Op/Ed: Philip Linden’s Folly

by Pixeleen Mistral on 09/05/07 at 12:54 am

How the hell did we get in this mess?
The Linden’s proposed faux verification system and the wanton selfish destruction of innocence

by Inigo Chamerberlin

Inigo_portraitI intended writing this as a simple expose of just what Aristotle/Integrity is, using public domain information harvested from the ‘net. However, I’ve been overtaken by breaking news. It’s made this very difficult to write, difficult to try to write objectively. All I can say is, I’ve done my best.

Regrettably we now have the revelations about the so called “Age Player” investigation by the German authorities, linked to, if I can believe what I’ve been told the German media have revealed, the actual distribution of paedophile material in SL.

Both are unacceptable to me I’m afraid. The so called “Age Play” thing has always creeped me out – and no justifying arguments thanks, it just creeps me out, OK? Paedophiles using SL to distribute their material in SL? That is unacceptable anywhere, any time. There is no justification on God’s earth for that. Every picture, every frame of video represents the wanton selfish destruction of innocence.

And THIS is where the decision to remove any form of verification has led Second Life.

I can’t crow over the vindication of the views of the large number of residents who opposed Linden Lab in that decision. Not if it’s come to this. However, I DO still feel that the proposed “verification” system represents little but a desperate CYA move on Linden Lab’s part.

What’s worse, I can’t see it being effective. It was used by Anheuser-Busch, and as far as I know they are the only adopters thus far. And to say it wasn’t an unqualified success is a gross understatement.

Effective – that’s the key here. It’s not going to stop anonymous paedophiles using Second Life as a place to distribute their wares. The only thing that might do that is Philip stepping down from his original ridiculous insistence that “anyone” should have access to Second Life, without having to identify themselves.

“Integrity” IS NOT going to do that. I’m not going to make comments about the people involved, I don’t need to, check out the material below and you’ll see what I mean.

I believe that returning to the previous system, where you had to submit a valid credit card and RL contact data to even sign up for an trial, which served Second Life well for several years is the only solution at present.

In addition I believe that a Pay-Pal like system of verification where your identity is linked to a RL bank account and verified by funds being transferred would strengthen the certainty of being able to link an AV with a RL person. And that, being imposed as swiftly as the system can be put in place, might be the only real effective answer to the mess Linden Lab has created.

One thing I’m furious at is the way Linden Lab has attempted to shift all liability to its residents. Now we finally have some idea – if the reports now surfacing in the German media are true – what that was all about, what they were proposing to do to us.

Declaring that residents would henceforth be legally responsible for all activities occurring on their land.

All comments on the subject being locked.

Linden Lab going silent on the subject.

Knowing what was happening.

There is a word to express my feelings at that behaviour – contempt.

Well, they can run away and hide in a corner – the standard Linden Lab reaction when things go wrong, or they screw up. But this time it won’t suffice. This time action is needed. Rapid and effective action. Or they might as well pull the plug right now.

Below are a series of quotes/urls concerning Aristotle Industries – the parent company of Integrity, the company that Linden Lab has chosen after careful consideration to obtain personal information from us to “verify” our age and personal details. To cover their asses – they imagine.

Should anyone doubt the connection between Aristotle Industries and Integrity, simply visit their URL – http://aristotle.com/ There, got the picture? Now, read and click on and make your own mind up.

URLs with my brief comments should be quite sufficient for anyone to connect the dots. If anyone doubts the probable fate of any personal information imparted to Integrity – look no further than:

Aristotle Industries, sells voter files on compact disc, diskette or paper copy. Includes phone numbers and demographic info. Order from 1 precinct to a full state. Aristotle also sells campaign management software. 205 Pennsylvania Ave. Washington DC 20003 1-800-243-4401


They have been playing the same games in the UK too: http://www.secinfo.com/dV179.51Ec.4.htm

Here’s an instance of proposal that Aristotle supplied Voter Database information be sold on and the Federal Election Commission response to that proposal: http://ao.nictusa.com/ao/no/910034.html

Interesting stuff here. Is this how LL found them? Or did they find LL? – see the list of Major Associations for Computer Engineers http://www.edasolutions.com/Groups/ComputerEngineering.htm

And on this list of Mailing Services in Washington, D.C., who do we find? None other than:
Aristotle Industries
(202) 543-8345 205 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Washington, DC

So, if someone’s to lazy to do their own mail-shots, based on the data Aristotle sell them – they’ll even do the mail-shot for the customer – nice: http://www.thecityofwashingtondc.org/mailing/index.html

In this UK Government sourced PDF, John Aristotle Philips tells the UK Government the way they should frame gambling laws – completely unbiased suggestions on his part of course, no vested interests there at all.
OK, so, how would Americans react if a Brit tried the same thing in Washington I wonder?

And thanks to “TT” for this gem which first encouraged me to see what was out there:

Aristotle International used a website to sell the lists, which contain details about registered voters from nearly every state. The data includes birth dates, home addresses, phone numbers, race, income levels, ethnic backgrounds and, in some cases, religious affiliations. Although voter-registration data is a matter of public record, 22 states have laws restricting the purchase or use of voter lists. Yet, Aristotle based in Washington, D.C., sold lists to anyone who wanted to buy them.“


This was Aristotle jumping on the spam bandwagon back in ’97 – worked REALLY well, didn’t it?

Aristotle Industries has struck a deal with spam king Cyber Promotions to launch a free service on Monday that lets any registered voter block unsolicited bulk emails, and penalizes promoters that misuse the information. The Washington, DC-based is putting some teeth in the program by establishing a US$1 million “performance bond” that will hold promoters liable for non-compliance, and compensate consumers whose email addresses have been misused.“

Is it just me, or does Aristotle.com seem rather keen on Insurance, Guarantees and “Performance Bonds”?

Interestingly, Linden Lab’s problem – of their own making, remember the introduction of unverified accounts on 6/6/06 – with Integrity is popping up all over now — I know Philip’s a bit of a media whore, but there are limits to the sort of publicity a company like Linden Lab really wants I feel – check this out:http://www.brokentoys.org/

Is THIS really the path Linden Lab wants to go down? Funny, Integrity’s web site doesn’t mention the twenty three attorneys general, though they DO mention the Anheuser-Busch deal – which incidentally appears to be the ONLY customer for their web access age verification system so far – can’t think why, can you?

“We chose Aristotle because of its experience in implementing cutting-edge identity verification systems that work quickly,” said Tony Ponturo, vice president of Global Media and Sports Marketing, Anheuser-Busch Inc. “Aristotle’s Integrity system will enhance our ability to admit only those adults of legal drinking age to our beer-branded Web sites.” – While now twenty-three attorneys general have written to the brewer criticizing the company for not having better tools to screen underaged users:http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2007/02/19/bud-tv-king-of-controversy

So, there we go, a few hours trawling the ‘net and we come up with quite a few items, news stories and items of record from the US and the UK – none of which seem paint a picture of a wholesome, friendly, trustworthy data handling company to my mind. Of course, that’s just MY personal opinion of them – and that of twenty three attorneys general.

What do YOU think?

I have a message for Philip Rosedale.

If you think Aristotle/Integrity is going to save your ass – think again!
You got Linden Lab into this, now you are going to have to get it out.
No attempted shifting of liability, no ineffective “verification system” is going to do it for you. It’s time you did your job for a change. Good luck. Because I’d like to see Second Life continue, if it’s still possible under these circumstances.

42 Responses to “Op/Ed: Philip Linden’s Folly”

  1. Obscure Doodad

    May 9th, 2007

    I’ve already been vocal about this on the other thread. The only new thought I have to add on this matter relates to this Op/Ed’s issues about liability shifting.

    I really don’t see how LL imagined that this was going to fly. ISPs all over the US are not blamed for what passes through them, but SL is not a mere conduit. The textures that would constitute the transfer medium of illegal images are SL constructs. The textures are stored in the SL server database assigned to the resident. The resident doesn’t own the database — SL does. SL is thus much more than a mere conduit. They are the storage venue.

    This is the fundamental difference between peer to peer transfers and Napster of a few years ago. Napster stored things. The things were copyrighted. Game over. Well, SL stores this stuff. They are not a mere conduit like an ISP. They can’t escape liability for what goes on in world by making a blog announcement that landowners have the liability and not themselves. That is just ridiculous and it’s mind boggling that they sat around and persuaded themselves that it meant something. All the proclamations they can ever make are not going to change who are the targets of the lawsuits for civil proceedings, or the targets of prosecution for criminal proceedings.

    LL needs to just put this whole age verify thing on hold and get their heads on straight. Personally, I see no way for them to avoid funding a team of Lindens to patrol the grid and police it. But . . . we’ll see.

  2. Petey

    May 9th, 2007

    Doodad has a point. The second LL stops acting like a common carrier and begins to act as a content blocker I think they lose significant legal protection.

    Plus, you think most already skitting SLers–people who already are attempting to escape from this world–will be willing to identify themselves to a huge information aggregation company?

    No chance that Joe Schmoe wants “Second Life Resident, Furry” next to “white, male, Fairfax VA” on his rap sheet.

  3. BOX-Cutter Harry

    May 9th, 2007

    Heh when are you guys going to wise up and see what Linden Labs really is? Go back to playing WoW. You’ll get more out of your credit card…

  4. Prokofy Neva

    May 9th, 2007

    I find this article incoherent, and just downright stupid, Inigo.

    So Aristotle sells voting lists? You need to be able to buy voting lists in a democracy, duh. Non-profits as well as politicians buy lists. Duh? Like that’s evil? How else can a group like Sierra club or a group like moveon.org which you probably support reach audiences? Your ignorance on this is profound, if you think there’s something inherently evil about mailing lists being sold. There isn’t.

    And…you have proof that Linden Lab has encouraged/allowed/enabled this? Of course you don’t. Whatever you say about them, they do swear by the privacy of their customers’ lists. They would not sign up for a deal that would enable the sale of such lists.

    I never believed that of them, despite all the shrill hype here and elsewhere, and now Daniel Linden has clarified it for those who went and asked:


    and from the notoriously odious Second Citizen:

    Robin & Daniel Linden Answer Age Verification Questions
    Read the entire thread, there’s a lot there, specifically:

    “[10:12] Daniel Linden: it’s vaulted to provided a government-required audit trail for two years, but neither Linden or Integrity can access that data unless an audit is initiated.
    [10:12] Laetizia Coronet: How can we be sure?
    [10:12] Daniel Linden: Nothing can be sold, shared, or even viewed.

    >Funny, Integrity’s web site doesn’t mention the twenty three attorneys general, though they DO mention the Anheuser-Busch deal

    This issue is unrelated to the issue of Aristotle and its list, and raising it is illogical and specious.

    There is nothing “faux” about this verification list.

    These Europeans with their anti-American frenzy you can see in the thread with Daniel and Robin on SC, referenced by Tao, should look back at their own media’s frenzy about ageplay in SL, and take responsibility for their own paranoia, and not displace it on to American mailing list houses.

    Seriously, Iningo, your lack of faith in your freaky hippie liberal NPR-listening Birkenstock-wearing Linden friends and their ability to hate the Man and fear exploitation is really unbecoming. Of course they have these concerns and work them out in the deals they make.

    Effective – that’s the key here. It’s not going to stop anonymous paedophiles using Second Life as a place to distribute their wares

    I disagree. Once every land owner has to face responsibility, they can decide whether they want it or not.

    What I see happening here is a huge amount of grotesque infantilism in SL. So many people want to indulge in extreme lifestyles but don’t want to take responsibility before any community standards or RL law regarding those choices. They want LL to net-nanny them and take the rap for them and protect their fantasy bubble forever. It’s childish and pathetic.

    If you want to become involved in hardcore explicit sex and violence, fine, don’t make Linden Lab provide a screen for you.

    Of course there will be problems with definition, and what’s more than likely in the killer SL atmosphere, hateful and vindictive score-settling by people using this new requirement as a means of griefing, like like ARs for swearing in PG.

    Please, Inigo, stop just childishly googling around and picking up stray flotsam and jetsam of paranoic fretting about this company which isn’t at all the smoking gun you imagine, and even if it somehow is in some states or something, isn’t being used in the manner you imply by Linden Lab.

    And stop personalizing it to Philip, as him doing his job or not doing his job, as community management isn’t really his job, it’s Daniel and Robin’s job, so deal with them directly on it. Those who have, even this sick fucks of SC, have gotten answers.

    Karsten Rutledge summed in up with this comment on SC:

    “Linden Lab: Stuff.
    Linden Lab: Wait! FACTS!
    Second Citizen: Oh, well, that’s not so bad. Carry on then.
    Linden Lab: Yeah…see you next time.”

  5. Prokofy Neva

    May 9th, 2007


    Inigo, seriously, you need to get a very big grip.

    This article is from the year 2003. It makes allegations — of the type you make — from a hip, tekkie type of publication — Wired — with the usual background of hatred and suspicion of anything having to do with mainstream politics in representational democracy.

    They always like to make out like there’s some evil plot to buy all votes and buy all politicians, and they hammer away on that meme merely as a way of undermining democracy as a system.

    This article has some journalists deliberately try to trip up the system by deliberately registering fake people and buying lists. So…they created the crime that they then reported on. That’s protected in the Red Lion Food judgement, but it’s still fairly unethical, IMHO.

    So, they uncovered this vulnerability. In this incident. Four years ago. Which you are dredging up by Google witch-hunting around trawling for “stuff”.

    The company responded saying they had procedures and safeguards. I don’t see any repetition of this type of incident, tripwired by journalists with an axe to grind in a tendentious publication designed to pick away at the political process that enables candidates that they don’t like to get elected.

    There’s so much anti-intellectualism and yahooism going on here, Inigo. What’s really your beef? That you are being verified? or verified by this company?

    Most people in the SC thugs’ gang and roques’ gallery seemed mollified once the Lindens said they didn’t plan to sell the lists nor allow people to sell them. Of course, you have a chance to go OMGODZORZ the evil government is requiring this data be stored, but frankly, go and try to get at something like that, it isn’t as easy as these two journalists, four years ago, found out for Wired.

    Ultimately, what is the gripe here? that your employer will find out that you frequent BDSM play dungeons in SL and dress up in leather and latex and flash whips around on people who may or may not be women or even children? Well, ok, understood, but then that’s something you simply have to take responsibility for. If you find the prospect of your wife/girlfriend/employer/local newspaper/parish priest/the government finding out about your activities as terribly embarrassing and compromising, then…ratchet them back? Don’t do them? Take more precautions? I dunno, it’s not my problem? Seriously. It is not.

    If you think this behaviour is fine/dandy/not a problem/don’t care/justified/not worried if wife finds out/etc. then…stop fussing about the very very very remote liklihood that a) this company will sell lists that b) that they will end up in your employers’ hands?

  6. KR

    May 9th, 2007

    The logistics of implementing this are all but impossible. It’s really going to create a shitstorm of fun!

    For example what if you have all of your available land holdings deeded to a group? If that land is now flagged adult and you choose not to verify, you can’t even get onto your own land. How are LL going to arbitrate this? Will groups be forced to give back land to people who deeded it before this came into effect and who don’t now wish to become verified? Ok, so that would be fair from the point of view of the individual, but possibly terminal for the group or project. Or will the individual just effectively lose a tens or hundreds or thousands of bucks worth of land?

    This and a dozen other scenarios I can think of are going to be veeeery interesting to watch. Have you REALLY thought about this, LL? Are you sure?

  7. Anonymous Avatar

    May 9th, 2007

    Spying activity in Bushland has increased enormously and the US spies are very keen on European data.

    In the Bushland the number of government sponsored spies exceeds the number of people worth spying. Pentagon alone spies 2000 peace groups. Expect similar activity in SL too. The spies usually just get some extra income from their activities and have some other primary job, like journalist or police officer.

    NSA can spy without any reason/ warrant any discussion/ group which involves at least one non-US-citizen. And if there is not any non-US-citizen present, they can invite a friendly foreign agent to join the group.

    It is completely possible that LL is being paid for each data record provided by Aristotle/ Integrity, depending on the country of the resident.

    In crime cases it is usually sufficient to track the IP address of the suspect. Often that is mandatory to collect enough evidence.

    At the moment Linden Lab does not operate under German jurisdiction. The office in the UK operates under the UK jurisdiction, but they might not have access to Linden Lab data about crimes which occur in California.

    Linden Lab was slow to publish population statistics which showed that the majority of the users was there where the majority of the world market is, instead of North America. Linden Lab has mental difficulties in dealing with global export markets and I assume that they do not do well in Europe because they do not comprehend the market. Making the weak choice of opening an office in the UK underlines their cluelessness.

    Just in case if anybody would care about cyber crime in SL. To me it seems that criminals have made 6 or 7 digit incomes of USD during this year in SL.

  8. Prokofy Neva

    May 9th, 2007

    >Spying activity in Bushland has increased enormously and the US spies are very keen on European data.

    Um…yeah? And that’s because..why? They have committees that determine the standards for the 23 kinds of cheese in each of the EU member states? Or? What exactly does “Bushland” need to scrape from the Europeans lol?

    I’m reminded of why I never debate RL topics with people in SL, they are just such mediocre minds, it’s too much of a time suck.

  9. TJ Ay

    May 9th, 2007

    Ahem an interesting Idea is coming from “Obscure Doodad”. All content is stored on Linden Lab Server. So in reality they are responsible for the content ??

    I am, as land owner, can only try to make my shop owner follow the rules (ahem which one again??) but they are maybe sitting in Holland, California, Brazil and Australia.
    AND they ALL store there stuff on Linden Computer.

    The first thing I am going to do, once I ever get sued, is to covert the lawsuit to Linden Labs, because they are the culprits who are storing the information, not me.
    I have nothing on my computer.

    And do I really have any information which I can trust that the visitor on my land is not a Minor ? I have to trust LL here that they have a system in place that allows me to see the age of an visitor, cause in different countries we have different restrictions (that is why they call it WorldWideWeb).

    For right now I only have the TOS which clearly states that all residents in SL need to be 18 or older. Thats the only thing I need to know. Everything else is something between two (as the TOS say’s ) Adults and it not my moral obligation to do anything to check that again.

    And yes, I have seen the TV-Spot in Germany about Child Porn in SL, it is not the IN-World Ageplay what sucks, it is that exchange of REAL LIFE pictures of Raped and Abused children.

    THAT IS PISSING ME OFF !! And that Linden Labs does not find a way to prevent it ??

    TJ Ay
    on “Kreiss” & “Ebersberg” with the Salsa Club “Salsa en Cielo”

  10. Darren

    May 9th, 2007

    Prokofy: You said “So Aristotle sells voting lists? You need to be able to buy voting lists in a democracy, duh. Non-profits as well as politicians buy lists. Duh? Like that’s evil? How else can a group like Sierra club or a group like moveon.org which you probably support reach audiences? Your ignorance on this is profound, if you think there’s something inherently evil about mailing lists being sold. There isn’t.”

    You cannot buy voter lists in Canada, and its illegal to use them for any non-electoral purposes. I’m not even sure if individuals standing for election can obtain the lists.

    And, last time I checked, Canada is a democracy.

    So, there are obviously some concerns around voter lists and privacy. Some Canadians obviously feel that there may be something wrong with buying and selling voter lists. You’d be wise to do some more research before using terms like ‘ignorance’ quite so freely.

  11. good

    May 9th, 2007

    I’m glad that LL are getting fucked over with this, the publicity is only going to get worse. They should have taken action a long time ago.


  12. Spankubux

    May 9th, 2007

    “Because I’d like to see Second Life continue”

    You’re a fucking liar, Inigo, in addition to your complete paucity of writing ability or journalistic acument.

  13. Spankubux

    May 9th, 2007

    Mental note, don’t type while angry at shitlickers like Inigo.

  14. Daryl

    May 9th, 2007

    “Regrettably we now have the revelations about the so called “Age Player” investigation by the German authorities, linked to, if I can believe what I’ve been told the German media have revealed, the actual distribution of paedophile material in SL.” – Inigo

    Link? I don’t understand German at all so something English would be great if you have it.

  15. shockwave yareach

    May 9th, 2007

    I think that the issue becomes a legal definition of SL. Is SL a common carrier, or Web3d as Phillip wants it to be? Is SL a game, as me and my friends view it? Or is it server farm with lots of webpages on it?

    If it is a common carrier or a server farm, then the creators of the content are liable for its legality and not LL. Much like the phone company isn’t liable if you cuss out the Police dept. over the telephone. Let the legal smackdowns, if they come, fall on the people who violate the law and not on the people who just happen to rent out the place to them.

    If it is a game, then the issue becomes cloudier. Who wrote the game? For the most part the content of SL was created by the users themselves, not LL. LL simply created the interface – users created the game. So again, a case could be made that LL functions just as an ISP. This view is more complex but I think a case could be made for it. If SL is a game that LL wrote however, then no amount of weaseling or TOSing will protect it from Justice’s steely grip and its KY of law.

    I do disagree with the direction LL has taken SL lately. With its multiple single points of failure, SL is not even remotely ready to be viewed as the next web interface. Making it so anybody could use it for free and with no consequences for illegal activity has made it a haven for troublemakers. I also object to the notion that only adults are allowed to use the next generation internet – what, kids will have no homework in the future? But just as Time Warner isn’t liable if someone stores illegal materials on their website, neither should LL be liable if someone does the same on theirs. And also, as an ISP is required by law to report illegal activity when it is discovered and take it down, so too should LL.

    Treat Second Life as an ISP and hold the users responsible for their actions and content. All these problems vanish. You had to validate and pay when you got your broadband connect, so validating and paying for this ISP shouldn’t be a problem. The main objections I have to the current approach to validation is what data will be asked for and who is getting it. I’ll give a CC (platinum) and maybe, under duress, a license number. But ask for my SSN or any part of it, and LL can kiss my ass (and my money) goodbye.

  16. Inigo Chamerberlin

    May 9th, 2007

    shockwave – I don’t think Linden Lab can be called an Internet Service Provider as that term is normally used. ISP is used to indicate the provider of the user’s link to the internet, and their responsibility ends with their equipment. I.E. if they provide ftp or news servers, the content of them IS the ISP’s liability. But if a user moves on and uses the rest of the ‘net to connect to a facility of ‘dubious content’, that is NOT the ISP’s liability, it’s the provider of the third party facility.

    Whether SL is a game or a ‘platform’ doesn’t matter. Linden Lab’s problem is their insisting on keeping everyone’s inventory on their servers (when they aren’t loosing stuff) to the point even of refusing to provide a local(to the user) backup facility.

    Everything in Second Life, AV’s, skins, shapes, genitalia, RL CHILD PORN IMAGES WHICH WEREN’T CREATED IN SL, everything this row is about in fact, is stored on Linden Lab’s servers – by their choice. It was also their choice, which quite a lot of us protested, to extend this storage facility to huge numbers of people they have no idea whatsoever of the identity of. This was not accidential, not a bug – it was a reasoned (disasterously poorly in my opinion) decision by the company.

    They have created this problem. The challenge now is to come up with a system that will enable them, and/or RL investigators, to determine the identity of the people they have let use their systems.
    The original proposal of a half baked ‘adult’ area tag scheme, with verification of adult status by Integrity, and then attempting to make the residents legally responsible for activities carried out on their land was a crude panicky ‘CYA’ attempt by them.

    It won’t serve. Something far better organised and solid is required. As I said originally, the PayPal model for verified accounts would be far superior.

  17. Inigo Chamerberlin

    May 9th, 2007



    It’s in English and outlines the facts concisely.

  18. Inigo Chamerberlin

    May 9th, 2007

    Bah! Brain going – that last should be ‘Daryl’. My apologies Daryl.

  19. Obscure Doodad

    May 9th, 2007

    One more point. My understanding is textures are never stored on a home PC. Objects are associated with a key. The key is sent to the LL server and the object corresponding to it is sent from the LL storage medium to the PC for display on the screen.

    Without the key, LL likely cannot find a single object among the terrabytes or petabytes of storage they have accumulated. They would have to fund the time of many engineers to comb through all objects to find them. It might take years.

    This means . . . it is highly likely that right now, this moment, LL is in possession of the illegal images the Germans found. This is a criminal “act”. Possession is a crime.

    Now, the issue is . . . a prosecutor has to produce evidence of such a crime. If LL can’t find the photos, neither could the prosecutor — but one that was hellbent to pursue the matter could confiscate all the hard drives, shut LL down, and spend the necessary manpower to find the images — at which point prosecution of Linden Lab, LLC officers would begin.

    But this is not likely. More likely the prosecutor tells them to get the images destroyed and gives them 48 hrs.

    Wow . . . this is really ugly.

  20. Rusties Dagger

    May 9th, 2007

    “…from a hip, tekkie…” I lol’d. Prok will always be the best at pulling proks.

    Plastic Duck: Hi, it’s plastic, lol.
    Plastic Duck: Wait! FACTS!
    Prokofy Neva: Oh, well, you’re still a filthy griefer. Continue your gridcrashing.
    Plastic Duck: Yeah… grief you next time.”

  21. Obscure Doodad

    May 9th, 2007

    I just went through the transcript on SC containing the discussion with Daniel and Robin Linden, and Philip showed up to ladle on assurances.

    Unfortunately, the attendees were far too easily mollified.

    Essentially what was said is all the data is secure at Integrity , except for a 2 year retention required by the government. The data is not to be revealed and that security requirement is “enshrined in the contract”.

    Think carefully about this. The data is there for 2 years. It can be subpoenaed or accessed by background investigation for two years (background investigations by a government (not clear if any state’s government suffices). The company certainly would not refuse to comply with a subpoena, which is how divorce atty’s access.

    But of more interest here is “enshrined in the contract”. So what? If your personal data is compromised and your presence in the Perv Database is revealed, the only remedy is LL’s. You aren’t protected by a contract. Only LL is. And to sue LL has to demonstrate that they are the damaged party. They aren’t. You are.

    LL needs to put their own liability in this matter in the TOS. You have to be able to sue LL. If you win and take millions from them, then LL is a damaged party and can go try to recover their losses/damage from the broken contract with Integrity.

    This transcript is entirely too smooth. It did not address the issue of protection of residents. It was very congenial and reassuring and it means absolutely nothing. LL has to place their own liability explicitly in the TOS. Chatlogs are not going to impress a court if you are ever tarred with the admitted perv brush some day.

  22. Darren

    May 9th, 2007

    Inigo: Thanks for that–I think I understand the issue. I’m just responding to Prokofy’s allegations that nobody in a democracy would worry about the buying and selling of voter lists. I know it’s tangential to the actual story, but I figured it was worth correcting him (or her?).

  23. Big Dave

    May 9th, 2007

    Hmmm…. The data is vaulted for 2 years and requires an audit to access the data. I think the question of verification is getting mixed up with the question of identity and data integrity. If you have been verified, it will show on the front page of your profile. Linden already has a valid credit card or paypal account for all property owners, they have to to pay tier fees. If I were trying to get information on an avatar and some form of activity, it is much easier to simply get the billing data on the av from Linden with the appropriate legal document. Switching to an identify yourself by credit card would generate a record of who was paying for the service, but does not identify the age of the person. My 14 year old on teen charges to my credit card, and I suspect I could get my child a card on the account with the child’s name on it.

    If every property owner signed up, including those who own property in PG sims, I would guess this would be a good portion of those who use SL. Linden already can identify who pays the bills for this av. The data base would primarily be the land owners, and that would be the reason you signed up. Worrying about a current or future employer being concerned about adult status is probably bogus. If you are a property owner, you need to simply state you changed all your property to mature TO PROTECT YOURSELF and had to be verified to maintain access. A picture of your av could be generated with the name above doing almost anything, there are lots of people on SL who could pull this one off, along with a shot of your unverified profile. This would probably be far more damaging and harder to explain, other than it was faked. Linden is trying to make you responsible for your content on their servers, whether this would hold up in court is anyone’s guess. I do know that a large service like AOL has all of their email on their servers until it is downloaded, and I have never heard of them being sued over kiddie porn or whatever.

    And just for the record, I find kiddie porn creepy, these guys need help. To quote the response of my av to a profile that listed rates for sex acts “I wanted to go home and take a bath”.

  24. Obscure Doodad

    May 9th, 2007

    Dave, it’s about money. AOL funds an effort to screen the content of their database for this material. If they find it, they turn it over to law enforcement who go after the email acct, but “turn over” means they do a destructive read. After they give it to LE, it’s gone from their own servers.

    Get focused on this. LL does NOT WANT TO SPEND MONEY. They won’t fund the effort to screen their own content. They won’t fund an escrow account dedicated to eventual legal fees for their own liability. They probably won’t even fund liability insurance — because any insurer that walked in the door to assess risk and quote a price would learn what’s going on and just laugh and walk away.

    Funding this stuff would slow profit growth (assuming they have any after this disaster with child porn hits the mainstream). The investors in SL put up money to earn a profit. Rosedale may be an idealistic visionary wannabe, but the people who are private shareholders and fund the company want a profit. They want it big and they want it now, or yesterday.

    SL doesn’t want to fund the effort to police their own content, but I personally don’t see an alternative. The court will not be impressed with an age verification process that is not mandatory and does nothing whatsoever to screen for upload of illegal photos.

  25. shockwave yareach

    May 9th, 2007

    Inigo: Your view that “all the items are in SL servers, so SL is the criminal” doesn’t hold up well under scrutiny. For one thing, having a child AV is not itself illegal, anymore than the marijuana-leaf wings I sometimes wear are. Neither are all the naughty bits. So what texture, image or animation that occurs in their (ugh) ageplay can be called illegal?

    You are refering to the RL kiddy porn the perverts brought in with them? Okay. They had to upload the pictures from their own harddrives. Does this mean Western Digital is likewise guilty? How about Comcast, since the data had to go through their network to reach SL? LL can no more monitor every image that goes in and out of its network than Sprint can. So I’m more apt to consider SL as a network service and worthy of the same protections, and for the same reasons. If LL has to approve every image that goes into it, then so should every other webpage provider on the Internet.

    Go after the perverts with RL images, certainly. But don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater (pun non intended). Go after the criminals, not the general populace they are hiding behind. You don’t get rid of an open window by blowing up the house. All you have to do is close the window.

  26. Big Dave

    May 9th, 2007

    As an aol email user, I suspect I could send an encrypted image to someone, and aol would have no easy way of decrypting the image. I chose aol because the volume of mail they handle almost guarantees that images are not screened and would not be unless in response to a court order. If it came to that, Linden could probably go through an inventory in response to a court order, all they would need is the name of the av linked to a person.

  27. starcomber Vig

    May 9th, 2007

    The dust SEEMS to finally settle if what Reuters reports is true,


    LL has been quiet, very, backpedalling and on damage control mode, which is, Phil is not giving up. He opened the floodgates and he knew well this was just a ticking bomb. We can only hope that LL will be able to help justice on this nasty matter and show that they have tried and more so in the future.

    Once somebody presentable is selected we’ll talk about this issue at large and, I hope, with no comment-limiting or censorship on the LL blob. Nothing upsets me, my staff, my firm and my clients more than secrecy and childish moves.

    Daniel, there’s always another chance to get rich. For now, if I am allowed to suggest, LET PEOPLE TALK, CLASH, SUGGEST. In no other way you are going to win 6M ppl to back LL on a red hot issue such as verification.

    Be smart.

    Next time you’ll get your lil’ contract and we’ll all smile.

  28. JimBean

    May 9th, 2007



    don’t you people ever get tired of the sky falling?

    good grief – just SHUT UP already.

  29. Obscure Doodad

    May 9th, 2007

    So Integrity says there is no contract and in their experience may not be one. How interesting.

    I don’t quite see why a contract between LL and Integrity provides any protection whatsoever to a resident whose data is provided to a subpoena waving divorce lawyer, or a elementary school background investigation to see if you’re fit to be a teacher, having asked for adult verified access to what will soon become known as a den of child porn.

    LL is going to have to lay out explicit LL liability if that data is ever revealed BY Integrity. Otherwise, residents have no recourse. If the data is released, LL is not a damaged party and can’t sue under the contract. Even if they wanted to manufacture some claim of damage to their reputation with their customers, they will have to pay legal fees, be uncertain as to winning, and probably would just shut off those legal fees and drop the case after they thought they had gained whatever good will possible by announcing the suit. You, a resident, have no contract with Integrity to claim was breached. You are powerless. LL knows this. If you try to sue LL, LL just says that they did not release the data and are not responsible for what Integrity does.

    If LL is serious about the well being of its customers, they will lay out their own liability in the TOW for an Integrity release of data. We’ll see.

  30. Prokofy Neva

    May 9th, 2007

    >I don’t quite see why a contract between LL and Integrity provides any protection whatsoever to a resident whose data is provided to a subpoena waving divorce lawyer, or a elementary school background investigation to see if you’re fit to be a teacher, having asked for adult verified access to what will soon become known as a den of child porn.

    Where do you find evidence that such data can be subpoenaed from a private company like Aristotle? That’s really imaginative.

    And if you don’t want to be seen at all ever in any compromising position, you have to reconcile yourself to the fact that somewhere, somehow, your second life activities will come to light, one way or another. Live with that. This company is likely the lease way it will come to light, in my view. What’s much more likely to happen is that some former SL friend or lover or enemy or chance griefer is likely to blackmail you.

  31. Obscure Doodad

    May 9th, 2007

    It may help you understand if you spend some time studying the applications of Subpoena Duces Tecum.

  32. Anonymous Avatar

    May 10th, 2007

    I own the information produced by me and thus it is very weird that somebody suggested that my information, like an entry on voter list, can be sold by a third party. Yes, it can be sold, but only by me. Have I understood right that American anarchists (libertarians) are mentally commies seizing private property? :-)

    The EU is the most important economic area in the world, as you have noticed in SL, and Bushland’s spies are mostly fishing information from Europe for commercial spying. It is not uncommon to meet CIA agents in international business in Europe. Most of the trade restrictions originate from the USA or from 3rd world.

    Linden Lab has taken steps to confront the privacy and tax laws of its most important market area. I assume you know nothing yet about the tax problems. LL does say that they do not conform to the EU privacy laws, but legally that kind of statement is useless.

  33. idiftl

    May 10th, 2007

    Join the Patriotic Nigras today, wrecking Second Life since 2006!

    Website: http://www.patrioticnigras.com
    Forums: http://forums.on.nimp.org/

  34. Gaius Goodliffe

    May 10th, 2007

    “I believe that returning to the previous system, where you had to submit a valid credit card and RL contact data to even sign up for an trial, which served Second Life well for several years is the only solution at present.”

    I believe it’s time to wake up and smell the 21st century. CC “verification” is no better than no verification at all, because that’s precisely what it is. These little plastic cards are getting to the point of almost replacing cash entirely. Anyone can get one these days, including minors. It’s getting easier and easier to get one with less and less information required to do so. This wasn’t even close to being a valid verification system a year ago, and it’s even further away now, and getting further every day. Once they stopped being “credit cards” (the majority of them these days are debit cards and the like), and became as near ubiquitous as they are now, they stopped being any more useful for verification as asking someone to send you a dollar bill. The fact that they could put a dollar bill in an envelope and send it to you don’t prove who they are or how old they are, only only proves that they had a dollar. Nowadays, they can give you a 16 digit number, and it proves just as much, i.e., almost nothing.

  35. Prokofy Neva

    May 10th, 2007

    >I own the information produced by me and thus it is very weird that somebody suggested that my information, like an entry on voter list, can be sold by a third party. Yes, it can be sold, but only by me. Have I understood right that American anarchists (libertarians) are mentally commies seizing private property? :-)

    Once you cede it to a company, depending on their TOS, you no longer own it. But you’re making a bid deal out of nothing. Delete the spam, throw out the junk mail, put your answering machine on, welcome to modern life.

    Anarchists are the communists, always thinking they can obtain everything for free, that nobody’s labour ever has to be paid for through profits.

    >The EU is the most important economic area in the world, as you have noticed in SL, and Bushland’s spies are mostly fishing information from Europe for commercial spying.

    How poorly the Internet-educated get on in life. Europe, especially Old Europe, is aging and dying economically. Asia is the powerhouse, and Eurasia, and Latin America, and Latinos as a population in the United States. Not Europe. Germany may be the wealthiest country in the world but it cannot project its power in the way other powers can. Europe fills up its countries with immigrants because it’s own aging and unionized and socialist population can’t or won’t do the work required for modern, open economies — and that’s a good thing, except for the religious and culture clash inevitably spawned by the hastiness of the change.

    Bushland has no need to spy on Europe, which is dying, changing, and has no competitive economies, if in fact there even is a Bushland that engages in commercial spying; what’s more the real issue is that Bushland exploits new EU members from the old captive nations group to place their black detention sites in the war on terror. If you’re going to be paranoid about Bushland, at least pick real issues, and not fake issues.

    >It is not uncommon to meet CIA agents in international business in Europe. Most of the trade restrictions originate from the USA or from 3rd world.

    This is one of those meaningless Internet statements that comes from a poorly educated anonymous avatar or a trained operative placing propaganda on sites.

    >Linden Lab has taken steps to confront the privacy and tax laws of its most important market area. I assume you know nothing yet about the tax problems. LL does say that they do not conform to the EU privacy laws, but legally that kind of statement is useless.

    There are no precedent cases yet to establish the law, so anything you’re saying is mere speculation, and uneducated speculation at that.

  36. Miraren Firefly

    May 11th, 2007

    It’s become, unfortunately, all too blindingly obvious to me that, no matter how sound the arguments made in favor of ageplay are, very few people will listen. An unfortunate logic loop happens with these sort of taboo topics: people gross out and stop listening. Their reply to any and all arguments is “BUT IT’S GROOOOSSSS!!! Destruction of innocence yucky wrong etc.” They never stop to think: why do they consider it gross? Is their argument logically consistent?

    Ageplay has got nothing – absolutely NOTHING – to do with pedophilia. Allow me to explain how this works.

    Ageplay, as i refer to it here, involves psychological age regression. That is, the “little” in the interaction allows their inner child to surface and take over. The “little” seeks – and, hopefully, gets – nurturing, love and care from the “Big” or “Daddy” (or Mommy) in the relationship. The little may dress up in childish clothing, play with toys, and so on. It’s important to note that this is completely different from “spank me, daddy!”-type roleplay. Ageplay is distinct from age roleplay in that one is letting one’s inner child out, not playing a role.

    Here’s where it gets complicated: In real life, at least, ageplayers are usually in some sort of romantic relationship. Let’s not forget, also, that what is happening inside the little’s mind is still happening inside an adult brain, and therefore has an adult decision-making capability, adult libido and an adult sense of romance. It’s not all that surprising that sexuality would get mixed up in it, considering that the ageplayers, when they’re done with the scene, are likely going to sleep in the same bed; in adult-mode, they probably have sex.

    This does *not* mean that most RL ageplayers have sex while ageplaying; according to my estimation, the majority do not. Many simply cannot get over the psychological block of “OMG SIMULATING PEDOPHILIA!!!!” Those who do are usually in an established, trusting long-term relationship, and are doing so with great psychological care. i can’t speak for the whole ageplaying community, but according to my experience, this is how things typically happen. Ageplay is meant to be a happy, warm fuzzy, healing and nurturing experience at its core – not a simulation of pedophilia at all.

    Reinforcing this is the fact that even the mention of pedophilia – in fantasy *or* in reality – sends shivers up the most disciplined ageplayer’s spine. Many will fume at the mention of it; many are parents themselves. In online communities, it is usually fairly easy to tell if a newcomer is looking to play out pedophilic fantasies, and those people are typically spurned viciously by the community.

    Now, that being said, what happens IRL and what happens in SL regarding ageplay are different beasts entirely. i have seen many “ageplay” interactions in SL that struck me as entirely inappropriate, either on the level of psychological danger or on the level of bordering on immorality. i have never ageplayed in SL for this reason. In my mind, this is something that should be done with the utmost love, care and caution, not recklessly with someone you meet and talk to for a couple minutes on the Internet.

    Also, most of these people seem to be performing age roleplay, not actual ageplay. This is a different – and way creepier – beast, and i do resent that they are calling it “ageplay.” It is directly and primarily sexual in nature, and bears very little resemblance to the ageplay i know.

    On the whole, i do not like or approve of most of the things being done in SL under the guise of “ageplay.” However, none of it is illegal, and none of it deserves to be banned. The mob mentality that has formed around this subject is absolutely frightening and disgusting, and is to be feared at least as much as the object that the mob mentality has formed against.

  37. Inigo Chamerberlin

    May 11th, 2007

    >>Miraren – the issue now is not specifically ‘age play’ practitioners.

    It’s RL child porn merchants IN Second Life. They have been using the ‘age play’ scene to attempt to sell their ‘products’, uploading and displaying samples to prospective customers in world.
    If you’d read the mainstream media reports before posting you’d have known this.

    This has placed Second Life and Linden Lab in an incredibly precarious position. Firstly there are the legal ramifications of Linden Lab hosting such content on their servers. Then there are the associations this activity has attached to Second Life as a product.

    Frankly I could care less about the ‘age play’ crew right now. They can be dealt with at leisure. What matters now is saving Second Life. The issue is THAT serious.
    The only way I, and many others, can see of resolving that is by accurately and positively identifying every user of Second Life and limiting access to those who can be identified in future, should the need arise.
    The point that that will also settle the under age issue is neither here nor there.
    What is essential now is that any AV in Second Life must be securely and positively linked to a real life person who can be held responsible for their actions in Second Life.
    It’s not that difficult, PayPal manages it.

  38. Michael Fairplay

    May 11th, 2007

    This whole debate is descending into the depths of stupidity. The Supreme Court has already held age players are doing nothing against the law. all smoke and no fire. Lindens have way better things to do than to pander to people that have nothing better better to do than to push morals on everyone else. To the people griping, they wouldn’t know anything like this was going on unless they are LOOKING for it. If it offends people so much then don’t subject yourself to it. The Lindens need to take a sensible line on this. Unless it has to do with real world child images to stay out of it and do their jobs and fix grid problems and take care of griefers.

  39. Miraren Firefly

    May 12th, 2007


    When it comes to actual child pornography, i, along with every ageplayer i know, condemn it thoroughly, outright, and with vicious, unwavering impunity, and it does chill me that child porn peddlers seem to have found a market within the ageplay community in SL. However, it remains that ageplay, even at its worst and least psychologically functional, is not and never will be child abuse. As Mr. Fairplay said, it is “all smoke and no fire.” If there is someone being abused, that someone is not a child. i think it is awful that LL, in their efforts at ass-covering, have chosen to sweep the ageplayers into the dustbin along with the child porn.

    i would really hate to see Second Life go, i really would. i have been in Second Life for almost three years, and have gotten an absolute ton of value out of it. Like any long-time resident, i have seen the doomsday bell rung many times for SL, and have rung it once or twice myself. i love Second Life. The fact remains, though, that i love it more as a concept than as an implementation.

    i’d say that most residents would probably agree that they’re only in Second Life because it is the most successful implementation of the metaverse concept so far. Like early successful implementations of any revolutionary computing concept, SL is heavily bogged down by various limitations that put a large gap between what it can do and what it may potentially be able to do. i have for some time privately predicted that SL will, before long, go the way of Netscape, Ultima Online, and so many others – it will be overtaken by vastly superior competitors, and will be written in the annals of history as the Hallowed Original, the first successful implementation of this amazing idea. Perhaps, like Netscape, its guts will be salvaged, improved upon, and reinvented into an open-source application (a la Firefox). Perhaps, like UO, it will live on in an eternal twilight, largely abandoned but not forgotten. What is certain to me is that the metaverse technology itself will be reinvented, improved and resold to coming generations of Internet denizens, and i don’t doubt that there will probably be fierce competiton between virtual world providers somewhere along the road.

    What i hope is that this sort of technology can eventually be turned into a free and open standard a la the World Wide Web, and can be implemented in a manner such that private companies can build upon the base standards set by a standards committee a la the W3C. In other words, a virtual world that has shed all vestiges of gaming and has become much more like the Metaverse envisioned in cyberpunk novels.

    Hopefully, somewhere along the way, a John Stuart Mill-style maxim of “total freedom except in cases in which those freedoms are causing direct and grievous harm” can be engineered into the standard platform of the Metaverse.

  40. Syd Loon

    May 12th, 2007

    here is a link to a petition against the age verification if anyone is interested


  41. TJ Ay

    May 14th, 2007

    Ahem, in a few hours, one of the largest private TV-Station in Germany (RTL 22:15 German Time) know for there “Yellow Press” attitude is bringing another SL-ChildPorn report.

    Titel : “Brutale Welt: Kindesmissbrauch und Folter in “Second Life”.
    Warum die Justiz machtlos ist.”

    loosely translated to

    Title : “Brutal World: Childmolesting and Torture in ‘Second Life’.
    And the reason why Justice is helpless”

    That will bring the news to much more people who have no idea of what SL is (usually called Main-Stream, or Pop&Mom). The whole thing is going to run out of control.

    Linden Lab, I think this is too late, that you can do anything anymore. Wait a couple of weeks and then see Islands like “Mercedes” and “BMW” and other German Companies closing. That will be the beginning of the End.

    And still nothing in the Blog of Linden Lab, nothing, since Thursday.
    Get up people, you can not stick your head into the sand and wait until it is over.

    TJ Ay
    (sorry for my bad english, smile.)

  42. archie lukas

    May 18th, 2007

    UK data protection Act would make it illegal to sell customer information.

    However if they get you to sign a disclaimer telling you that the data will be held in the US, where they have no respect or laws for data privacy – you are basically shafted.

    Spam was a US initiative

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