`s up to onlline.

  18. Dave Bell

    Another example: we should do better

    It's been a couple of years, but a known computer criminal, convicted and on court-ordered probation, was running a scam on an on-line game. There were some ugly rumours about him having help inside the game company, and it seemed to take an age before any LEA checked up on him. Since the judge had ordered some very tight restrictions on his use of computers, he was in deep trouble before you even got to the details of what he was doing.

    If we're talking sex-offenders with an on-line element to the original case, and a court-ordered restriction, this could be a good thing. There's potential for abuse, if only in some of the ways people get on sex offender lists, but this is somebody trying to enforce restrictions. If nobody can be bothered, the crooks come back and start again.

    And it could still go dreadfully wrong.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    I just wonder...

    how much law making time would be saved by them not having to come up with stupid acronyms that have to spell something related to the bill.

    Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act

    PROTECT IP

    Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act

    USA PATRIOT

    Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act

    CAN-SPAM

    Community Oriented Policing Services and Key Investments in Developmental Services Act

    COPS and KIDS

    Re-engaging Americans in Serious Education by Uniting Program Act

    RAISE UP

    and on and on and on....

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  21. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    I wonder who the 5th company was?

    TFA says there were 5 new companies in this program, then lists 4 of them.

  22. MahFL22

    Hmmmm

    Actually they can still prey, seems only the ones who admitted were taken down.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No justice.

    I need to be very clear. Most of you that would read this are probably unaware that if you have to use the restroom outside, and somebody sees you, you are considdered a sex offender. Does that sound right to you?

    There are many other unusual circumstances which could result in you receiving a sex offender status as well.

    The courts need to assert their authority over the A.G.

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