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December 24, 2012

US cuts more sex offenders from online gaming platforms

The crackdown builds on Schneiderman's original agreement in early 2012 which led to 3,500 sex offender accounts being deleted.

By CBR Staff Writer

More than 2,100 gaming accounts used by registered sex offenders in the US have been shut down as part of New York’s attorney general Eric Schneiderman’s Operation.

Schneiderman’s Operation, Game Over, is aimed at protecting children from predators on online gaming networks.

Five more firms including Gaia Online, NCSOFT, Funcom and THQ are also participating in the operation.

The shutdown of sex offender accounts builds on Schneiderman’s original agreement in early 2012, which led to deletion of about 3,500 accounts of registered sex offenders from other major online gaming firms including Microsoft, Apple, Blizzard Entertainment, Electronic Arts, Disney Interactive Media Group, Warner Brothers and Sony.

Schneiderman, warning that the Internet was the crime scene of the 21st century, said online video game platforms should be prevented from becoming 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," Schneiderman said.

"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."

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As part of New York State’s Electronic Securing and Targeting of Online Predators Act (e-STOP) law and sex offenders who have been convicted, are required to register all of their e-mail addresses, screen names, and other Internet identifiers with the state.

The data will be provided to certain websites which can prevent potential predators from their online activities.

According to a report from Pew Research Center nearly 97% of teens aged between 12and 17 years play computer, web, portable, or console games, and 27% of teens between the same age group play games with unknown people online.

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