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Linden Lab responds to Wonderland scandal

Linden Lab has responded to our request for comment about the Wonderland scandal with a statement. The statement was issued just minutes ago by Lewis PR, Linden Lab's external public relations handler. Lewis PR provides public relations support for a wide variety of companies and organizations.

"At present, we have no firm evidence of wrongdoing from our own investigations into Wonderland nor from our Abuse Report channel."

Linden Lab therefore has not acted on reports about the site from Second Life users and from Second Life's child avatar community (we are told that reports have been being filed since July) because they have not been able to find any wrongdoing.

Linden Lab's full statement follows, after the jump.

Second Life is a 3D virtual world in which all the content is created and owned by its Residents. It is used by individuals, businesses, non-profits and educational organizations to communicate and collaborate in an immersive and compelling way. All Residents using Second Life MUST assert that they are over 18 years of age and that they will abide by our Terms of Service which prohibit illegal activity and by our Community Standards which prevent broadly offensive behavior. While the vast majority of Residents abide by these agreements and use Second Life in a constructive fashion, as with any communications technology, such as email, the phone or the Web itself, some seek to abuse the system and behave in an offensive manner.

At present, we have no firm evidence of wrongdoing from our own investigations into Wonderland nor from our Abuse Report channel. There's nothing objectionable nor illegal in having a child-like avatar in itself and we must assume innocence until proof of the contrary. That said, Linden Lab is morally opposed to and has zero tolerance for child pornography, simulated or otherwise, within Second Life.

It is a primary concern of ours to keep Second Life a safe and legal environment. Second Life Residents are held to a clearly defined Terms of Service and Community Standards to prevent illegal and/or broadly offensive activities, and it goes without saying that anyone engaged in these activities will be permanently banned from Second Life. Additionally, it is important to clarify that when we discover minors in Second Life, or when their presence is reported to us, we terminate their access. Underage users are automatically directed to Teen Second Life, an area specifically designed for non-adults, and offering them a rich, creative experience collaborating with other teens.

In addition, Linden Lab is in the process of implementing age verification measures to require age verification for entrance to parcels with adult content. More information about this can be found here:
http://blog.secondlife.com/2007/09/18/identity-verification-and-flagging-parcels-for-restricted-content/.

In the rare instances of suspected child pornography of which we have been informed, Linden Lab immediately works to remove the offending content and involves local authorities where appropriate. At present in the US, we work with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and are open to working with similar authorities in other countries, such as CEOPS.

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Reader Comments

(Page 1)

1. I found it funny that when I went (teleported to the parcel next to it), a child AV had a BDSM group title and was in a "whipping fetish" group on that parcel. Oh my! =O

Posted at 1:10AM on Oct 31st 2007 by nimrod

2. Nimrod, that is guilt by association. Group membership does not make an Av bad.

Me? Well I was a child player but became adult due to the grief I suffered and needs which could not be met. I have a number of BDSM groups and I also have a number of Kid associated groups.

I still class myself as a Kid in Second life.

I am in child form just some of the time, yet I still carry the adult groups. I do not frequent sexual places in child form, I don't bring reputable tags into disrepute.

I dislike Wonderland, not for that they are expressing their desires, but because they bring decent kids into disrepute. Their selfish actions, in the light of LL and in particular Robin's failure to clarify a clear line, means we are put at risk.

Despite the fact I believe EVERYONE should have the right to express their kinks, perversions and desires in SL this, just in RL, must never be to the detriment of other people.

Wonderland is not evil, Robin Linden's lack of action is. If she thinks wonderland is acceptable then the FEAR of two like aged kid avatars being permabanned and deleted for PRIVATE sexual encounters in skyboxes that permeates the entire community and has shifted us off onto private sims is unjustified.

Robin MUST lay the policy out clearly. What is broadly offensive?

Posted at 1:55AM on Oct 31st 2007 by Jay

3. So we have communication channels closing and now we have double talk through one of the remaining channels. Are they trying to undermine the confidence of the world and their user base?

Given the current uproar about TV shows "faking it" in the UK, I'd be willing to bet every penny I own the story in the news was true. It might not be complete in the sense of not showing every second of the reporters Second Life, but it's fundamentally correct.

The person from the NSPCC on the news report was a bit less certain there's nothing objectionable about having a child avatar, but even with that, it's not what they were reporting. If Sky News or Channel 5 news can go in and find it that quickly, how can Linden Lab not? It strikes me that, as I commented earlier, there's overstretch in LL: someone didn't do the job, probably several people if there have been a steady stream of ARs. Will someone tell us what the process is internally so we can see where it might have gone this badly wrong?

Posted at 2:07AM on Oct 31st 2007 by Eloise Pasteur

4. Here it is:

Date: Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Violation: Community Standards: Broadly Offensive Content or Conduct
Region: Nemo
Description: Inappropriate ageplay vendors.
Action taken: Suspended 3 days.


Suspended 3 days? What happened to permaban and deletion? Have the kids been living under the NoSex rule since March for no reason?

What is the policy Robin? What is Broadly Offensive?

Posted at 2:27AM on Oct 31st 2007 by Jay

5. Not *at all* jay. I don't hate child AVs at all in SL, only when it becomes sexual. When someone switches from an adult AV, to a child AV, they BDSM group title should be changed with it.

Posted at 3:57AM on Oct 31st 2007 by nimrod

6. @nimrod, do you *really* always remember what tag you have on? I sure don't. Jay's point is well taken, i.e. that we should slow down and think before throwing stones, especially when these are based on false presumptions or mass hysteria.

I think it is LL's interest (and all of ours) to be *very* careful about going down the slippery and quite fascist road of "thought policing" interplay between consenting adults which does not harm anyone else. As to presumptions that virtual activities lead to real (illegal) activities, if you really believe that then there are a *whole* lot of movies and books we better start burning, from Agatha Christie to Ocean's Eleven. Even the US Supreme Court (hardly a bastian of liberalism) has recognized such virtual activities as protected free speech.

As the saying goes, "I may not like what you say, but I will fight for your right to say it." Well, there's a lot of stuff I don't like in SL (e.g. guns and violence), but I really don't think it's for me to tell other consenting adults what they can do or not do, so long as they're not harassing me.

Posted at 9:51AM on Oct 31st 2007 by Disappointed

7. Generally, Tigro, it happens as soon as it takes place outside the bedroom. Even private servers and the web start to run afoul of the law. Bedrooms have a certain sanctity by precedent, but a bedroom in a virtual world whether public or private doesn't have the same protection.

Posted at 10:55AM on Oct 31st 2007 by Tateru Nino

8. at which point two adults wearing good quality costumes while having "cybersex" becomes ilegal? this is bullshit why should people be punished for doing grownup stuff with other grownups that agreed with that?

LL really needs to open the grid ASAP so people can be free on SL as they are on the rest of the internet, that way people would have to respond to their own actions, if they do stuff that gets in the jurisdiction of some law, instead of havving loud people scaring LL while they are cleaning their guns :/

Posted at 11:11AM on Oct 31st 2007 by TigroSpottystripes Katsu

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