Verification redux

You know, I really shouldn’t have a problem with this. I’m plenty old enough, it’ll keep kiddies away from stuff they’re not meant to see and will be a good thing for Second Life as a whole…

Won’t it?

Well you see, it’s not that simple, not by any means. Not even slightly. The problem is the way they’re going about it. The identification they require; passport, driving licence or social security number (national insurance number if you’re in the UK). I mean, in the old days, verification was by credit card and yeah, that was naughty of them, it’s not an age check, and in many places you can get a credit card at sixteen or even younger.

But look at it this way. If you’re a sixteen year old with a credit card, then the chances are that you’re working. Though age isn’t a check, most banks like to see income before they issue a loan. If you’re one of these, then the chances are that you’re responsible and adult enough that you’d never get caught anyway.

If you’re using a parent’s card though, or an elder siblings to verify yourself, then the chances are you’re not going to miss a beat scanning the same parent or sibling’s passport, driving licence or SSN card. I mean, it takes just a few seconds to scan them and put them back. I seriously don’t imagine a requirement to send originals… do you? I mean, we’re constantly told never to give this information away except to an employer. It’s absurd to have to give it for a game, but this is what Linden Lab want of us.

OK, so that’s why it will fail in the first place. But then we have the fact that verification is via th third party site. At first, we didn’t know, but people asking finally got Linden Lab to admit it was Aristotle. You should check them out, their site makes interesting reading. Linden Lab say our data will be safe, not even recorded… Aristotle on the other hand, happily proclaim their willingness to sell collected date to political lobbyists. I’d certainly not feel happy giving them all the information they need to reproduce my identity.

So ok, I’m almost 39. I’ve been in Second Life for nearly 4 years. I became a life member in 2003, and part of my in world business is adult furniture. Many of the Lindens know me fairly well, certainly well enough to know approximately how old I am. So, should I need to pay this albeit small fee to be allowed to give my personal details to a self confessed spam shop in order to continue my own business? I think not, and I suspect from the comments both on the Linden Blog and in Second Citizen, that I’m not alone.

Someone has suggested a repeat of the tax revolts. Personally, I doubt it would work, but there is support for the idea. I say, read the comments and make up your own mind. In my opinion, we’re going to hell in a handbasket.

And that’s it. There will be a parcel level flag for “Adult” that of course unverifieds can’t enter or interact with. As someone posted, there will be a sea of 16m Adult plots advertising, nay spamming their wares, and of course, providing links to the off-site markets for the forbidden items. All that will change is that people who respect the rules will be put out of business… again.

I hear the weather’s nice in World of Warcraft this time of year…

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2 thoughts on “Verification redux”

  1. Siobhan,

    You, and everyone, needs to get calibrated on this. It Does Not Matter If This Process Works, Or Has Holes, Or Is Too Strict, Or Is Not Strict Enough.

    This development is because LL legal counsel has terrified them about financial liability from lawsuits. LL could NEVER win a lawsuit about child access to porn. So this provides LL with something they can show a judge indicating that they took steps to prevent it.

    Doesn’t matter if it works. They just have to have something to point at.

    The most important reason why someone, anyone, must not participate in this verification is you are doing the verify in order to access porn — and you will be in a database FOREVER for having done so. You should not plan to ever run for public office. You will likely never be able to work in a school as a teacher. You will likely never be able to work anywhere as a counselor.

    Robin Linden said they would not retain the data. An employee of Linden Labs, LLC said something. So what? Where is the legal document saying that Linden Labs will pay extensive financial penalties if this embarrassing data is ever compromised? By either them OR the 3rd party? Will they include their promise to pay *millions* of USD in the TOS?

    We must demand that any such promises have teeth.

  2. Mr Doodad is quite right in that it isn’t about PROTECTING THE CHILDREN. Any child with net access can find far more weird and disgusting stuff than anyone in SL could ever build with a few clicks, and there is no way of stopping that bar closing off the entire internet. And, to be honest, SL is probably one of the least likely places for adults to take advantage of children in a real sense – MySpace and AIM and MSN are going to be the venues for that because they’re more popular and “innocent”.

    But, by repeatedly pointing how stupid it all is, we do help to counteract the lies of those who are supporting this sort of enforced verification, and that does make it worth doing.

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