ALBANY – New York could soon require sex offenders to disclose which dating and gaming apps they use under a new proposal from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo on Sunday proposed expanding the state Electronic Security and Targeting of Online Predators Act, or e-STOP, which his office authored when he was attorney general in 2008.
The law requires sex offenders to disclose to the state any “Internet identifiers” — screen names, email addresses and the like — they use on social-networking sites like Facebook and Instagram. Those names are then turned over to the sites, which have removed thousands of users each year.
But the law isn’t clear when it comes to certain app-based platforms, including dating apps like Tinder and Bumble. And a court case last year found the law doesn’t require sex offenders to notify the state which platforms they use if they use their real name on a social-media site.
Cuomo’s proposal, which he is set to unveil as part of his State of the State address Jan. 8, would close both loopholes, requiring offenders to disclose the name of all online apps and platforms they use.
The proposal also would require online platforms and apps to craft policies on how they use sex-offender data from the state, and disclose those policies to their users.
Sex offenders, meanwhile, would be subject to a new crime if they misrepresent themselves on online platforms, according to Cuomo’s office.
“Our laws must keep pace with the world around us and with this measure we will help safeguard those using these web sites and apps, and stop those who seek to harm and exploit our children once and for all,” Cuomo said in a statement.
Cuomo, a Democrat, has been slowly unveiling parts of his State of the State agenda ahead of his annual speech, which will be his 10th.
His proposal would require approval from the state Legislature, which will reconvene in January.
A representative for the Match Group, the online-dating giant that owns Match.com and Tinder, could not immediately be reached for comment. Match.com does screen for sex offenders, while free apps like Tinder and PlentyofFish do not, according to Columbia Journalism Investigations.
Many social-media networks prohibit sex offenders from using their platforms, including Facebook.