Archive for the 'Child Protection' Category

Linden Labs Clarifies their “Ageplay” Policy

November 14th, 2007 | Category: Child Protection, Legal, Virtual Sex

In a post on the Second Life blog, Kend Linden clarifies the ageplay policy from Linden Labs, in which they disallowed depictions of and or engagement of sexualized conduct with avatars that resemble children. Specifically, real-life images, avatar portrayals, and other depictions of sexual or lewd acts involving or appearing to involve children or minors are not allowed within Second Life. In this post, they outline the three key elements that are specifically disallowed.

(1) participation by Residents in lewd or sexual acts in which one or more of the avatars appears to represent minors (or the depiction of such acts in images, video, textures, or text) is a violation of the Community Standards;

(2) promoting or catering to such behavior or representations violates our Community Standards. For instance, the placement of avatars appearing to represent minors in proximity to “sex beds” or other sexualized graphics, objects, or scripts, would violate our Community Standards, as would the placement of sexualized “pose balls” or other content in areas depicting playgrounds or children’s spaces;

(3) the graphic depiction of children in a sexual or lewd manner violates our Community Standards. Source: Clarification of Policy Disallowing “Ageplay”

My favorite part, and I quote

Of course, any images, chat or other conduct which leads us to believe actual minor children are involved will lead to swift action, including reporting to the appropriate authorities.

Now if only Linden Labs could actually find this stuff when it is pointed out to them, maybe they can actually give this policy some teeth. Here is the video from Sky News that shined a light on some of the seedier things going on in Second Life concerning child avatars.

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AgeLock An Alternative Identity Verification Plan for Second Life

November 01st, 2007 | Category: Child Protection, RL Meets SL, Security

I just received a press release announcing the Agelock system an alternative to the identity verification system from Linden Labs. They say in their press release that the Aristotle system not only violates their privacy and is too intrusive, but that it actually breaks privacy laws in several countries. AgeLock is supposed to allow residents to take responsibility for their actions, here is how it works.

The way it works

A land holder or content creator sets our scripted unit on their land. As new visitors arrive, they are scanned and checked against our database. If the avatar name is not already in the database, the avatar is addressed by the system with blue pop up windows.

The initial pop up window warns the avatar that there may be adult content in the area and that if they do not wish to, or are not legally permitted to view adult content, they should leave the area. If the avatar selects the option to remain then they will see another blue pop up window requesting that they input their real life date of birth and declare that they are of legal age to view adult content.

This information, avatar name, real life date of birth given, and acknowledgement of responsibility, will be added to our database. Once that is done, the individual will never be asked to go through the process again and will be cleared to access any land that uses the AgeLock system.

So an avatar visits, let’s say the Forum sim for example, they go through the system once, then when they visit another sim, owned by someone else, using this system later, they will not need to go through it again, they will already be in the database.

The ONLY real life information this system requires is the resident’s real life date of birth. More information than that is never needed, as the more important statement is the declaration that the resident is entering the adult area with full awareness and releasing land holders and/or content creators from any liability.

If it is discovered at a later date that a resident has lied about his/her age to bypass the system, it does not matter because it has been established that he/she was properly warned and given every opportunity to leave. It basically negates any “innocent victim” argument. Source: AgeLock

Remember how the Linden Labs announcement started out? We want this for the company we deal with, Linden Labs, they just seem to want the opposite.

Trust is the foundation of any community. And one cornerstone of trust is identity. You’ve got to know something about the person you are dealing with before you can trust them. Knowing who to trust in an online environment presents unique challenges. Traditionally Second Life users have based their trust on relationships built over time, and often on some basic verification such as ‘Payment Info on File’.

They want everyone to trust a third party with our information, but just mention it briefly to start.

Further to Ian Linden’s recent blog post about Grid stability, I’d also like to reassure you that this system has been developed by a third party and has not detracted from essential bug fixing efforts, which we realize are key.

Of course many, many people objected to having to give their info to another organization, especially one like Aristotle, check the quote from this blog post, that shows three different circumstances in which they fail as age verification system, like not actually keeping minors out, selling the info to others and combining info from other sites, lists and cookies.

So, what’s the big deal? It is, after all, public information, although somewhat difficult to obtain. Well, you see, Aristotle combines its voter data with supplemental information purchased from other data vendors. The result is an Orwellian blend of personal profiles that would make the savviest of marketers blush. Data fields include the typical name, age, gender stuff, along with not-so-typical info on car makes and models owned, estimated income, party affiliation and voting history, employer and occupation, home ownership status, and whether or not the individual has an “ethnic surname.” But that’s simply not suitable for the insatiable folks at Aristotle. Now they’re panning for real gold: data that’s been garnered through cookies online.

According the NY Times piece, “In the last year, Microsoft and America Online backed away from proposals by Aristotle to mesh its voter data with information Internet users give to Microsoft and America Online when registering to go online.” Source: You didn’t really think Integrity/Aristotle would be a good company, did you?

Sounds like a company I want to get hold of my data, and I wonder how much they already have? AgeLock is definitely worth checking out as it only needs your birth date, so that is something at least. The sim they have listed has a little both you walk into to try it out, all it asked me was I old enough, I agreed and I had to enter my birth date and then it said I was verified. Now, I realize this in no way guarantees that it will keep children out, but, it does give the owner the benefit because the person had to actually verify they were old enough, this is to protect adults and it goes on to say the protection of the children belongs to the parents. Which I agree with, most things should be difficult for them to do, but I should know what my kids are doing while online.

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Pedophilia in Virtual Worlds

October 31st, 2007 | Category: Child Protection, Discussion, Legal, Virtual Sex

Updated october 31, 2007

I have to ask this question, even though it creeps me out to even think about it, but is pedophilia really possible in Second Life? One would have to say yes, because it is entirely possible that a youngster playing an avatar could have sex with an adult playing another avatar, but, if you stick to avatars that have payment info on file, that should prevent it from happening accidentally.

But, what about people who are looking to have sex, even if it’s virtually, with children? Since the US Supreme Court removed the virtual children clause, Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, the federal definition requires that an actual child exist, so, for right now, I don’t think by the letter of the law that it is illegal if two adults engage in the activity, it’s certainly sick, but I’m not going to get into all that.

Linden Labs has made it known how they feel about child pornography, which is certainly more applicable, I’m just not sure how animations or cartoons would fit into that category.

Linden Lab’s stance on child pornography

Linden Lab has absolutely zero tolerance for depictions of child pornography within Second Life. We were outraged to see the images that ARD showed us, and will cooperate fully with any legal authorities that choose to investigate the individuals involved in such activities. Child pornography is, of course, illegal and as such is a breach of our Terms of Service. It goes without saying that anyone engaged in this activity will be permanently banned from Second Life, and subject to legal consequences.

What are the consequences?

We simply will not tolerate the depiction of sexual or lewd acts involving minors in Second Life.

If Linden Lab learns that someone is engaging in, advertising or promoting locations or activities involving the depiction of sexual or lewd acts involving minors, their account will be terminated, and we will fully cooperate with all appropriate authorities.

If a Resident possesses or distributes real-world pornographic images in Second Life that appear to involve minors, their account will be terminated and their details provided to real-world authorities, as has always been our policy. Source: Accusations Regarding Child Pornography in Second Life

Lowell Cremorne did some looking around when this first came about from Linden Labs, and in his post here, you can see the kinds of child like avatars that came up when he searched for child, I’m glad he blacked out that first one, brrr.

Which brings me to the whole point of this post, a blog post from the Second Life section of Reuters says that the UK is going to investigate pedophilia in virtual worlds, they will be looking for depictions of adult-child sex and trying to track down the pedophiles.

But the UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) said Second Life isn’t being specifically targeted. “Our interest is wherever on the Internet children are,” a spokeswoman told Reuters. “We place officers into a number of virtual worlds.”

The CEOP takes a dim view of age play, even when both avatars have confirmed their identity as consenting adults. “Why would a 56-year-old man masquerade as a 13-year-old child? That’s something that would concern us,” the spokeswoman said. Source: UK to investigate pedophilia in virtual worlds

That concerns me as well and I hope they can find and eliminate them all from virtual worlds and real life for that matter. So, maybe the US doesn’t consider it illegal, the UK seems to think it is, and if I can help in anyway I certainly will.

This is kind of interesting as well because while I was checking out the sim, The Legend of Autumn Hollow, this child avatar came in and was looking around, eventually she came up to me and we started talking, which was weird to start with, but when she asked if I had a girlfriend, I bet my jaw hit my desk, I didn’t know what to say, but she kept on talking and eventually said he sister needs a good looking guy like me. I felt a little better after that and we actually ended up working together some and finding some of the items in the treasure hunt, she was kind of cute, she did not go out of character, talking like a child the whole time, skipping around and asking silly questions, but it was certainly a moment I will never forget when it comes to Second Life and another reason I would rather no child avatars be allowed inworld at all. Thanks God she didn’t hit on me!

A post at Techcrunch, Virtual Pedophilia Report Bad News For Second Life discusses Virtual Pedophilia in Second Life, and I am amazed at the commentators who say it’s okay as it’s two consenting adults, sure, that may be true if this happened in their own homes, but this is a virtual world where anyone can see it, sure there are some restricted areas, but if you can get into the area, you can pretty much watch anything happening with the camera. It would be very easy for a child to register and end up seeing this type of stuff, depending on what they search for, kids, children, etc.

I wrote this before I read and watched the Sky News report, but now that I have seen it, I am even more disgusted, the areas they have setup are swing sets with child avatars swinging on them, talk about trying to make it look like real life. I just added the video below.

“Wonderland is a virtual children’s playground where pedophiles cruise and kids are solicited,” said Farrell.

“At first site it looks like a real-life playground.

“Here child-like avatars are not just playing on swings - they’re offering sex. These are virtual children of all ages - even toddlers.

“After talking to one child I was offered a range of sordid and sick sexual acts.

“My avatar had entered a virtual pedophile ring. Obviously, I declined the offers and reported my disturbing findings.” Source: Perverts Use Virtual World For Fantasies

Wonderland needs shut down, it’s no wonder that almost every newbie I saw and talked to coming into Second Life in the CSI area the other night mentioned, hookers, sex or having fun, that’s all they think we do inworld.

Warning: The might not be considered safe for work, although I don’t think anyone is naked.

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Debate: Is it appropriate to be a child avatar on SL?

October 18th, 2007 | Category: Child Protection, Debate, Legal, Virtual Sex

By Stone Culdesac

There is going to be a debate at 8:00pm SL time and the topic is Is it appropriate to be a child avatar on SL? I don’t think it’s appropriate at all to play a child avatar in Second Life, even in role playing situations; this is just one of those taboo things I think Linden Labs should just outright outlaw. I have seen some freaky stuff in Second Life, some things you just want to take your brain out and scrub it down real good, so I know there are probably some situations where child avatars are being used in ways that are illegal in real life, so, if there is a chance that someone could see something bad going on with a kid, why even take the chance that it could happen?

I think I have read more bad stuff about people being worried about animal avatars than I have child avatars, and there has been talk about banning bestiality in Second Life because it is illegal in many states, while others think it’s okay since there is no real animal involved. Check out these images of stuff that has been going on in Second Life with animal avatars and human avatars, Animal Love in Second Life Warning: NSFW! But, I guess it all comes down to what you believe, and I don’t believe I want to even have the chance of seeing some adult avatar doing anything to a child avatar. Nuff said.

I will probably check this out, at least there will be someone thrown to the pit at the end. ;)

What: Debate (Moderated) - Is it appropriate to be a child avatar on SL?

When: Oct 18, 2007 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm (Thursday)

Where: sLiterary Second Life

Tags: Education Elealora Writer learning Second Life sLiterary

Description: Moderated by Sodovan Torok, the new host for our weekly Thursday AVATAR vs. AVATAR debates, our moderated debate series put two strong debaters head to head in battle over words and words only until the end. AVATAR will meet AVATAR on debate night, and… we’d start off from there.

TOPIC: Is it appropriate to be a child avatar on Second Life?

The LOSER will be kicked off the floor, to freefall onto the ground roughly 30m below at sole discretion and mercy of the WINNER after audience and moderator announces verdict. Or, the audience might decide to put both AVATARS on the pit and slow-roast ‘em alive.

Complimentary drinks and hors d’oeuvres served.

Second Life URL.

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Child Protection Software for Second Life?

August 20th, 2007 | Category: Child Protection

This sounds like one of those ideas somebody has while they are drinking, but maybe I am just misreading it. Beatnetworks and TUV tekit are forming a contest in which users add-on to a simple script that they have already created, to create an open source tool to control avatar access to content without having to send any information to a third party. The winning entry, picked by the TUV tekit, will get a TUV certification, be available for deployment across the grid, and the winning designers will have access to the real world public relations and media coverage that will come about from the contest.

Talk about user created content, sounds like a heck of an idea, lets make a contest where users create our product for us and we’ll figure out how to monetize it later.

Here’s how the contest works. We are starting with a simple script, which is being provided open source. Individuals and companies can add functionality to the script. The TUV tekit will judge all final entries, and select the best for deployment across the grid. To participate, visit the SL TUV tekit office (landmark), grab a copy of the script and the contest rules, and submit your final entry back to the TUV by September 15, 2007.

The TUV is the premier certification group for ISO 27000 standards, is based in Bonn Germany, and has been doing product quality certification for nearly 150 years. Beatenetworks is an immersive web integration company based in Germany. The winning entry will get a TUV certification, and the winning designers will have access to real world public relations and media coverage courtesy of the TUV. Source: Childprotector Software for Second Life

I will post the Second Life URL as soon as I go in world.

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