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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