Did Linden Lab’s Emerald Dev Coverup Lead To Woodbury Ban?

by Pixeleen Mistral on 19/05/10 at 12:47 pm

An attempted coverup of the leaked ModularSystems.com datamine database connecting IP addresses and Second Life avatars names may have been to blame for Linden Lab’s mass ban of the Soviet Woodbury faction and deletion of Woodbury University’s Second Life assets, according to chat logs provided to the Herald.

As previously reported, a group of Second Life client developers with close ties to Linden Lab maintained a database connecting over 16,000 avatar names with IP addresses and geo-location data at the ModularSystems web site. The database was populated by both in-world monitoring of avatars and from sign ups for Second Life accounts using the Emerald developers’ web site – and perhaps other methods.

fractured no comment
Fractured Crystal has no comment for the Herald

Under close questioning by Cam Mitchell, Emerald developer Fractured Crystal admitted to the existence of an avatar IP address tracking database during a vigorous discussion last month with some members of the Soviet Woodbury group and other onlookers. This may explain why, in the chatlogs below, Fractured Crystal is eager to point out that Cam Mitchell had received the gift of a hammer – presumably a “ban hammer” from the Linden staff. Is asking Fractured Crystal hard questions in public now a ban-worthy offense? Perhaps so.

After highlighting the ban of Cam Mitchell, Fractured Crystal warns Katelyn Manamiko that the consequences for the Woodbury faction could be severe, saying a database leak “could be considered sensitive information that some people wouldn’t want being lol released”.

Fractured Crystal/Jcool410 goes on to say that the planned public spin on the datamine was as a countermeasure to fight “griefing” on his land.

With 30 Linden Lab staff members in the database along with what may be some Linden alt accounts, Jcool and the gang seem to have a broad definition of griefing and acceptable tactics to fight anti-social behavior in the online realm. Does creating a large database populated almost entirely with what we presume are innocent residents really do anything to prevent drive-by particle spamming by troublemakers – or is this just a convenient cover story?

After switching to Sype chat Fractured Crystal/Jcool410 goes on to say, “I know what i’m describing is a bit harsh on WU but I feel its the only course with the highest probability of containing the situation, and preventing the unnecessary exposure of sensitive information about residents”. Apparently Fractured Crystal is not only working on a third party Second Life client – he is also helping make policy for the Linden governance team.

Working to further establish his thug with insider connections reputation, Fractured Crystal/Jcool410 says, “I’ve never claimed to be an angel, i’ve done terrible things in SL and I’ll probably do a hell of a lot more before i’m through but for me, the ends here justify these means”.

Is this someone you want writing your Second Life viewer software? Really?

For Linden Lab, has the end also justified the means? While the Woodbury faction is unlikely to maintain any sort of presence in Second Life after their second mass ban, the lack of action against the security and ethically challenged ModularSystems group does not inspire much confidence in the Lab’s judgement. While various Second Life mafias and factions exploit security issues in each other’s web sites, the Lab is sending a clear signal that anything goes – as long as you have powerful Linden friends. Look for M Linden to reposition Second Life as "Mafia Life" in the near future.

– Instant message logging enabled –
[12:38] Fractured ModularSystems: whats your opinion of Woodbury University (the inworld entity)
[12:38] Katelyn Manamiko: lol
[12:38] Katelyn Manamiko: hmm
[12:38] Fractured ModularSystems: also I heard Cam Scientist got a gift
[12:39] Katelyn Manamiko: the gift of a hammer?
[12:39] Fractured ModularSystems: something like that’
[12:39] Katelyn Manamiko: damn, looks like he did. I’ll have to find out if he’s back in yet
[12:40] Fractured ModularSystems: haha
[12:40] Fractured ModularSystems: anyways yeah
[12:40] Fractured ModularSystems: whats your opinion of Woodbury University (the inworld entity)
[12:40] Fractured ModularSystems: lol
[12:40] Katelyn Manamiko: well…
[12:40] Katelyn Manamiko: It’s complicated :->
[12:40] Katelyn Manamiko: There are some very good aspects, and some not-so-good.
[12:41] Katelyn Manamiko: I think what tizz is trying to do for education in virtual worlds is interesting and pretty cool.
[12:41] Katelyn Manamiko: some of the other stuff, i.e. griefing and trolling people, I could do without
[12:41] Fractured ModularSystems: ill cut straight to it, while they were playing security breach they got a database of IP/avatar correlations
[12:42] Katelyn Manamiko: ah…. interesting
[12:42] Fractured ModularSystems: i don’t know what effect that would have if released
[12:42] Fractured ModularSystems: but I think it would do far more damage to WU than anyone else
[12:42] Fractured ModularSystems: as a enity inworlkd and its reputation
[12:43] Fractured ModularSystems: entity*
[12:43] Fractured ModularSystems: I’ve already messaged Tizzy but i wanted to run stuff by you because your online and i was curious what you’d say
[12:44] Katelyn Manamiko: Well, my first question is, why were you / you guys keeping such a database?
[12:44] Fractured ModularSystems: I can explain only if you keep the explanation to yourself, as its intended to be used in a public notice if things are unable to be contained
[12:45] Fractured ModularSystems: o.o
[12:46] Katelyn Manamiko: Contained how? I thought everything was rosy… The subtext I’m picking up here is that this DB is intended to be used as dirt on who is whose alt, because that’s pretty much the only thing I know of that one could correlate from tracking IP addresses, and even then it’s not foolproof.
[12:46] Fractured ModularSystems: "Datamine (named such in humour) was a database that was initially created to correlate the IP addresses of visitors to the Emerald Point simulator after several instances of chain-alt griefing. These correlations were created through the use of the standard land media functionality in any viewer. , although these nodes were eventually removed."
[12:47] Fractured ModularSystems: it was a griefing countermeasure for my sim
[12:47] Katelyn Manamiko: okay, that makes sense.
[12:47] Fractured ModularSystems: anyways
[12:47] Katelyn Manamiko: so if that’s all it is, why are you worried about it being released?
[12:47] Fractured ModularSystems: because I cannot predict the result
[12:48] Fractured ModularSystems: also
[12:48] Fractured ModularSystems: it could be considered sensitive information that some people wouldnt want being lolreleased
[12:48] Fractured ModularSystems: however
[12:49] Fractured ModularSystems: everything I know suggests that while the result is not something I can predetermine, I think more heat would fall on the individuals who stole the database, both from us and LL
[12:49] Fractured ModularSystems: and even if the heat was equivalent
[12:49] Fractured ModularSystems: it would likely be attributed to WU
[12:49] Fractured ModularSystems: and WU is on thin ice with LL as it is
[12:49] Fractured ModularSystems: real thin from what people tell me
[12:49] Katelyn Manamiko: In the situation you’re describing, nobody would come out a winner.
[12:50] Fractured ModularSystems: lol
[12:50] Fractured ModularSystems: I am going to tell tizzy i think its in their best interest to do what they can to ensure that no such incidents took place
[12:50] Fractured ModularSystems: skype
[12:50] Katelyn Manamiko: k


second part is in skype:
[3:51:02 PM] jcool410: We’ve been approached by LL regarding this issue
[3:51:32 PM] jcool410: theyhave already been provided with the IP address that accessed our systems, which will probably not reflect well on crawlingins governance notes
[3:51:51 PM] jcool410: but they indicated they would REALLY rather this be contained
[3:52:17 PM] Kate: I can imagine.
[3:52:24 PM] Kate: Let me see if I can get tizz to come online
[3:52:37 PM] jcool410: all I can say it is really seems like even in the worst case scenario
[3:52:39 PM] jcool410: we take a hit
[3:52:45 PM] jcool410: but we aren’t the ones who take the fall
[3:55:04 PM] Kate: Let reciprocate your blunt-ness with some of my own: There’s a group called The Wrong Hands that is made up primarily of members from WU, but it’s a separate entity. This is the group that took on the JLU a while back and stole their wiki. I’m not a member of this group, I’m not privy to their discussions or actions.
[3:55:44 PM] jcool410: to do the maximum damage to TWH would unfortunately effect WU anyway
[3:55:59 PM] jcool410: I don’t expect you to know
[3:56:06 PM] jcool410: I’m just looking for your opinion
[3:56:08 PM] Kate: Probably. Most people do not make the distinction
[3:56:24 PM] jcool410: we certainly won’t be going out of our way to make one for them
[3:56:40 PM] Kate: hmm, my opinion…
[3:57:14 PM] Kate: I dunno j.
[3:57:15 PM] Kate: ugh
[3:57:24 PM] jcool410: I know what im describing is a bit harsh on WU
[3:57:53 PM] jcool410: but I feel its the only course with the highest probability of containing the situation, and preventing the unnecessary exposure of sensitive information about residents
[3:58:47 PM] Kate: There ain’t no angels on either side :-/
[3:58:55 PM | Edited 3:58:58 PM] jcool410: I’ve never claimed to be an angel
[3:59:14 PM] jcool410: ive done terrible things in SL and I’ll probably do a hell of a lot more before im through
[3:59:25 PM] jcool410: but for me, the ends here justify these means
[3:59:52 PM] Kate: The end is keeping emerald legit and shiny in the eyes of the lab, and the means is… what, destroying WU?
[4:00:02 PM] jcool410: LL knows about the leak
[4:00:12 PM] jcool410: so their eyes are uneffected
[4:00:49 PM] jcool410: the end is a: protecting my work from the fallout, b: preventing the exposure of those residents alts
[4:01:28 PM] jcool410: I get it if they want to play games, but they’ve not exactly been making distinctions between CDS , Onys, and Emerald themselves
[4:01:38 PM] Kate: Kate nods
[4:01:40 PM] jcool410: I prefer brute force approaches to problems
[4:01:44 PM] jcool410: they are being a problem
[4:01:53 PM] jcool410: Cam Scientist was a problem
[4:01:56 PM] jcool410: you get the idea
[4:02:06 PM] jcool410: and I know this makes me sound awful
[4:02:18 PM] jcool410: but I don’t really see any other options on my part
[4:03:15 PM] Kate: I can see your position. The only thing I ask is that you talk to tizz about this before making a decision of this magnitude.
[4:03:21 PM] jcool410: of course

102 Responses to “Did Linden Lab’s Emerald Dev Coverup Lead To Woodbury Ban?”

  1. [...] Update 2010-08-21 – Many see the problem with Emerald as being some of the development team members. Alphaville Herald ran an article on just that issue in April 2010, Emerald Viewer: 76000 Unique Users Could Be Wrong. Another ran in May, Did Linden Lab’s Emerald Dev Coverup Lead To Woodbury Ban?. [...]

  2. Kinoko

    Dec 6th, 2010

    I know this is kinda really old post, but in my opinion Emerald was bad, and I am glad they are gone, although I am sure they are still around doing something… Lets get out our spy stuff smirks.

    Anyways Yeah I highly do believe that Emerald Had reasons to get woodbury banned from SL, as well as JLU getting woodbury banned for exposing their Brainiac Wiki, and I do not agree with any type of Data Mining, or resident Datamining within Second Life. What JLU, and Emerald together were doing were wrong. What Skills Hak/CDS does, and what ZF Redzone does making alts done I believe is wrong.

    Today I found out that Kalel Venkman banned me from his SL Banlinks system, and why? Honestly I don’t have no Idea, maybe it is because I Imed him pissed off once about how his Brainiac Wiki Was Leaked out to the public… That is right, all abuse reports went public and that made me really angry? So It appears Kalel Venkman, and his friends are allowed to Ban anyone from a massive Network Ban system called Phantom Zone, and abuse it. Yep thats right, I wonder what he really has on me anyways, I have been rumored to have done so many illegal things in SL, so what does he really have who knows for sure but him, and his friends. There is only one slight police group I may trust within SL, because they have been really nice, and are actually trying to protect residents of Second Life, at the same time as respond to residents, which was really helpful of them helping to solve griefer problems. I honestly have no problem with Griefers getting network banned from sims, and anti grief devices, and Copybots. If a person is going to go and abuseively Copybot a bunch of creators, knowingly give away stolen content, or Grief the hell out of people then they have it comming. However if later they learn from their mistakes they deserve a chance. However this being said, a system like his that is possibly open to abuse without a person being able to view evidence, which they don’t even know what they broke in The TOS/CS, or anything, or abuse for personal reasons, then there is a serious issue.

    For example if I cussed out Kalel Venkman really bad in an IM, and he bans me from the system calling me a griefer for personal issues, just because he owns it there is serious issues, so for anyone wondering what phantom zone is, now you all know.

    Although I do like some of the New mentor groups open in SL, and as long as they prove to me to be honest, support creators, and mentor our community, I will support and give back with many thanks and such. What I will not support though is any type of abuse of such rights, which I hope never occurs in SL no matter who and what, and what I can sugguest in public to anyone even Kalel Venkman, or any other person using documenting griefer incidents, and such is that they give the user a chance to see what evidence they have against them, so for example they can register an account, and see any and all documents, or grief incidents on their accounts and such, not a dictatorship open to abuse, but a democracy and such. These reports would be kept private but the person could see why they are banned, and what trouble they are into etc.

    And just so everyone knows I never Hate Emerald, or Kalel Venkman, or anyone else. I hate what they do, I hate what Skills Hak, and what ZFire does within SL, because I believe in privacy which is why I pushed hard on all the public blogs to help push Emerald out.

    The only question is when will LL actually make SL Fun again, and actually take care of this game and patch security holes, and the way people do these type of illegal things. The constant war between Griefers, Copybots, and Creators is all destroying our community I feel, but it is also dumb, and ignorant people who allow this to occur too.

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