New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued a press release today announcing that five additional companies including Gaia Online, NCsoft, Funcom, THQ, and one company that was not disclosed at press time, have agreed to participate in Operation: Game Over, an initiative to identify and remove registered sex offenders that live in New York state. These companies join Microsoft, Apple, Blizzard Entertainment, Electronic Arts, Disney Interactive Media Group, Warner Brothers and Sony. According to the AG's office 2,100 accounts of registered sex offenders have been purged from online gaming platforms. These numbers are in addition to the more than 3,500 accounts of registered sex offenders purged from other major online gaming platforms earlier in the year.
The initiative is possible thanks to New York State's Electronic Securing and Targeting of Online Predators Act (e-STOP) law, which requires that convicted sex offenders 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 that they can then purge potential predators from their online worlds and platforms. Operation: Game Over is the first time e-STOP has been applied to online gaming platforms.
"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. That means doing everything possible to block sex offenders from using gaming systems as a vehicle to prey on underage victims," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "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."
AG Schneiderman said earlier this year when he announced the initiative that he hoped the program would become a model that other states could use to deal with online predators using services often frequented by young children and teens.