A bill under consideration by the Texas House of Representatives may require convicted sex offenders to register account names at online gaming networks with law enforcement authorities.
As HB 22 is currently written, the measure would seem to encompass online gaming venues such as Xbox Live, PlayStation Home and Second Life. However, no specific reference to online gaming appears in the bill, which has cleared committee but has not yet been taken up on the House floor.
In fact, a stricter interpretation of HB22 might preclude sex offenders from places like XBL and SL entirely. That’s because the bill bars sex offenders from using the Internet to access commercial social networking sites. Such a prohibition which might reasonably be extended to encompass the increasingly prominent social aspects of online gaming venues.
With an increasing number of pedophile arrests stemming from contacts made via online gaming venues, expect to see more bills like this going forward.
At this point, HB 22 has passed neither the Texas House or Senate. Its next stop will be the House floor. If it passes there, the Senate will take it under consideration.