Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Child Abuse In Second Life

This is an interesting variation on a theme. A report from the BBC (see report) tells us that the German authorities are investigating Second Life (Linden Labs) over an alleged trade in under age sex on Second Life. Under European law, the directors of Linden Labs would be responsible for the conveyance of illegal pornographic images, even if they were unaware that these images were being traded from their servers. Looking ahead, if it proves to be the case that Second Life is becoming a harbour of criminality, I wonder how long it will be before it is closed?

1 comment:

Stephen Aguilar-Millan said...

Perhaps I wasn’t making the point very clearly. The BBC report alludes to three activities in Second Life:

1. ‘Age play’, as you correctly described. I’m not sure where the law is on this one. My guess is that it would be sufficient to prevent a person from being allowed in a position of responsibility with children in the UK. The BBC report states that, under German Law, this activity is illegal.

2. There is the allegation that real child pornography (i.e. non-avatar images) was being screened in the Second Life group. If so, this is contrary to EU law. My point here is that, if this were true, then not only would the participants be criminally liable, but also the directors of Linden Labs.

3. There is the allegation that the Second Life group provides an on-line meeting forum where the object of the group is the dissemination of child pornography. Once again, if so, this is contrary to EU law. In this case, such activities are defined as Child Abuse.

This is all by the by as it still actually misses the point. My point was that if Second Life becomes a harbour of criminality (there have been allusions to money laundering, the BBC report alludes to Child Abuse), then at what point will Second Life change beyond what it is today, if only to protect the directors of Linden Labs from the consequences of providing a platform for that criminality?