Intelligence analyst Roderick Jones submits these thoughts on the use of MMORPGs for terror.
Comments on MMORPG Terror:
I don't know, Ed. Seems pretty far fetched. We're just talking about an alternative communication media. I mean, you can buy The Anarchist's Cookbook for a few dollars and learn how to make thermite, or you can go to wikipedia and figure it out. You don't need Second Life to learn how to build bombs.
Posted Mar 6, 2007 11:26:34 AM | link
Clearly, because there is a remote possibility of books being used by terrorists, they should all henceforth be banned. For our own protection. And that of the children. Clearly.
Posted Mar 6, 2007 11:55:32 AM | link
I have to concur with the others. SL being used by terrorists would just amount it it being the latest communications fad used by them or anybody else. Dr. Castronova, I know you write about the possibility of terrorists using virtual worlds to train in your book as well. But I have to raise a point. Real terrorists are a very secretive bunch. I doubt any (competent ones) would conduct business on a server owned by someone else that could not guarantee security.
There are real efforts at making training systems in virtual worlds, such as the US Navy's Delta3D ( http://www.delta3d.org/index.php ) which are probably much better suited and open source.
Posted Mar 6, 2007 12:18:17 PM | link
I think, given the environment we're discussing here, paedophile rings are an immeasurably greater probability.
Posted Mar 6, 2007 12:53:55 PM | link
"The Second Life currency of Lindens (approximately $270L to $1US) can be bought using a credit card in one country and credited to one avatar (account) and can be given to a co-conspirator avatar in another country. The person controlling this second avatar can then convert these lindens to the real-world currency wherever they are based using a local credit card or paypal equivalent. Clearly the ability to transfer money in this fashion is a very useful function. While Linden Labs sets a limit on the amount of currency an avatar can buy or sell (typically $5000US) this is likely to change and $5000 gets you a long way in many parts of the world."
If both people have credit cards why all the cloak and dagger stuff? Moving dollars to Lindens to Afganis isn't hard to trace if you have bank accounts on both ends.
Posted Mar 6, 2007 2:08:20 PM | link
Exploring possibilities is generally a good thing. Post 9/11 it can be difficult to not look at any emerging technology and think, “dear gods, a 20-speed blender, how will that be used by terrorists?!”
One of the reasons for this is because, like most living organism that wish to keep living, terrorist groups will adapt to new ways of doing the same things especially if older ways are made obsolete. So this looking at ways in which MMORPGs can be used by terrorists is a sort of preemptive anti-adaptation attempt.
Like Cayle said, they probably wouldn’t use SL, and would go for something like Delta3D or even America’s Army. But if they did use SL, then things to be aware would be spikes in L$ to $US currency exchanges, etc.
As for recruitment, and even pedophile rings, SL seems to be the least desirable of the MMO “social” worlds, what with Virtual Laguna and other dumbed down “pretty-looking 3-D chat rooms with fashion,” that tend to attract a vast majority of bored teenagers. But this may just be a personal bias, hehe.
And of course, I’m not in any way saying that these worlds should be shut down or even regulated. Only that terrorists, and other criminals, exist and that they may use these technologies for their ends. If so, how can we become aware that they are using these venues?
Posted Mar 6, 2007 2:09:06 PM | link
Technology is a double-edged sword. New advanced comm tech can cut deeper while also generate a ring of healing +10.
Posted Mar 6, 2007 2:11:24 PM | link
I tend to think that a social application like SL lends itself mostly to the recruiting portion of such activities. For anything truly sensitive, why take the risk? Build your own simple world using any number of available tools, put it on your own server, and keep it a secret. It's not really all that hard anymore.
Posted Mar 6, 2007 2:20:18 PM | link
hey quit criticizing me. i dont necessarily endorse opinions that i am pointing to. a lot of times i am just trying to learn from the community. or, raise public awareness (as when i post something that's perceived as old news among the 1337).
i can tell you that this question gets raised. why not have the TN community sound off on it?
Posted Mar 6, 2007 3:44:54 PM | link
Communication mediums can also be used for evil, news at eleven!
Seriously, this is so old and so transparent that no policy makers with half a brain should be listening to it unless their agenda is not to counter terrorism, but to vilify video games... which seems to be a popular trend these days.
Thank you for bringing our attention to it, but honestly the claim is so ridiculous I don't know what there is to discuss.
Posted Mar 6, 2007 5:07:35 PM | link
^^^ /signed Lachek (who will learn this commenting system someday)
Posted Mar 6, 2007 5:08:29 PM | link
Without diving into epistemological debates, SL is just another medium where we are perhaps more aware of the control of our self representations that our control of our real selves in real life. It is thus not surprising to see a migration of whatever goes on in RL into it. The migration is easier for some activities and less so for others. Relevant to this article is perhaps our efforts to use SL for emgency preparedness. Again nothing new, just using a new medium to bridge geographical gaps to bring learners and instructors together, to discover the reality of virtual interactions, and the reality of training outcomes in virtual spaces.
Posted Mar 6, 2007 6:03:47 PM | link
I can't wait till Prokofy Neva stumbles upon this thread. Then all you naysayers will find out that the terrorists are already in SL; they all belong to W-Hat.
Posted Mar 6, 2007 7:01:35 PM | link
Thanks everyone for your comments and especially thanks to Edward for posting my link. I am relatively new to this environment so it is very useful for me to test opinions to see if I am barking up the wrong tree or not.
Unfortunately my career leads me to see the dark side of human nature, which is probably why I am also drawn to the lighter utopian ideals of virtual worlds.
What originally drew me to thinking about this was the story of two UK suicide bombers recruiting and meeting in an Islamic chatroom, plotting their attack and leaving an online suicide statement before attempting to conduct a real-life attack. It just seemed to me that worlds were blurring.
I would also like to highlight an idea I recived via an email about 'open source war' whereby terrorists are fought by online volunteers who disagree with them. I thought this actually resembled what was currently going on in SL between the Front National and volunteers who oppose it. Interesting thought - and would certianly reduce the US defence budget.
Thanks again for all comments and interest.
Posted Mar 6, 2007 11:13:46 PM | link
Any transportation or communication technology is potentially useful for everyday work, emergency medical, fire and police services, and for criminals, murderers, thieves, and terrorists. That applies to the invention of cars, trains, airplanes, telephones, telegraphs, walkie talkies, cell phones, the postal service, email, and chat programs.
I think people discussing terrorism should discuss terrorism, and bring up the techniques and technologies they use as part of that discussion. Maybe even have a focussed discussion on "the use of technology in terrorism" or even "the use of the internet" - surely Skype, ICQ, email, and video chat programs are as relevant as virtual worlds and could all kind of be lumped together.
And people discussing games and/or virtual worlds should discuss games and/or virtual worlds. "Terrorists will use it for some stuff" is true, but not necessarily anything more than one fragment of the vast spectrum of "Doctors, Lawyers, Indian Chiefs, kids, housewives, inventors, psychiatrists, professors, philanthropists, and people looking for a date will use it for stuff".
To summarize - "People having a need or a whim to communicate about absolutely anything and everything under the sun will do so in online games, and oh by the way that includes terrorists too".
The magnitude of activity I don't think is likely to be large in the near future, though.
Posted Mar 7, 2007 1:05:31 AM | link
Comment too long to post here. I put it up as a blog entry instead, for those who want another scenario and some counterpoints.
A little too far fetched for me.
Posted Mar 7, 2007 1:57:15 AM | link
Have to agree with the sentiment of:
"OMGSHOCK! Language has power! A communication medium may be used to communicate other things than cooking recipes! BANZOR!"
The linked article is retarded.
Posted Mar 7, 2007 3:04:13 AM | link
I did think it might be about something interesting, such as terrorist threats to MMORPGS/Cyberspace or the concept of holding a world to ransom.
"Release all prisoners currently held under extraordinary rendition or the Paris data cluster gets it!"
Seriously, if Al Quaeda took it into their head to blow up a server farm, THAT would attract the normally apathetic gamer demographics attention in a way that threats to distant lands full of funny coloured people do not.
OFC, if they did, Bush would probably be able to nuke the Middle-East into blown glass with the public's blessing.
Posted Mar 7, 2007 3:22:12 AM | link
This is quite a bizare scenario. The original one about "indoctrinating", well. Personally I think that alot of the anti terrorism talk these days is more "anti unpopular ideas" talk. At my old campus, there was a huge spat when peace studies was dropped and replaced with counter-terrorism studies. One of my collegues quipped "If indeed the terrorists want to take our freedom, our learned friends in CT seem to have come up with a novel solution. If the citizenry is stripped of its freedoms by its own govternment, then there will be no freedoms for the terrorists to take away".
The money laundering talk is equally silly. Whilst the wired types love to honk and buzz about RMT in second life, the truth is, less money is comeing into and out of it than in any given large casino in the world. Any mafioso worth his salt knows "Wiseguy 1 turns money into casino chips, plays Wiseguy 2 in poker. Wiseguy 1 throws the game and Wiseguy 2 takes the chips. Wiseguy 2 cashes the chips and bingo! Money laundered". Why on earth would a criminal do this so publically as to do it in a computer game infront of thousands of twitching net-sexers and neckbeard geeks.
Sounds like out CT friend here has discovered the joys of tenure.
Posted Mar 7, 2007 3:26:36 AM | link
Having read Castronova's book Synthetic Worlds, and the article by Mr. Jones, I think that what they've done almost independently is identify the potential for any extremist group to organize surreptitiously.
Like most tools (a hammer can create or destroy) it really depends on the intention of the user. At no point during Castronova's book or Mr. Jones' article was there any implication that our online spaces should be censored or even federally regulated. However, the main point that I took away from the article was to identify the potential, to expose the different avenues that people can use to visit harm.
Virtual worlds have always been a community, however, now they're becoming more prevalent as a more mainstream audience is becoming familiar with them. As any community evolves, there arise certain social obligations between members to protect each other and insure the viability of the community. No one would object if the article was telling us that a certain neighborhood cafe was a place where drugs were known to be sold... this is very similar to that
With that new information, the evolution of the social structure now grows to include the potential of criminal activity in what was once a good neighborhood. As a member of that community, there's an implied responsibility not to "search it out" but to understand the potential, and if I see anything serious, to take notes and possibly report it.
Posted Mar 7, 2007 8:43:04 AM | link
If this is what passes for intelligence analysis, we're doomed.
Posted Mar 7, 2007 9:47:10 AM | link
Given Al-Qaeda's very nature/principal of being against western influences on the Islamic religion/nations/culture. I find it hard to believe that they would use Second Life, which its core embraces the counter culture. And only goes to show how unknowledgeable people are of the beliefs that these people are willing to kill and die for. We want/need to demonism these people in order to make sense of it, believing that they will do anything to meet their goals, while forgetting that those goals are based on extreme fundamental beliefs. That is not say it isn’t possible that they would use it to hide their activity, just highly unlikely.
As suggested by others, there are more secure ways to communicate the same types of information (private server in friendly/weakly policed country). Also as Dr. Cat said “Any transportation or communication technology is potentially usefully...” and should be part of the discussion “the use of the internet” for terrorism.
As to the money laundering, this could be said about many games. While it might have been slowed by the changes in eBay policies, there would be nothing to stop me from buying X amount of gold in UO/WoW/EQ/etc and giving it to another who then resell it for cash to be used for terrorist activities.
Focusing the spotlight on Second Life as the next hotbed of terrorist activity is short sighted and a case of using the current media/public scapegoat.
Posted Mar 7, 2007 12:06:13 PM | link
Before we thrash this idea without giving it a full shake, let's keep a few things in mind.
1. It's a short, intro article, not a PhD thesis, and the guy is looking for reactions. So be nice.
2. Yes, first assumption is "No tool is good/bad, it's the use," and that's not all he said. Second assumption is, "Some tools are worse/better," so let's have some discussion, eh? Atom bomb? Largely not as useful as the steel plow, so just saying, "Duh," isn't much help.
3. He never said Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. There are other kinds, and some don't mind tech. And even the non-tech kind will often use tech in the furtherance of their goals.
4. Any kind of complex, global organization isn't going to go into a VW with a linear, A-B-C plan. And while some of the scenarios outlined in the article are (today) a bit naive... again, c'mon. It's a short piece. What're we TNerz here for but to get hairy on this stuff now? How about...
4a. Just like real companies don't have shops in SL in order to really sell real stuff, but to have a PR presence, a terrorist org does the same thing? We've all said/read how SL is the biggest PR hot-spot out there today. Some thugs throw an animated turd at John Edwards booth and it gets all kinds of press. Maybe next time Bin Laden has deadly plans, he broadcasts it ahead of time in SL with a series of pre-real-world SL "messages." How creepy would that be?
4b. Have one terrorist organization set up several, increasingly "radical" groups in SL. The first level is pure dogam. Just ideologues. All talk-talk, circle-jerk, group-think. Blah-blah-blah. But any of the folks in the hot-tub who meet certain criteria (money? locale? etc.) get tapped to move up a notch. Five notches higher? You're contacted in RL. First-life recruitment is easier if you can pre-qualify some of this stuff in-game. Of course, you could also sting folks that way from Roderick's camp... or be stung. The "great game" moves into "games."
4c. Setting up a kidnap ring in world. This freaks me out to even type. But terrorists could set up any kind of group that they thought would be fertile for snaring kidnap victims. Of course, this is true for any kind of crime, but one thing I learned while doing PR for a law firm that handled anti-terrorist orgs was that certain types of crimes generate other crimes to pay for them. Don't know if this would qualify... but perhaps. And, hmmm... those "perhaps"z is what we're here to discuss, eh?
4d. No... single, giant money transfers ain't gonna happen in SL. You're not going to pay your shooter $US20,000 in Lindens. But lots of small scale, high-trust payments is also how hawalas and hundis work. If you had an in-game system whereby any member of a worldwide org could take money out at any time, even in $US50 increments, that would be very handy.
4e. Code system? A way to distribute information in-game through scripted objects? I have no idea...
4f. Straight-up propaganda.
4g. Cultural training. As VWs get more and more realistic, it will give anyone from anywhere in the world the chance to "mingle" with people from all over. Which is, in the "peaceable kingdom" sense of things, great. I love to shake my booty with the girls from Argentina. But it also will provide an almost friction-free environment for people from Country A to pick up cultural and language cues from Country B.
4h. Earning money; outsourced income. It's very difficult, in many cases, for folks in the home-countries of any terrorist nation to earn money for their ops. But online? The boys will get RL AK-47s and the girls get to buy them by farming gold from WoW. That may not be realistic for certain groups we associate with terrorism currently... but that's not my point. You get a gang of a couple, ten-thousand URBAN terrorists in a place like Chechnya w/ broadband and a major political beef... that's a nice, quiet way to earn some bucks to put into the kitty.
So... I'm a marketing guy with an English degree whose expertise in terrorism consists of reading 2 Tom Clancy novels and watching 9/11 coverage along with everyone else. If i can think of "H" many things in 20 minutes (and, yes... I'm sure some of them are completely stoopid, so please, feel free to vivisect them), I'm sure that there are unique ways that SL and other VWs can be put to nefarious use.
Nobody is saying "Shut the doors!" Nobody is saying "VWs are bad!" It sounds like what some of us are saying is...
What might happen? How can the best of these new worlds (that we mingle here to discuss) be preserved, while keeping "bad mens" from using them to kill people? Sounds like a reasonable question for TN.
Posted Mar 7, 2007 1:43:09 PM | link
"Nobody is saying "Shut the doors!" Nobody is saying "VWs are bad!" It sounds like what some of us are saying is...
What might happen? How can the best of these new worlds (that we mingle here to discuss) be preserved, while keeping "bad mens" from using them to kill people? Sounds like a reasonable question for TN."
Fair enough. I'm not optimistic though. When I look at the measures taken to keep the 'badmens' from using other tools they all seem to also degrade the use by the 'good mens'. But there are bright people here, maybe they can come up with a way to have our cake and eat it too...
Posted Mar 7, 2007 2:35:10 PM | link
One particular aspect of MMOGs that is exploitable by organized criminals of both the traditional and terrorist flavor is the ability to move and store value electronically with little to no practical traceability. This is a problem that will solve itself over time; most likely as an indirect effect of taxation and litigation actions that necessitate more comprehensive, standard and auditable records.
But for now, only some slightly above average sophistication is required to inject and spread cash value through multiple titles, with the likelihood of retrieving most of that value later, anywhere in the world (that has broadband and MMOG consumers). The risks associated with storing value in RMT denominations is offset by the advantage of that value being harder to identify and confiscate than a Swiss account. Hell, even the "legit" gold farmers often use frighteningly sophisticated laundering and diversification techniques, and they're only dodging the operators anti-farmer squads, not planning Armageddon.
Posted Mar 8, 2007 12:07:33 AM | link
Andy Havens said:
3. He never said Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. There are other kinds, and some don't mind tech. And even the non-tech kind will often use tech in the furtherance of their goals.
Maybe not directly in the original article, but in his reply: Roderick Jones said:
What originally drew me to thinking about this was the story of two UK suicide bombers recruiting and meeting in an Islamic chatroom, plotting their attack and leaving an online suicide statement before attempting to conduct a real-life attack. It just seemed to me that worlds were blurring.If the article was intended/directed at general terrorism, then I’ll withdraw my first paragraph.
I have to admit most of your 4's aren’t completely out realm of possibility.
*B has some problems. Indoctrination tends to draw from a pool of already people were there is at least a shared base. VWs tend to be broad pools from all across, but that isn’t to say that you can’t find someone that shares your views in SL. There could be arguments about/against a VW that is setup with the intent to draw in the right pool (Crusade period VW to retake Jerusalem from the Christians for example).
*D, again I don’t disagree that it can happen. I just disagree with the singling out aspect.
*E, while overly complex, is possible. I believe there are simpler forms of transmitting the same information, that would be nearly as hard to crack or simply be seen as “noise” (Morse code imbedded into normal chatting).
*F, also shares from some of the same of B’s problems. Most VW companies do/would take action to remove this type of issue. But again, that isn’t to say a VW couldn’t be setup to allow this to happen.
Posted Mar 8, 2007 3:26:58 AM | link
Ever wandered why the Big Guys keeps meeting face to face ? Propaganda over the internet, yes, indoctrination , yes, mediatic war yes. Recruitment no.RMT no. Communications no.There is real life out there, real death too.If you're thinking that any sort of real terrorist will use - for any significant purpose - the enemy's totally controled environment, as the servers , ISPs , software ....get real. I bet Bin Laden doesnt use even cell phones . But ofcourse there are kids , playing " terrorist " , and the govts also needs to show some results ....Again , if some " antiterrorist " freak have nothing better to spend his worktime and taxpayers' money on , but searching for terrorist meetings in SL and for nukes money in EU ......lmao !
Posted Mar 8, 2007 3:51:43 PM | link
I'm sorry, do you people know any devout muslims?
Actually, do you know any muslims at all? I think not.
If you did, you could guess what their reaction to furry, paedophile and animated penis population of SL would be. But since you don't want to hear that, please carry on with your unjustified paranoia based on ignorance and bigotry.
Posted Mar 8, 2007 4:48:40 PM | link
I'm not sure what counts as "devout," but I know several Muslims, and a couple of them well, and had one on my staff several years ago. The two women I know (and the one in the past) do not (and did not) wear the hijab or jilbāb (at least they haven't/didn't in my presence), and so, I guess, wouldn't count as "devout," or at least "orthodox" by some outward standards. I haven't discussed issues of Islamic theology or orthodoxy with either them or the several Muslim men I've known. And so I wouldn't presume to know their thoughts on how their faith interacts with subjects like virtual furries, ambulatory pennii, etc.
Couple things, though. You seem to be painting the population of SL with just as wide a brush as you are that of Muslims. And while accusing us (me?) of ignorance and bigotry, you assume that all "devout" Muslims must have the same reaction to what purportedly goes on in SL. All devout Muslims must be anti-freaky-SL hoo-hah. Because, well... because... they're... devout? And we know what that means. It means they're all the same.
I'm a devout Christian. And while I don't care for some of the shenanigans in SL, I don't reject it as a whole, and I certainly don't reject any of the individuals there as people. And as to furries and animated penii... they kind of crack me up and don't really impact my devout Christianity at all. Why? Because my devotion to God isn't one that requires me to be a straight-laced, stuck-up, judgmental prude. Now pedophilia... that's a bad scene, of course. And depictions of such, in some jurisdictions, will get you in trouble. And pretending at such, I believe (as the son of a shrink), is probably a good sign that you need to get thee to a shrinkery yourself.
All that being said... even if a group of people didn't like what was going on in SL, if it was *useful* to their cause, do you think the fact that goofy, animated, startling pictures were prancing by would keep them from using the tool?
That's like saying that terrorists won't come to the good ol' USA because "devout Muslims" can't stand Disney World, cable TV, babes in short-shorts or pork.
None of which I said. And I specifically said that I was talking about the uses of VWs for terrorism in general, not related to Islamic-based terrorism of the kind we're getting in the news so much these days.
I am not paranoid at all. I don't fear Muslims, as a group, devout or otherwise. My pharmacist is a Muslim who does wear the hijab. If I was paranoid, I'd get my Relpax someplace else, neh? I do fear ignorance and bigotry, though. Some of which is practiced in the names of all religions, including my own.
We were discussing the uses of SL and other VW's for terrorist purposes. It's a communications medium. Communication can be used for all kinds of troubling things; and if you holler that you don't like that it's being used for furries, walking putzes and pedophiles, you've as much admitted as much yourself.
It's a valid discussion.
Posted Mar 8, 2007 7:33:40 PM | link
Roderick, as you can ( can you ? ) see , the " VWs guys " are not that easy to terrorize as one may dream.Cars have nothing to do with terrorism.Bombs have nothing to do with terrorism. Islam/Christianity have nothing to do with terrorism. Spreading fear and destruction have all to do with terrorism. I do know that LL and actually almost all of the VWs Companies have no accountability / liability if they " disclose " my real ID and CC infos and all, to anyone , including the CIA and Al Qaida. Probably to both of them , at the same time , for a good price; or under pressures from the " Patriotic Act ". Now i really feel a bit of....let say....fear.
Posted Mar 9, 2007 5:34:31 AM | link
I bet Bin Laden doesnt use even cell phones .
I'll take that bet. Disposable cell phones are one of the most widely abused forms of communication, not just by terrorists but also by mafia, professional burglars, tax fugitives, dead beat child care delinquents, and supremacist survivalists who spend all day putting liens on judges' properties.
Posted Mar 9, 2007 12:37:09 PM | link
randolfe_: I'm totally on your side on that bet. I worked doing PR/marketing for a lawyer who, as an assistant DA in the 80's, worked heavily with the DEA on anti-drug trafficking cases. In the aftermath of 9/11, what he and his clients in anti-terrorism companies and agencies were finding was that many of the same tools used by illicit drug runners (both technological and process/system oriented) were now being picked up by terrorist organizations. Some very sophisticated technology included.
Posted Mar 9, 2007 4:41:23 PM | link
You won ! Hurray ! Both of you ! Well now, let ask the Checheny's dead leader his opinion on that...you know, he was killed by a drone missile while he was using his cell phone . The missile was directed by the cell phone's signal.
Bin Laden example was just that, an example , meaning : one should better be very carefull when using the technology. Especially when that tech is not under your own controll . We all know of Communications Companies, illegaly selling private infos to all sort of entities. Pay a little attention pls : a VW Company is asking for " legally certified / stamped photo ID copies of Passport or any other international recognised ID " ; the player have to send his ID papers copy , stamped by an official authority. That Company does not accept a fax , but only the mailed paper.This sort of copy carry the full " power " of the genuine ID paper. AND : in that Company's EULA is stated ".....you aknowledge and agree that we are not liable for any mismanagement of your papers , even in the case of a misconduct of one of our employees" . Put is simple : you play a RMT " game " , then maybe you make a little fortune there - game's currency, valuable virtual items and such - then you wanna withdraw ; for doing this , you have to actually send your genuine ID papers , without any sort of warranties , checks / balances. Dont tell me that i could call the cops : i cannot ....there are no regulations in the matter, because " it's virtual ". So, before talking about player's terrorism , let talk about : who is protecting me against ID theft ? Who is regulating VWs in this matter ? Who stops the Company to sell my ID to Bin Laden ? Until now, as far as i know, nobody does.
Posted Mar 10, 2007 6:38:11 AM | link
@amarilla: You make a good point. I'm pretty squirrelly about even sharing my date of birth with online companies when establishing an account. I know I wouldn't send a copy of a Passport just to play an MMO or VW.
The flip side of people being able to use a communications media for immortal porpoises is that we have to be more careful of how we interact with it, and we have to educate folks (especially kids) in a new kind of literacy; media and social media literacy. When I was growing up in the 70's, it was enough to tell a kid not to talk to strangers or get in their car. Now? You can't really live a full, fun life withough "talking" to strangers, can you? What am I doing right now on this blog, if not talking to strangers? How do I do this, and enjoy that right/privilege as smartly as possible?
And how do we best reign in mismanagement of the controls without also curtailing our own, valued freedoms.
Posted Mar 10, 2007 10:45:00 AM | link
In the 70's , none of us faced the today's " technologies " : purposed and designed addictivenes, the use of social and psychological sciences and the manipulations of player's underconscient , in order to make the player willingly spend his money and freely give his ID .
None of us faced the wild exploitation of " lack of proper laws and regulations in the matter ". The situation is somewhat the same as at the beginning of cars traffic. My opinion is that the VWs should be regulated , more than today ; including for the reason and need of counter-terrorism. The " fix " starts from the head : regulate the Company's activity. They have the database , they have the power . I cannot educate my kids , not in an efficient manner ,in this matter, for a simple reason : i'm at work while they're playing the game , and also i dont " have " the Company's technologies. Kids are easy to influence , to manipulate, to form , using a game; a VW ; recently i've had a discussion with another player, in a VW ; it was about Muslims and Christians , about Iraq ; about Afghanistan;and i can tell you that games already are used for spread wrong attitudes , like : we the Christians against them the Muslims , we the whites against them the blacks , we the rich ones against the poor ones. Some VWs are an International phenomen , and are ruled by private Companies having the sole goal of making profit no matter of consequences. Nothing wrong with the goal of making profit ; but is wrong and bad when a private Company have the power-without any sort of checks /regulations- to manipulate IDs , young minds and large sums of money. I believe that i dont have to argue : each of you here at TN are more qualified than myself , including in the matter of what the terrorism is and how it could make use of VWs. Telling me that i have to be more carefull is not enough : i'm already addicted, immersed . If , using my " alt ", " avatar ", i'm going to shout hatred discourses and pro-terrorism subversions in a MMORPG , am i role-playing, having fun, or am i a terrorist ? If the Company is using my ID /Credit Card for terrorist purposes in the real world, am i under the Patriotic Act ? I am american, but the Company is not.If i create 50 fake accounts in SL and organize an antiamerican conference , or a holocaust denial, what are you going to do next ? Ban ? The harm is already done, the bad words are already spreaded. And you cannot trace me.
It's not about building bombs , nor about how to use them; it's about making ppls want to use them , and about teaching them the " target ". About teaching our kids that " we " are good and " they " are bad. About brainwashing our kids that " you are a hero if you killed that awful virtual monster who looks like a jew or a muslim or a christian , including all his team-mates , children and women ; just collateral casualities...now go to the next level ". We are rising a generation of youngs , wich are partially formed by playing games.Dont tell me that we played games too. The large and strong social ties in MMORPGs/VWs are different, the RMT is different ; all these are a challenges , including for antiterrorist matters. I wonder what LL gonna say :"....actually, whatever comes after the word ""Virtual"" it means ""it is not ""...." really ?!
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