RedZone Circles the Drain

by Pixeleen Mistral on 28/02/11 at 12:30 am

Everyone who isn’t spoofing their IP, mac, or volume serial ID… leave

Unmistakable signs of FAIL hover over zFire Xue’s controversial RedZone “security” device after Linden Lab amended the community standards Thursday to require player permission before alt account information can be shared inside Second Life. RedZone has been marketed as an anti-copybot and anti-griefing device, but many believe this was simply a pretext to create a centralized database tying player alt account identities together – and do so without the knowledge of the players being datamined.

RedZone Ad

On the SLUniverse forums, players discussed zFire Xue’s threat to move the entire RedZone operation outside of Second Life and beyond the reach of Linden Lab policy, and share alt account information with anyone interested. Mr. Xue backed away from this threat, but not before an incriminating screen capture had been made.

RedZone Outside SL
zFire "the godfather" Xue threatens to move out of Linden Lab’s reach [click image to enlarge] 

Anti-Redzone activists such as Theia Magic have begun using modified SL viewers to detect RedZone scanners, Ms. Magic appears to have caught Sweethearts Jazz Club owner Dilbert Dilweg running a RedZone scanner – despite Dilweg’s claims to the contrary. Look for a vigorous game of “hunt the RedZone probes” to play out over the next few weeks.

Arguing that RedZone is a morally bankrupt product is ItazuraR‘s instant classic YouTube video Redzone ist KAPUT

Meanwhile, on Mr. Xue’s Mad Scientist forums some RedZone owners complain that players are unlikely to opt in to revealing their alt accounts, limiting club owners’ ability to keep players running multiple avatars from entering contests or camping for L$ spacebux. Perhaps these club owners should move to a business model that includes a bit more compelling club experience than contest boards?

Unfortunately, the Lab left the door open for continued growth of RedZone and similar operations, despite player demands for a “do-not-track” option to opt out of all online trackers. This has led to speculation that the Lab is planning to enable significant user tracking from well known data miners such as Facebook.

I consulted with Plastic Duck – who has some history in evading online tracking – for how players might take a more active approach to protecting their privacy.

Plastic Duck: the biggest problem is peoples inability to do their due diligence in protecting their own information
when you’re doing things that could jeopoardize your quality of life if they ever became exposed, some mild encryption will protect you
I recently spoke to an SLer named [elided] who was suspended from her job as a [elided] after her RL facebook was linked to her SL facebook and subsequently a bunch of raunchy roleplay groups

Pixeleen Mistral: what can be done?
Plastic Duck: I see missed opportunities by Linden + other businesses if anything
clearly the average SLer is too dumb to subscribe to a VPN service and such a thing needs to be dumbed down even further, like maybe LL could start selling an SL VPN client
but at the end of the day if you want to be anonymous then stop doing things that compromise that
you need to find which side of the fence you want to sit on and stick to it, you can’t hang out with the cool kids and then get mad about your personal data being compromised when you have the freedom to hang with the tinfoil hat wearing gang
by using certain features of second life you are submitting your personal data willingly to redzone
Pixeleen Mistral: right
Plastic Duck: nothing sneaky is happening, YOU didn’t read the EULA that you agreed to
it’s all there
Pixeleen Mistral: its interesting how LL is forced to deal with this grudgingly
Plastic Duck: dealing with this sort of stuff has always been a fault of theirs
Pixeleen Mistral: this is the same thing as the Emerald datamine scandal from a year ago
Plastic Duck: it’s a known and documented use of technology
they don’t need to explain themselves
they just need to cut off the fear mongerers that are reducing profits
Pixeleen Mistral: or sell a premium service with some privacy and post a bond if the privacy is breached
selling virtual land is silly
sell privacy
Plastic Duck: maybe I will :p
like I said this stuff is trivial and I’m shocked that the people who care about privacy don’t know anything about it
we just need to take existing software, remove some buttons, add some bevels, and sell it

While the days of RedZone may be numbered, the demand for privacy-busting data mining services is unlikely to disappear, nor is the demand for privacy. Should Linden Lab consider selling a privacy-enhanced version of Second Life? Will a third party step up and provide a bundle of VPN and IP address proxies? Based on the outcry over RedZone it appears there is a market.


52 Responses to “RedZone Circles the Drain”

  1. [...] is an acquired taste, and not everyone wants to play stalk-and-ban-the-other-players, or hunt down 3rd party data miners tracking alt accounts. Of course there is always the challenge of running a [...]

  2. Shannon Marketter

    Oct 16th, 2011

    Ms Magic didn’t catch shit with her green zone crap. She only got a false positive and still to this day can not prove who owned the object
    Can she/ Nope. Just a hearsay chat spoofing moron

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