A bill that passed the Texas Senate today would change sex offender registration regulations in the state so convicted sex offenders would have to provide law enforcement with each “alias, assumed name, nickname, or pseudonym, including a screen name, used by the person.” Presumably, the law includes gamertags, twitter user names, facebook names, and other public online identifiers.
The additional information would not be made public but would be available to law enforcement and social-networking sites, and presumably, video game companies. This gives companies the ability reject people from joining based on their inclusion on the list. The bill, introduced by Sen. Florence Shapiro, is headed to a vote by the Texas House, and should it pass, the governor’s desk.
Chicago attorney and video gamer Wesley Johnson said, "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."
We’ve put in a call to Microsoft and Sony to find out what the companies' policies are regarding these types of non-public databases, and how it would affect membership on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. A Microsoft spokesperson issued the following statement:
“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.”
I haven't heard back from Sony on the issue yet, but when I do, I'll pass the word on to you.