Brigid Bergin, Reporter
Brigid Bergin is the City Hall and politics reporter for WNYC.
New York state is working with electronic gaming companies to kick more than 3,500 convicted sex offender accounts off popular video game platforms like Xbox and Playstation — which could potentially allow them to interact with children.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the plan Thursday, the first of its kind in the country, saying it was vital to protect the most vulnerable segment of the population from the most dangerous.
"Online gaming is not just a digital playground," Schneiderman said. "It has the potential to be a 21st century crime scene."
Under New York state law, convicted sex offenders must register all of their e-mail addresses, screen names and other Internet identifiers with the state. It is a felony for offenders to set up accounts under a false identity, the attorney general noted.
That information is then made available to certain companies so they can purge potential predators from their online networks.
This has already been done on mainstream social networking sites, the attorney general said, but this takes it a step further by including interactive gaming platforms where predators can initiate text or audio chats with players.
Microsoft, Apple, Blizzard Entertainment, Electronic Arts, Disney Interactive Media Group, Warner Brothers and Sony all agreed to purge registered sex offenders from their systems.
The companies will ultimately be responsible for purging people from their systems.
Earlier this month, a 19-year-old man from Monroe Country pleaded guilty to sexual abuse charges after luring a 10-year-old boy he met through the online video game system Xbox LIVE to his house, where the abuse took place.