Operation: Game Over deployed in New York, removes sex offenders from gaming networks

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman this week joined forces with Microsoft, Sony, and other online platform operators to ban or severely cripple over 3,580 gaming accounts tied to registered sex offenders within the state. The initiative, dubbed “Operation: Game Over”, represents the first time existing sex offender identification laws have been applied to video game networks.

“We must ensure online video game systems do not become a digital playground for dangerous predators. That means doing everything possible to block sex offenders from using gaming networks as a vehicle to prey on underage victims,” said Schneiderman in his press release (via Joystiq). “I applaud all the companies participating in this first-of-its-kind initiative for taking online safety seriously and purging their networks of sex offenders. Together we are making the online community safer for our children, not allowing it to become a 21st century crime scene.”

Though not listed specifically, Microsoft, Sony, and Apple’s inclusion in Schneiderman’s release indicate the database purge involved Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, and Apple’s App Store. Other industry supporters include EA, Disney Interactive Media Group, Warner Brothers, and Blizzard Entertainment.

“At Microsoft, we continually evaluate ways to manage safety for our 40 million Xbox LIVE members and particularly for children on our service,” said Rich Walls, Microsoft’s VP and Deputy General Counsel. “Our partnership with the Office of the New York Attorney General helps further this cause. By leveraging the online identity information all registered sex offenders are required to provide, we are able to help reduce potentially harmful situations. We’re supportive of Attorney General Schneiderman’s efforts to make the Internet, including online gaming environments like Xbox LIVE, safer for everyone.”

Given the amount of big league support behind Operation: Game Over, it could be only a matter of time before other states employ similar online measures. What do you think of the New York Attorney General’s purge?

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