Thursday, March 3, 2011

as long as you don't fall through the cracks in the road, you'll make it home

Back to Search Engine Watch for the latest update on the ongoing disconnect between the employees in the Labs--where I swear they're now synthesizing meth in their off time--and the residents on the grid. And it's the height of morbid tragedy, to me, that Axi's "Tinfoil Hat" theory is starting to sound like a reasonable and accurate description of what's going on.

Meanwhile, there's another whole controversy brewing beyond the Jira That Will Not Die (more on that in a bit), in the SL BDSM community. Namely, the issue of consent.

For anyone not in the community--and I'm not judging either way--one of the things which is paramount, online or off, is "consent" as a concept. Consent is vital. Consent means things have been talked out. Consent means when things go too far, the games stop until consent is given again. Consent, therefore, is kind of the lynchpin of all the games, sexual or not.

With RedZone, the Institute says, we are not given the option of consent. They are taking that very vital power out of our hands. We cannot consent to being scanned; we cannot consent to our IP digits being stored; we do not consent to our IP digits being matched. This, at its base, is in violation of what BDSM stands for, behind the value of the letters themselves.

Now, I admit I'm of two minds on this. First, let's take Google. Google scans my IP all the time. It remembers what I search for, and how I search for it; it stores that information so that the next time I search through Google, I get better-targeted search results. On the side, Google also does a thriving business selling my information to advertisers.

However, and this is an important however, it is not my exact name. They sell what I search for; they sell the general location (not specific!) of where I am. All Google knows about me is the town and state I'm in; the things I search for most; and that's what they sell on to advertisers interested. (For an example, this is why I've been seeing ads for the last week about shops that sell ankle boots--because I spent the better part of the week before trying to hunt down reasonably supportive ankle boots that weren't stiletto heels, that were also not slouch boots. Damn ankles.)

Let me state this upfront: this is not a bad thing. Is it a violation of privacy? Maybe. But I always have the option to use another search engine, or to travel through a proxy masker. If I really wanted to preserve privacy, as zFire himself has said, I wouldn't be on the internet.

Still, even having said all that, I do see a difference between an advertiser buying an interest in ankle boots, and someone who's perched in the tree outside my apartment, taking pictures and listening for names being dropped. I do think scanning for alts on the grid is invasive. And I also think that IP matching is just about the most inane way possible to figure out who runs under what name.

I'm also reasonably offended behind the constant protests of "if you don't agree to RedZone, then you're doing something wrong". Why? Why is that always the conclusion? For example:

Of the alts I have (and they are few), I have never:

* stalked another resident (though I have used alts to avoid being stalked);

* harassed another resident;

* stolen ANYTHING (texture, prim, system layer) from another resident or place of business;

and the main thing, for me, at least? I genuinely do not believe that the majority of residents on the grid can report anything different. By and large, stalking is not that common; harassment is generally (though I grant not always) done under the original resident's name; and as for copyright infringement, anyone truly dedicated to copyright infringement is not going to be picked up by the RedZone system in the first place!

So what's it good for? Got me. Making money is my best guess...

The hour is getting late, so I will return to the Jira That Will Not Die later. (And at some point, whether the issue is resolved or not, I am by all the gods unwatching that damned thing, because I am really getting tired of all the email sent to me over it! This is not an opinions forum, people! The JIRA is for technical issues, not ranting!)


Serenity Semple said...

Ya I definitely agree with you on the RedZone thing. Luckily I think keeping media off helps prevent it? I'm not entirely sure but if I know a place has it in effect, I am wary of going. Not that I have things to hide but I don't like it. I live in the same house with my boyfriend and use the same IP, are we the same person? Heck no, but I think RedZone picks us up as if we are; which I don't like. Especially since I'm banned from certain places due to stupid reasons and don't want it to reflect on my friends avatars and such. x_x *Sigh* It's such a mess.

Emilly Orr said...

Right, and with the advent of IP checking, if any friends come over to hang with you and Hina, and they play in SL, they can also be identified as the same person--and your alts.

It's incredibly inaccurate.