Friday, September 2, 2011

Justice for all in Second Life?



Some disturbing revelations have surfaced recently regarding a "citizen watch group" in Second Life called Justice League Unlimited, which allegedly has been collecting the personal, real life information of SL residents they view as "griefers."

You may have seen them before patrolling the grid -- specifically, public sandboxes -- wearing superhero costumes. If you'd like to read more about their alleged activities, a summary thread is available at SL Universe, as is the massive 300+ page originating thread. Additional coverage can be found at the Alphaville Herald and Search Engine Watch.

Among the allegations leveled is that the JLU has a private wiki which contains intelligence on residents -- from both their "First Life" as well as their Second Life -- who may or may not be members of griefer groups. The "private," "secure" wiki has been compromised at least twice, mostly recently last month -- it remains unclear whether the wiki was hacked externally, or if there was a mole within the group itself that leaked the information.

I am writing about this issue now because as an SL resident of three and a half years, I'd never really heard of this group until recently. And I am concerned about the consequences of the JLU's actions.

Now I have fortunately only been the target of griefing, or the witness to griefing, a few times during my Second Life experience.

In each instance, I used the tools which Linden Lab provides residents to report abusive behavior of other residents -- whether that be the official LL Abuse Report system, requesting the assistance of Estate Managers on private sims, banning people from my parcels, or simply muting them.

And each time I have had no further problems with the resident or any objects created by that resident.

But apparently this is not a typical resident experience -- at least according to anti-griefing groups like the JLU. No, according to them, as SL residents we are all in serious danger of being stalked and harassed by nefarious griefer groups who reside in Second Life solely to make us all miserable.

Let me back up for a moment and be clear: I don't condone the serial harassment and stalking of SL residents, including "outing" the alts of SL residents, creating alts to further harass specific residents and circumventing account bans, or breaching SL resident privacy by publicly connecting their real life identity to their SL identity -- which, BTW, are all against SL Terms of Service. (More on that later).

But "griefing," as subjectively defined by the JLU, is a pretty broad spectrum of objectionable behaviors -- even something as simple as disagreeing with them (which for U.S. citizens, is a First Amendment right) -- in fact, by my writing this, I'm very likely now listed in their logs as a griefer, if you can believe that.

My definition of griefing is obviously far removed from the JLUs: When residents are purposely disrupting the livelihood of SL merchants and land owners, that's griefing -- oh, except most people call that copybotting, not griefing, which is a far greater disruption to the grid than self-replicating penises.

Before all this information became public, I probably would have welcomed a group that was devoting time reporting copybotting to merchants and to Linden Lab.

So why doesn't the JLU monitor alleged instances of copybotting? That would be a far greater service to the SL community. That absence of concern would seem to speak to the collective mindset of the group's membership... their "policing" methods are more closely aligned with those of totalitarian regimes than it is a selfless effort at true community service.

Obviously residents desire and deserve security on the grid. But it is simply not the job of any "citizen watch group" to be policing the grid. That should be LL's job.

While there is disagreement as to whether LL may or may not be providing adequate tools or support for some residents to protect themselves from abuse, that isn't tacit permission for any resident, or resident group, to be monitoring and reporting the activities of other residents.

There is also disagreement, however, as to whether Linden Lab is aware of -- or condones -- the activities of the JLU, and others. There is no longer an LL staffed Governance group, and this group's leadership claims they have several individual Lindens who are sympathetic to their cause. But I highly doubt the Lab would approve of a private resident group collecting the real life medical information of its residents. Or would they?

Obviously residents desire and deserve security on the grid. But for LL to potentially give what essentially amounts to a vigilante group free reign to enforce LL's Terms of Service is just wrongheaded. And dangerous -- considering they are using the exact same TOS violating tactics as the people they allege to be "protecting" us from. Tactics which are the very legal definition of cyberstalking.

I am glad to see that "stakeholders" -- merchants and landowners -- are slowly beginning to speak out about this. The more major landowners and merchants who stand up and publicly voice their concerns  -- the people who pay the electricity bills on LL's Battery Street building in downtown San Francisco -- the better chance the Lab will sit up and listen.

It would also put to rest the (erroneous) claim that anyone disagreeing with the JLU's mission must be a griefer, or a griefer sympathizer. That couldn't be further from the truth.

Whether you or a merchant or land owner or just an "average resident," I urge you to express your feelings to Linden Lab CEO Rodvik Linden about this situation.







11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Huh. Why not name the group when you go to such great length to ensure its identity is absolutely certain in any case? You just don't want your article coming up if someone does a Google search for "JLU" or "Justice League Unlimited"? Could that be because you didn't bother to do any of your own research, and instead simply took everything you believe straight out of a propaganda-filled hate piece on a forum filled with lies and downright abuse? Interesting approach to "journalism." Really.

Astolat Dufaux said...

Is that you, Prok? Kisses! :D

Astolat Dufaux said...

I in fact was re-editing the article for grammar, spelling, wording etc... and decided there was no reason to obfuscate the JLU's name.

Also, this a blog, not a journalistic site... As you said about your own blog -- "Having a blog isn't "wearing different hats". It's just having a blog. I write about Second Life and I'm critical of griefers and various factions there. That's not being a conspiracy theorist, it's just criticism."

Vagabond Carter said...

When we supported RedZone, it was in line with and compliant to TS/CS. That changed when Linden Lab added alt names to disclosure materials. We immediately altered policy to comply with this and could no longer support RedZone or other such systems.

In truth about copy botting, we do and have reported it where we felt there was sufficient evidence of it. As you might imagine unless one owns the original item or created it the question of “is this a copy or just incredibly close to the other?” is not always simple to answer.

It has been proven that the IP list was not sourced from any devices owned but the group(JLU) or any member of the group. In fact Soft Linden himself reveled the origin of the list as being from members of a 'banned group'.

As to RL information, GLE's responses to ProK (secondthoughts.typepad.com/second_thoughts/2011/08/interview-with-greenlantern-excelsior-the-whistleblowers-are-just-doxing-each-other-like-a-circular-.html) are accurateand he is correct that no more information is currently held of that nature.

Hal Jordan said...

"Among the allegations leveled is that the JLU has a private wiki which contains intelligence on residents"
If you've ever scribbled a resident's name on a piece of paper, or made an entry on the "My Notes" tab of someone's SL profile, then you are keeping private intelligence on residents that no one else can see. We all do that, but when JLU does it in an organized fashion, people write blog entries about it.

"But I highly doubt the Lab would approve of a private resident group collecting the real life medical information of its residents."
As you know, all private information has been removed from JLU's wiki. Blogging about it as though it's still there seems rather dishonest at this point.

"In each instance, I used the tools which Linden Lab provides residents to report abusive behavior of other residents"
So you know how to write an AR. Congratulations. JLU writes ARs too.

"I don't condone the serial harassment and stalking of SL residents,"
Neither does JLU. Sounds like we have two things in common now.

"So why doesn't the JLU monitor alleged instances of copybotting?"
It's very difficult to write an AR for copybotting if you don't own the object. I've done it once, but I don't like writing ARs when I can't be sure there's an actual violation. I didn't see any difference between the two objects, and I was told that one was the original and one was the copy, but it could have been a case of "he said, she said" in the end. Also, we don't get many reports of copybotting, and it's not all that easy to find it on your own by patrolling random locations. If you have some good ideas about starting a campaign to remove copybotters from the grid, then let's get together and talk about how to do that.

"Obviously residents desire and deserve security on the grid. But for LL to potentially give what essentially amounts to a vigilante group free reign to enforce LL's Terms of Service is just wrongheaded."
No one but Linden Lab has the capability to enforce the ToS, but every resident has the capability to write Abuse Reports when they see ToS violations. You seem to be confusing those two concepts.

Cathiee McMillan said...

GLE you don't agree with stalking.
Why did Someone find a Chat spy on a land under Ka'els name?
Also it was placed illegally thru a security flaw.

how come your all Stalking the Woodbury group?
Every comment you ever make in the logs is all about Tux or Woodbury I think that can be defined as stalking

Astolat Dufaux said...

What's old news, GLE and Vagabond, is the IP harvesting you keep bringing up. This issue has gone far beyond that. That may have been a red herring -- never mind that technically you still had access to the PD's database, which did contain that kind of information -- but it led to evidence of far more serious abuses.

And it is NOT dishonest to continue bringing up the issue of storing personal information on your wiki, because it never should have been there in the first place.

Potosi Abonwood said...

"I don't condone the serial harassment and stalking of SL residents,"
Neither does JLU. Sounds like we have two things in common now.

Yes, yes they do. We've seen it, especially when somebody like you are using the PD hud which streams when somebody on the 'watch' list goes into a zone with one of their monitors. Also, by the way, all the lead up that led to your phone call to the family of someone dieing of AIDs... that was stalking.

Not mention proof in your members own words of this in the leaked chat logs. Or using alts to go into places where you are banned and not wanted simply to keep 'gathering more info'. Guess what... that's stalking. Please try again.

Porkify? Nevar! said...

>>"Among the allegations leveled is that the JLU has a private wiki which contains intelligence on residents"
>If you've ever scribbled a resident's name on a piece of paper, or made an entry on the "My Notes" tab of someone's SL profile, then you are keeping private intelligence on residents that no one else can see. We all do that, but when JLU does it in an organized fashion, people write blog entries about it.

You're being willfully dishonest here. I will now explain the difference:

When you write in the 'notes' tab -you are the only one who can see it. You, and you alone.

When you start a wiki to publish Second Life residents personally identifying information -including jobs, family, CHILDREN (seriously, why the fuck didn't the claxion alarm of common sense ring when you did that? why?) you are making said information available to third parties.

Third parties meaning "not just you". Meaning "wider area of distribution than the note tab on a profile".

You already knew this (scumbag); now everyone else knows it too.

>>"But I highly doubt the Lab would approve of a private resident group collecting the real life medical information of its residents."
>As you know, all private information has been removed from JLU's wiki. Blogging about it as though it's still there seems rather dishonest at this point.

No, we DON'T know. It's not like we can either
a)Trust the word of ANYONE associated with the JLU (given that all of them who have spoken publically have been caught out in provable lies)

b)access said wiki for ourselves to see that there is, in fact, no private information on it.

We have only the word of the JLU; but the JLU have proven to lie and decieve at basically every turn.

One has only to read the SLU summary thread and follow some links to see their members get busted over and over again.

Innula said...

@GLE -- "As you know, all private information has been removed from JLU's wiki. Blogging about it as though it's still there seems rather dishonest at this point."

When was it removed, and what caused the change of policy? And I seem to have missed the announcement it's been removed, anyway. Is there something about this on the Krypton Radio site or something?

"I don't condone the serial harassment and stalking of SL residents,"

Neither does JLU. Sounds like we have two things in common now.

Can this really be the same GLE who told his colleagues,

http://tinyurl.com/3jcxy5b

[18:18] GreenLantern Excelsior: I have a nice anonymous email address and would love to get the ball rolling by sending him a message: "Nebula Griefing goes offline as of right now or everyone you know finds out who you REALLY are.
Admittedly, your friend Kalel didn't agree; he said, if you recall,

[18:19] Kalel Venkman: I'd just go straight to his parents.
[...]
[18:19] GreenLantern Excelsior: Just a suggestion.

vimala rani said...

It is necessary for every parent to learn what is cyberstalking its impact on your child and how to protect him/her from Cyber harassement