Saturday, March 12, 2011

sorry you, sorry me, sorry every in between

There's an insane amount of things to announce today. So this is going to be a potentially long and meandering post. Bear with me.

First off, Winterfell has banned RedZone from its sims. This surprises me not at all. Honestly, I'm surprised Caledon hasn't banned it outright, but to be fair, RedZone--and its endless imitators--market to fear. There's not much an estate owner can do to combat that fear, because it comes directly from ignorance about how Second Life works, as well as how computers and similar technologies work.

Next, there's a new post from Axi Kurmin about the uphill battle Soft Linden's having getting RedZone--and its endless imitators--yanked like the toxic weeds they are. It mentions a YouTube video leaked by several sources that seems to be on how easy it is to use the RedZone system to get access to potential passwords of RedZone users. The best comment on the link I used first:
"Seems to me that if RZ and Xue goes downhe's trying his best to [take] SL down with the wreck."
Yeah, it really does.

(Just for verification, match the fuzzy-vision blue blur of hair shape and face shape, as well as vocal tone in the supposedly "fake" video, with this one, which is a full-face authentically-voiced zFire talking about jumping out of an airplane. This is the same guy. Does he think we're that stupid?)

InWorldz, as of this writing, has also banned RedZone and RedZone-like devices.

So the question becomes, why hasn't the Labs? Soft Linden is doing all he can, but he really seems to be the one guy on the job. Is he receiving any support from superiors? Does he have a team? Or is it just him fighting his uphill battle while the upper management tell him it's no big deal?

According to the Alphaville Herald--not noted for their journalistic integrity--the hackers have been hacked, but apparently the blackhats went down to whitehats, or at least greyhats (it's hard to friggin' tell who's who). They "wont" release the database, but they recommend zFire remove the password tracking capabilities of RedZone.

Yeah, like that's going to happen.

One of the comments to that entry is notable. This from Scylla Rhiadra:
Linden Lab needs to act NOW to re-establish the confidence of its customers in the system. This is no longer just about RedZone: it's about the security vulnerabilities in SL itself that have made this kind of disaster possible.
I agree with her, but here's the main thing:

* Premium account-holders' confidence staggered when the openspace/homestead debacle went down the way it did.

* Merchant confidence plummeted when Zindra popped as a continent and all the Adult businesses were forced to relocate.

* Now a large majority of people are freaking out on some level, from "ZOMG this man I don't know has my home address/SL password/alt names!" to "ZOMG LL has been haxx0red!" (which, as we know, has happened at least twice in the past, so it's a reasonable concern under the hysteria).

And from another RedZone thread on Tateru Nino's blog comes this stunner (to me, at least):
"IBM were right after all to abandon corporate activity in Second Life. This sort of compromise was what they feared.

Hence their active work using Opensimulator and their 'walled gardens'."
Breen Whitman said that, and I'd love to find confirmation for it...anyone? Because IBM has been one of the strongest supporters of Second Life; if that's changes, SL as a concept has serious, serious problems.

Miss Nino, later on, tackles zFire Xue's statement directly:
"For me, the primary take-away is "Do not challenge people to try to break into your site if that is not what you want them to do.'"
Yeah, didn't we all learn not to do that when Gawker got hacked? Come on, people!

So let's go back to the Jira That Will Never Die, not that it so much matters anymore.

Emerald Seaside: "Sigh. Seems that the Linden's don't know what each other of them is talking about Soft Linden says it does belong in a JIRA and Oz Linden says it doesn't."

It would be nice if Lindens could agree on what's official policy, yes.

Unya Tigerfish: "This is a clear breach not only of ToS, but of US privacy laws. US law states that the criminal act of 'invasion of privacy' takes place when there is (for example):

* Public disclosure of private facts (my alts are my private matter, and only mine)


* False light: the publication of facts which place a person in a false light, even though the facts themselves may not be defamatory. And being labelled alt of someone is a false light, as the IP gathering is less than perfect.

Maybe we could find a US resident willing to sue?"

I'm actually hoping this doesn't end up in court, because there'll be bad precedent either way.

Arkady Arkright: "I see Oz Linden's comments as a deliberate attempt to sweep the whole issue under the carpet - 'Mention it again and I'll ban you" - a disgraceful example of a company ignoring its user's wishes by invoking a technicality."

Please. This is how the Labs do business, people. Obfuscation; confusion; misdirection. Oh, and of course layoffs.

Masami Kuramoto: "Oz, how many more votes on this issue does it take for you to realize that personalized media playback without user confirmation is a design flaw? More than 300 residents can see the problem. Why can't you?"

I'd adore an answer to that.

zFire Xue shows up: "Dare I challenge Linden Labs to investigate the viewers, inventory, and chat logs between GothGirl Demonia and myself.

"RedZone cooperates with Linden Lab, all they need to do is ask.

"[...] RedZone has full support in working with people."

Right. I have several questions on this.

1. Does he mean "I dare to challenge the Labs", or does he mean "Dare, I challenge"? In the latter case, does he mean Dare Munro specifically, or another Dare?

2. RedZone cooperates with Linden Labs? Really? When Soft comes out and returns his vendors, and he puts them right back out? When Soft delists his listings on the Marketplace, and he puts them up for sale again? That's cooperating with the Lindens?

3. Full support in working with people? Password-skimming of his own userbase equates "full support"?

Micaela Darkwatch: "I would seriously like to recommend Linden Lab employees check out the Redzone forums.

"By most accounts, this product is worshipped for it's alt account detection ability. When the HUD came out people were excited about going to other sims and being able to 'click' on other avatars to find out if they were in the database or to build onto the database. Some Redzone users want the ability to ban the HUD users on their sims, because they don't want to be scanned. Because it's an invasion of their privacy.

"Seriously Lab, this isn't a joke any longer. This isn't paranoia. You have my information. You can tell that I'm not a griefer, copybotter etc. I am a premium member. I contribute to the community just as much as these people.

"Close the media hole."

I thought quoting her whole comment was worthwhile, because this is indicative of the level of complaints--it's not just 'free accounts', it's premium members, some of whom have been members of SL for several years. Merchants, estate owners. Major players. When will the Labs listen?

Some small bit of levity before I tie this up until next time. This from one of the many, many hunt groups proliferating across the web:

[20:38] Raindrop Lowbeam: Hey Couch Pototatos! How's the hunting?
[20:39] Thane Woodford: Been making things lol
[20:39] Raindrop Lowbeam: big things! laughs
[20:39] Anya Flux: a little more difficult than i expect, but i can solve it
[20:40] Vesper Wildrose: I am a french fry.
[20:43] Thane Woodford wonders what is a french fry about
[20:44] Beautiful Shamen: 3 inches?

I know, I know, really bad joke. But I thought it was funny.


Diamanda Gustafson said...

As far as Caledon goes, Des had sent a group notice on ISC saying that Redzone has always been against the covenant per its covering avatar privacy rights.


Emilly Orr said...

Thank you! Miss Poindexter also mentioned a notice; somehow, I missed it. This will be addressed with a link to the next entry...when, um, I get the next entry out.