by Pixeleen Mistral on 31/08/11 at 2:16 am
Prime Minister of Antiquity: "It is the responsibility of Linden Labs to take action immediately"
Former allies of the Justice League Unlimited are taking pains to distance themselves from Kalel Venkman's vigilante gang as revelations of an apparent on-going program of Second Life player stalking and black ops continues to unfold. Over the weekend I was lucky enough to interview Jacon Cortes, the Prime Minister of Antiquity - a well-known and respected 17 sim estate. I learned that Antiquity leadership, after being frustration by the lack of Linden response to abuse reports had turned to the JLU for help -- a move that they now regret.
In the interview Prime Minister Cortes called for a Linden Lab investigation of the JLU gang. Cortes slammed the JLU's actions and denounced "the collecting of any type of personal data, IP harvesting, or maintaining any personal files on avatars, period. There is no gray area here. It is against the Linden Labs TOS and its manner of secret collection is very troubling. If Antiquity had been aware of the harvesting of information, we would never have allowed the phantom zone to even be tested on the limited bases that is was within Antiquity".
The full text of the interview:
pixeleen mistral: I understand you are the Prime Minister of Antiquity, a large estate which was listed here http://thelistsl.blogspot.com/2011/08/jlu-patrol-routes.html as one of the JLU patrol routes in a recent leaks from the JLU wiki. Do you support the actions of the JLU?
Jacon Cortes: Yes, I am the elected Prime Minister of Antiquity, a 17 sim estate of pirates, courts and Victorian themed areas. I was as surprised as anyone about the extend of information that seems to have been collected by the JLU. Initially, we did support the JLU. It was the understanding of the Government of Antiquity, that their core mission was to protect our sims from griefer attacks, which we had seen an increase of on our estate and provide basic tactics to protect ourselves from more attacks. No one in Antiquity, including myself, knew or would have allowed any of these sort of actions to take place with in our lands.
pixeleen mistral: Why are the Antiquity sims listed as JLU patrol routes? Were they invited to patrol the Antiquity estate?
Jacon Cortes: Antiquity, in late 2009 I believe, was referred to the JLU to assist in training our Sim Administrators on basic tactics for protecting us from griefer attacks. The Parliament of Antiquity passed a motion to allow training of the Administrators and Estate Managers and a limited deployment of their system as a test. The training was held in the Parliament Chambers for the Administrators and sim owners.
After the training, I volunteered Antiquity Texas and Antiquity Keys, to test the phantomzone system on before deployment to the rest of the Sims. Antiquity Texas only had the phantomzone active for a few days, Antiquity Keys...was deployed for longer, maybe 3-5 months. After that period, the system was removed and not used again.
The JLU did not patrol within Antiquity. The Government of Antiquity and the Sim Administrators did not want outside groups to have Administrators rights in the Estate so the involvement of JLU in Antiquity was limited by the motion approved by the Parliament. At the time, as Prime Minister, we were grateful for the training and support given to us by the JLU. As a way of thanks, I offered the JLU an office in our Capitol, to place their group information and a display. At about the same time, Redzone had also made an appearance in Antiquity. The regions where it was deployed, were contacted by residents, and informed them of the problems surrounding Redzone, its tactics and implications it had on the Linden Labs TOS. The Redzone was removed by the sim owners as soon as the problem was brought to our attention.
pixeleen mistral: What is the position of the Antiquity government on the harvesting IP addresses, maintaining databases linking player alt accounts, and maintaining dossiers on players' real life information as many believe the JLU has done?
Jacon Cortes: If it is indeed what has happened, I can speak on behalf of the entire Antiquity Community, its Government and its Administrators. We fully denounce the collecting of any type of personal data, IP harvesting, or maintaining any personal files on avatars, period. There is no gray area here. It is against the Linden Labs TOS and its manner of secret collection is very troubling. If Antiquity had been aware of the harvesting of information, we would never have allowed the phantom zone to even be tested on the limited bases that is was within Antiquity. Our community is very diverse and inclusive. We respect the privacy of all residents and visitors in Antiquity. I would like to assure all residents of Second Life, that Antiquity does not support, condone, utilize or allow these types of privacy intrusions. It will not be tolerated in Antiquity in any manner.
pixeleen mistral: Is there a role for vigilante or "police" groups in Second Life such as the Justice League Unlimited and **Police Department**?
Jacon Cortes: Vigilante justice is never a justified course. It is the rule of law, fair and equal justice for all, that make a civil society strong and flourish. Freedom of expression and the ability to live your life, with dignity, respect and privacy. These are the foundations for creating a place that allows the opportunity for everyone to achieve what they dream.
That being said, it was by necessity that we had to look for outside help. Antiquity had been plagued by griefing attacks. Incidents were documented, photos taken and abuse reports were filed with Linden Labs. No visible action was ever taken that we were aware of. The lack of any type of action by Linden Lab is what forced us to look for alternative ways at security. The JLU, we believed, provided useful information on basic steps that could be taken to help control the problem. This service, I could see playing a useful function by groups such as JLU and the Police Department.
The problem I see is that there is no real time in-world Linden Labs response. There is no Linden Labs training on how to protect a sim from attacks. An abuse report may be submitted, but its hours or days to get a response if any at all. It is almost disheartening to be submitting a report to Linden Labs as your sims are disrupted and griefed, knowing, that action, if any at all, will be hours are days from the actual attack.
pixeleen mistral: Do you think Linden Lab will take action over this matter? Should they?
Jacon Cortes: I believe it is in the corporate interests of Linden Labs to investigate this matter to the fullest. All residents of Second Life have to be assured that their privacy is protected at all times. Any doubt in the ferocity of the enforcement of the privacy terms as set forth TOS, could cause doubt and apprehension, and in turn possibly spook potential new residents from coming in. If it is confirmed that the harvesting of private data did take place, it is the responsibility of Linden Labs to take action immediately as we have done in Antiquity.
pixeleen mistral: Is there anything else you would like to tell say to the Herald readers? What have I overlooked?
Jacon Cortes: Since its foundation in 2007, Antiquity has been an active and welcoming community in Second Life for all. The community, Government and Administrators were not in any way aware of the collection and harvesting of personal data on our sims. We would never have allowed it in any shape or form. We pride ourselves in making a community where your free to live your life as you wish, with out the fear of your personal information being revealed. The reason many of us are here is to live our SL in the manner we choose, secure in knowing, our privacy is protected. This in turn allows us, to explore and express ourselves to others, sometimes in a way, not possible in our real life.
I would like to take one final moment to invite all the Herald readers to visit Antiquity and be assured that your privacy is protected. We are a community of hard working, honest and immensely creative residents. We do live our lives in a period of time, that allows for the citizens of antiquity and its visitors, to enjoy the best of times passed. The core function of the Antiquity Parliament, is to ensure that all our citizens and visitors rights are protected and defended.