Second Life to get country based filtering system?

25 06 2007

According to an interview with Linden Lab CEO Philip Rosedale in german magazine “Focus” Second Life is getting a filtering system based on countries.

When they talk about criminality in Second Life Philip claims that the community does govern itself in most cases without any money or other incentives involved. He then explains that Linden Lab is planning a fitering system which allows the government of individual countries to define which laws apply to their residents. As an example he mentions that e.g. Germany could define that only residents older than 18 can get in. He couldn’t tell though when it will be introduced.

Now for me there are some open questions. “which laws” to apply is certainly beyong just limiting access to minors as it also involves limiting what you can see and do in world. Limiting access to Second Life by age and country also would involve a verification mechanism which goes beyond the discussed age verification. It would mean that Linden Lab also needs to verify nationality (which is probably possible with Integrity). Moreover this verification would be mandatory and happen during registration for a Second Life account.

So a lot of questions come up here which “Focus” apparently missed to ask (instead they put again a photo of an ageplay scene next to the article with the caption “Child pornography in Second Life created a world-wide scandal”. Was it that world-wide actually?).

Reading this and having never heard of such plans before and reading the context I wonder if they haven’t mabe misunderstood something. Before that statement he talks about private island and how they can govern their estate themselves and the next sentence begins with “Therefore we want to include a filtering system into our software”. So maybe the english of the reporters wasn’t that good and they have mistaken the plans for a new abuse report system and age verification for a tool for real governments. Then again they have the example of germany and they stress the words “real governments” so maybe it is planned indeed.

In any case, I hope that somebody can clarify because these plans seem to be a bit more than just age verification.

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13 responses

25 06 2007
Ordinal Malaprop

What sort of a magazine is Focus – does it have a good record for reporting on this sort of thing?

Personally I wouldn’t trust any mainstream publication, and precious few specialist ones, to report correctly on this sort of thing, at least not to the level required for information for SL residents – so you may be right as to the misunderstanding. Even LL’s own press releases are confused.

25 06 2007

it’s sort of a weekly politics/lifestyle magazine. And of course they are not specialists in virtual worlds or maybe also web2.0 topics.

But at least it’s an interview with Philip so that’s at least a bit more official to me than just reporting based on unnamed sources.

So let’s hope to hear something clarifying from LL.

25 06 2007
» Binnenkort rechtsregels volgens land van herkomst in SL? » Second Life Crew

[…] een interview met het Duitse magazine ‘ Focus ‘ verklaarde Phlip Rosedale dat Linden Lab van plan is om een soort ‘ filter systeem’ toe te passen in Second Life waarbij […]

25 06 2007
dandellion Kimban

Yes, sure we’ll hear some clarifications from LL. Maybe Daniel have something to say that Robin will confirm stating direct opposite at the same time.

26 06 2007

Age verification seems quite inevitable. Linden Lab is currently facing a lawsuit in France (along with 10 of the country’s major ISPs) from Familles de France (a dusty parent-teacher organization) for letting minors access the service.

Outcome still pending, but LL will definitely need to address that issue, either globally, or at country level, in accordance with local laws.

26 06 2007
fresh (26 juin 07) | extralab

[…] rumeur du jour : le contenu de Second Life bientôt filtré selon votre pays d’origine ? chez Tao Takashi […]

26 06 2007

ah, interesting to get to know about different countries. I only know about germany most of the time but it’s interesting to see that other countries have their issues as well.

One issue with such a system might be that people don’t want to use a service where they first have to enter the id of their passport. It seems the same as the credit card thing back then but worse.

26 06 2007

Imagine: You are a woman in Saudi Arabia and want to connect to SL: ‘You are a woman and can not join.’ You are a male in Saudi Arabia and want to connect to SL:’ Do you want to be male or female?’

26 06 2007
dandellion Kimban

This world is screwed up, right? I mean RL world….

26 06 2007

From ‘In his interview with the magazine Mr. Rosedale also talked about the economic potential of his project and concluded that “Second Life is totally overrated economically.”‘

26 06 2007

I know, that was the other quoted thing but then again, is this news? 😉

The thing is actually how RL businesses see SL and from this point of view this is of course true. Maybe also for all those newbies trying to make quick money by sitting on dancepads 😉

26 06 2007

Age Verification should be done at the country level too. In the UK, the Gambling Act requires gambling web sites to verify the age of its customers.

Your name, address and date of birth is all that is needed as this is checked against the Electoral Register. is a company that does this.

Handing over National Insurance/Passport information is a non-starter.

2 07 2007

@Benja but if you need to do it while registering wouldn’t it be a big barrier of entry?

But I guess for those things a parcel based age verification should be enough. Then again for national different age limits in place you’d also need to verify nationality then.

Beside that it sounded as if nothing regarding that article is planned right now but Linden Lab looks into what they need to do in order to stay in business. Age verification might be enough. I hope to hear more from Linden Lab though, esp. I’d really like to know what was really said in that interview and thus how much german magazines suck 😉

But I guess I won’t get that information.

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