Friday, September 9, 2011

somewhere where it's not dark, dark, dark, dark

(Continued from part VII.)

Man, I have to find a good wrapping-up point, because I've been talking with friends, and their big conclusion is that this is all pretty meaningless. I'm letting personal feelings get in the way of accuracy (and okay, not for the first time), but more than that, what do I really care about all this? Privacy issues on the grid, sure. People getting lost in their roleplay, fine; it's not really my concern. I'm not affiliated with the JLU, I don't own a PhantomZone device, I don't call them when one of the sims in the estate I work for gets griefed, and I'm not a griefer.

So, seriously, why do I care? As one of them told me, these are the kinds of people that are why the mainstream smiles behind their hands about the internet. They give everyone who's reasonably sane a bad name. They're their own worst enemies, and their own behavior will take them down faster than anything I could possibly say.

While I'm struggling with this realization, more extracts. Starting here:
"The administrator can add anyone he wants to the user list. This allows people to have ban powers without having parcel powers."
Let me see if I understand this correctly. The reason people are given parcel powers (whether that's full controls including terraforming or simply the controls about that parcel, itself) is that they're invested--they're renting the parcel, they've bought the parcel, or they own the estate that that parcel is part of. This statement makes it sound as if the PhantomZone unit can help people who are not invested--who do not own a store on that parcel, rent on that parcel, or own that sim--the power to ban others.

Am I wrong?

Also this:
"Phantom Zone does not collect any data.
Phantom Zone Does Not Collect Any Data!
This is the first statement any member of the JLU has made that I wholly and completely disbelieve. There are many things that are up to interpretation, many things that may come down to distress and emotionalism getting in the way of understanding.

But this? No. Because if PhantomZone does not collect any data, ANY data at all, it cannot record and uphold bans. If it does not collect ANY data, it cannot share a global ban list with other networked security devices. If it does not collect any data, then everything previously stated on Krypton Radio's own PhantomZone page is inaccurate. Let me reference one section of that page specifically:
"The Phantom Zone uses flying probes called ‘prisms’ to patrol your land. These are temporary objects that efficiently roam your parcel, detecting and report any avatars that may need to be teleported to their home location and/or added to the parcel ban list. The entire volume of airspace over your parcel is patrolled, all the way up to the 4096m altitude limit. The prisms have been engineered to produce almost no lag and are extremely efficient."
That's gathering data, you idiot. You are LYING.

And this is pointed out later in the same thread:
"It's really, really clear from the words of KalEl that in fact he's all about collecting data. In fact in order for this system to work it HAS TO collect some data, as a technical matter. Otherwise (and Qie and Sione and all the IT professionals around here can correct me if Im wrong) it simple cannot FUNCTION as a linkable device from one node to another."

And this is relevant for all sorts of reasons. Namely, that yes, people who do not have owner controls for any given sim have ban rights if part of the PhantomZone system. Yeah, datamining or not (and remember, the JLU say they're not), THAT right there is wrong.

From Miss Dufaux:
Rxx has a number of health issues, some severe enough to be eventually life threatening (read this as "thinks he has nothing to lose"). In specific, Rxx has epilepsy, a condition which severely limits one's lifespan in extreme cases. It is not known how severe Rxx's case is, but he was given a depressing long term prognosis by his doctor in spring of 2008.
"This is extremely upsetting to me. Regardless of his reputation and activities, it's just none of anyone's business what his health conditions are.

"Shame on you."
I agree. And this was what upset me in the first place--that they essentially cyberstalked a dying man, just to verify that he was, in fact, dying.

Let me be absolutely clear on this one: If I want RL medical information out on the Second Life grid, I will release it. While there are some incidents (I'm not that wary of revealing some RL information) I've mentioned on the blog, and in certain chats in SL, that could be collated by anyone who really obsessed on it enough, I have been the one who said that. That's my look-out.

I really, sincerely doubt that either the AIDS patient, or the person who has a debilitating epileptic condition, contacted the JLU in world and handed over their medical records. It's disturbing, angering and wrong that Kalel and presumedly others think it's no problem to collate and use this type of information, because it is, somehow, "protecting the grid". It's monstrous.
"It wasn't until I read the log entries prying into people's lives, and using their medical condition as some sort of information bargaining chip. You people (yes I said THAT) in the JLU while masquerading as fictional heroes have completely lost your moral compass and no longer see the difference between right and wrong, it's all a big game to you.

"But your pixellated fantasies have now twisted into RL stalking and intrusion. We're past the IP harvesting mentioned in the OP title, we're now talking about the bigger picture. What the JLU is doing stinks to high heaven, and I'm hoping at least one of the lurky loos from the JLU reading this thing has at least a whisper of morality left in their soul and blows the lid off this thing so it can end, soon."

And here's where the bottom dropped out again:
Originally Posted by Velvet Bikcin
GLE, is this latest transcript accurate?
"Unfortunately, yes."
Really? Confirmation that the JLU routinely busts medical information for the sake of 'saving the grid from griefers'. Really?

Right, that's it, I've had it with the JLU now. There is no one who can now claim innocence, and no one who isn't tainted by this. If you're in the JLU past August 20, 2011--when this comment was posted--then you have no ethical leg to stand on. Not anymore.

More from that comment:
"When we were talking about collecting data, we were talking about collecting people's IP addresses. Of course the node is going to talk to the server and to other nodes, and it's going to have a bad guy list and a good guy list. But it doesn't collect IP addresses. Never has, never will."
No, see, YOU don't understand this. The folks commenting on the JLU were never talking just about collection of IP addresses--they were talking about the collection of IP addresses, personal RL medical information, real names, addresses, places of work, and suspected alts.

You know--data. To which you said PhantomZone collects no data and we all called you on it as the liar that you are. Now you're trying to hedge that you were just reaffirming that PZ didn't collect IP addresses.

One suspects you of having a working brain, GLE, but I'll still use small words: you know better than that.

From the original thread:
"Does anyone really mean to try to insinuate that a group supposedly dedicated to 'protecting' people really doesn't see that by providing a place where personally identifying information can be readily found, they are literally putting people who *were* safe in real life into real life actual danger?"
See, that's the thing. No one--who hasn't been stalked in real life--gets how scary it can be, how deeply it undermines confidence, how it increases stress, paranoia, worry, fear, and can result in exacerbating ongoing medical conditions (think heart problems from panic attacks, say), or plain out starting new ones. In fact, I'd be willing to go out on this limb and say that no one in the JLU even connects gathering all this information on 'griefers' and presumed other 'suspicious types' with stalking.

And really, to me, that's the scariest bit of all. That they think of as protecting the innocent fits with the legal definition of a cybercrime.

From another comment on the thread:
"There is a popular misconception that the term 'data mining' is somehow a bad thing."
There's more on that comment, but okay, let's break this down. Data mining--as a concept--involves collection of data from a variety of sources, compilation, redistribution, and analysis. Technically, data mining is neutral.

But how most people use--and understand--data mining is far simpler--the collection, collation, compilation, and analysis of data to determine things that single-stream sources would not reveal. Say, I get someone's name, but I don't know their ID number. Someone else finds that ID number, on an Ohio ID. Someone else discovers that someone's been married. Someone tracks down the wife's name on an ID from Nevada. Someone else discovers magazine subscriptions made out to the wife. One of those magazines is designed for parents of autistic children.

When all this information is collated and properly organized, we can know at least suspect that:
  • Person A is married.
  • Person A lived in Ohio before moving to Nevada.
  • Person A has at least one autistic child.
And that is why people think data mining--in this sense--is a scary thing. Because what the JLU does with it is take avatar names and translate them through data mining (from what's suspected to be a variety of sources at this point) into concrete suspicions, or actual proof, regarding:
  • their real names
  • where they work
  • where they live
  • their marital or relationship status
  • how many children they have
  • what medical conditions they have
  • who their family members are
  • who their friends are
And the JLU is trying to maintain that they're the good guys. Riiiight.

Back to that one comment:
"Linden Lab seems to be listening to a mob of villagers with torches and pitchforks, metaphorically speaking. There are extensive threads on the official forums and on SL Universe, but they're the same sixty or so people posting over and over again, many of whom are alt abusers themselves."
I need a term defined. What's an "alt abuser"?

And one more extract:
"To put the flame war and ad hominem attacks in perspective, the Green Zone Users appear to be about 70% BDSM, about 4% age play, about 3-4% griefer alts, and about 5-6% business people or landholders. Somewhere between 10% or 20% are alts of other members, mostly belonging to just a half dozen people - mostly there just to 'stuff the ballot box'. For the most part these are people with something to hide, not political activists."
This goes directly back to that "doing perversion" comment quoted much earlier, I think. Let me test my understanding here.

To Kalel, these people are equal:
  • griefers
  • alts
  • people exploring alternative sexualities
  • ageplayers
  • land owners
  • business owners
and apparently all bad? Or am I wrong?

Miss McMillan voices a concern:
"See this was what i was talking about. What is going to happen is DC will come in to sl and remove all likeness to their heros.

"I DJ at a Heros club where the customers and staff dress as superheros DC ones and just dance and have fun. Also the owner of the club makes hero clothing"
And see, this is where the labyrinthine multitude of effects and interpretations from application of the DMCA just fly over the heads of most people (and really, I can't blame them, it's pretty dense legalese). But in brief, in simple terms: not only won't this happen, but it can't happen. Why? Because to file a DMCA cease and desist order, DC Comics has to name specific individuals--either by RL name, or--as has happened in the past with other companies--SL name. That takedown will be employed by the Lindens, and that person, and all associated content of DC's from that person, will be stripped from the grid.

DC Comics won't bar all DC content from Second Life, unless they feel like hiring 30,000 more paralegals and naming the entire grid in individual letters. And that purely won't happen.

From the Department of Irony:
[17:46] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): The flashy costumes and comic book personnae are a lot of fun - if it wasn't fun, we wouldn't do it. But they do more than that. These costumes are a part of our culture.
[17:46] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): They stand for something people want to believe in. They represent truth, and justice. We're more than people in brightly colored costumes. We're symbols of hope.
[17:46] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): And hope is what the people of Second Life need probably more than anything right now.
[17:47] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): Banded together, we can come to the aid of the good people of Second Life.
[17:47] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): We can earn the public trust, and come to their defense. but we can only do this if we demonstrate, time and time again, that we're on their side. And the only way to do that is to take the highest road we can.
So, that means you're going to stop the datamining and the doxing and take down PhantomZone? Great!

I guess it speaks something about a personal failure of utter cynicism that I'm even shocked by some of the things that are coming out. But yeah. Still shocked about things like this.

I guess, in the end, the things that are still bothering me are that people I don't know are going after people they don't know by accessing medical information. There are two types of people who should have access to medical information in my opinion:
  • the individuals (and perhaps extended family directly in contact with them) themselves; and
  • the doctors directly working with those individuals.
In my mind, no one else needs to know. Period. Including insurance companies, but I know, that's a fine line, managed HMOs being what they are.

But if you're some random wandering pretender-to-the-throne type, and you determine all on your own that Xavalenxia911 Resident is a threat to you, and you crack her files and discover she has any medical ailment...and you then post that information online anywhere...yeah. You've crossed a big line, right there. And that line is not going to change no matter how many posts you put up saying you're misunderstood and you regret doing the awful things you've done and you're not perfect, and all you're trying to do is protect people.


More when I get back to it; for now, I'm leaving the keys, and going off, and looking at flowers or something, so I can convince myself the entire world doesn't need to burn just because people are stupid on the internet.

(Apropos of nothing in particular, and certainly nothing JLU-related, I am terribly, terribly amused by this. And I'm so with Moss on that--I doubt I'd buy twenty copies a month, but I would definitely make space in my budget for one copy a month, and possibly even subscribe formally and get it mailed to the house!)


Deoridhe said...

I believe alt abusers are people with many alts where the alts behave in a similar way to the user so it looks like there are two different people who agree with each other. See also: sock puppet.

Emilly Orr said...

Thank you! Sock puppets I have a reference for (and I've seen them on many forum sites); alt abusers went over my head.

Good to know.

Potosi Abonwood said...

"See, that's the thing. No one--who hasn't been stalked in real life--gets how scary it can be,"

Right there you hit the nail on the head for me. I've had a stalker who started on the internet and then moved up to mailing me letters proclaiming his love for me with no return address and then finally calling my house. It's something that nobody should have to go through. This is one of the main reasons I am so opposed to the JLU and all of their actions. They are enablers and they are deciding who to give peoples gathered info out to. Mainly the other sociopaths in their group.

Emilly Orr said...

Exactly. Plus saying that of course we should trust them with this highly private information because they're them. Save that they're not as honorable as they claim, they have made mistakes, they have a history of lax security on their files, and they've gotten at least one innocent banned from SL because they mis-identified them. 'Oops' doesn't cover it at that point.

Fogwoman Gray said...

Like a lot of issues in SL, there is so much rhetoric and technical/legal jargon being thrown around that simple concepts get lost.
Who should have access to my non-SL information? Linden Labs, who I signed an agreement with, and anyone else I personally provide with that information. Any data that is "mined" without my permission is a violation of my privacy.
Anyone "mining" Protected Health Infomation (PHI) should review the HIPPA guidelines for infomation on the penalties and fines for releasing such information. And frankly, I would personally investigate how such information could be obtained without my consent, as all healthcare/insurers/caregivers are personally responsible for protecting such information from mining in the first place.
Back to kindergarten, I suppose. Mind your own business. Don't take what does not belong to you. Being a tattletale means that nobody wants to play with you!

Emilly Orr said...

There's a lot of kindergarten rules that adults frequently forget. Rest when you're tired. Play nice with other people. Don't play with toys that aren't yours, or at least ask politely first.

Mostly, that's my issue in this--I don't care that a bunch of avatars want to dress up as superheroes and play griefer police--everyone knows we need more griefing help, and anyone willing to do what is essentially, a thankless, occasionally grindingly difficult job is to be lauded.

But any shred of admiration on my part ends when medical information is involved. I don't care who they think they're dragging down, I don't care if they've got a signed confession praising Satan and detailing when and how that person joined up with the KKK and the Aryan Nation. Listing anything medical...and listing it online on a low-security site...that's not only stupid, that's criminal.