A bill that recently passed the Texas Senate could require sex offenders to register their online identifiers, which may include gamertags and MMOG characters.
HB 22, a bill that passed the Texas Senate yesterday, changes the state's sex offender registration policy to require convicted offenders to provide the government with some vital information about who they are: their name, date of birth, sex, race, shoe size, all that stuff you'd expect to find, but also every "alias, assumed name, nickname, or pseudonym, including a screen name, used by the person" and "other internet communication identifier."
Those categories are loose enough that they could very likely include the kind of names and identities used not just in social networks, but in online games: gamertags, MMOG characters and more.
The information will be distributed to state law enforcement and social networking sites, but could also be potentially requested by game companies, should the powers that be decide that it applies to online game identifiers. "It appears this law would apply to gamertags, although the final definition of what's covered in the law is up to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice," Chicago attorney Wesley Johnson told The Feed.
The bill has yet to be voted on by the Texas House and approved by the Governor, but should it pass, it sounds like game companies won't hesitate to get behind it (at least in spirit).
"While we don't have all of the details surrounding this specific bill in Texas or any of the implications it would have for online networks, Microsoft remains committed to abiding by all laws and providing a safe and fun environment for Xbox LIVE members," a Microsoft representative said.