Future of the 3D Internet *Update*

I’ve previously mentioned how virtual weapons (reLink) will become an increasingly problematic issue as the “metaverse” starts to take shape, but what I’ve not mentioned is how difficult it might be to get a metaverse started so long as there are people who get a thrill out of sabotaging it during its infancy.

For the second time inside of 48 hours or so, the Second Life virtual world has been attacked and the grid knocked offline. The technique is always the same: releasing self-replicating objects that exponentially chew into the computing resources until everything fails.

The question is: why has there been no definitive word from Linden Lab regarding their prosecution of any previously-involved parties (like those involved in attacks from last Fall – reLink)? They keep saying they’re trying. Robin Linden says, “We’re working with the authorities to go after the people responsible for these attacks, as you know.” But no, I don’t know. What does that really mean?

Does it mean Linden Lab has identified individuals? Does it mean there are difficulties in prosecuting due to differing laws in other countries? Does it mean the Terms of Service isn’t sufficiently clear to make this activity illegal in the eyes of the authorities with whom Linden Lab is “working with”? What does it mean?

Well, here’s a solution:

1) change the ToS – assuming it needs changing – such that an offender’s real name can be publically-revealed. No anonymity for the guilty. Hold virtual court and let it play out. If someone is found guilty, their real world Reputation will be impacted and follow them forever. Who knows. It might keep them from getting an IT job. Or a government job.

2) remove the “rez” functionality. Sure it’ll make a lot of people angry and cripple a lot of content. So be it. If the immature among us want to cause trouble and break things, let them. Then neither Second Life nor any other service will attempt to give that kind creative control to its users. Everyone, including the griefers, will get whatever is left when you remove all the functionality so that people don’t misbehave.

Then everyone will get a choice: Limitedspace or Television. And who will run everything? Greedy corporations, of course. Just what they want, right?

{Update: There are what appear to be somewhat more specific details into what Linden Lab is doing on the legal front in Daniel Terdiman’s story on C|Net (Link). Worth a read.}