Gov't Says Second Life + Online Anonymity = Terrorism

from the oh-really? dept

Just as our courts on continually pointing out that anonymity is protected free speech, it appears that the federal government is trying to do away with anonymity entirely. We’ve already pointed out that National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell has been saying that the government should be able to monitor all internet communications. Now, the government’s Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity has come out with a fear mongering report trying to suggest that online anonymity in 3D worlds leads to terrorism. It highlights things like Second Life as a breeding ground for terrorism. It’s all quite scary if it weren’t for the fact that it’s totally baseless. There’s no evidence at all that this kind of activity is happening in world’s like Second Life. In fact, the report buries a quote from an anonymous (ha!) intelligence official admitting that there’s no evidence whatsoever that any such activity is happening at all. As the EFF points out in the link above, private communications online are nothing new. The fact that they might take place in a 3D virtual is totally meaningless — other than to suggest that there are folks involved in national “intelligence” who aren’t that intelligent at all.

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Comments on “Gov't Says Second Life + Online Anonymity = Terrorism”

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Thom says:


Option 1) Publicly proclaim that Second Life and such are breeding grounds for terrorism, argue the need to monitor all such traffic, and then use literally millions of times more computer resources trying to do so while any terrorists go elsewhere.

Option 2) Get a few second life accounts, send agents in to find and infiltrate existing groups in this anonymous environment or “promote” ideas which will draw such individuals to them.

Government chooses option 1, an expensive, overreaching, unmanageable act of stupidity over option 2, the time tested and proven intelligence tactic. No big surprise, the mark of the beas^k^k^k Bush and Company is all over this one.

Anonymous Coward says:

Article said...

Article said that could be happening, but there was no prove as of yet that it has happened. Part of the CIA’s job is to research areas where terrorism could take place, but then again, if it was up to Mike he would just make a SWOT analysis and charge a $1000 bucks to the government for his brilliant analysis.

world worry (profile) says:

Re: john canada

You know, I understand the U.S. is making a world-wide a$$ of itself thanks to politician, but to every other net savvy person on the globe, this actually affects you too..These stupid laws are not aimed just at american, but ANYONE that connects to a server that can be claimed to reside in america. These politicians are going to try to use the wonderful 6 degrees of separation by saying if you can pay with american money to join said virtual environment, then that means the finance server is touching american soil, and thus it affects american xenophobia. It is unfortunate that the backlash of narrow minded McCarthyism actors is going to affect not only what one country does, but start the dividing line all over again, all over the globe. The walls are already being built, both real and virtual, and soon border checkpoints will start again, both real and virtual. You can scoff, but take a look at each county’s legal system and see how many court cases are influenced but the dictatorship of the U.S.

Sokol says:

Re: Re: john canada

Why must these wacko’s always try to comdem this great country? We continuously aid just about every nation on this planet and have this type of response from the not un educated, but severly miss informed populous. Look at Germany, they complain, we say ok well move our bases out of Germany and they panic, and ask us to stay. IMHO we should stop all aid to yes even canada, and stop helping you people in any way sheesh.

My Name Here says:

If cocaine can get across the border and poison the people here in the US, and nothing can be done about it. What good is there in spying on people in a virtual world? With the off chance that they find any thing that will make me safer at what cost does this come? More freedoms gone, my tax dollars for this? Annonymity doesn’t make somene a terrorist, and apparently being the National intelligence director doesn’t make someone intelligent.

Anonymous Coward says:

Oh come on....

Does anyone here actually think that the US government honestly believes that terrorism is being bred in Second Life? Complete and utter tosh. They just want to monitor everything, and are using the word “terrorism” to scare the average American into not contesting their decisions. Which has already worked several times.

Alimas says:

Re: Oh come on....

Those in charge might not actually believe that terrorists are hiding in “second Life”, but they are clearly stupid enough to think that the animosity versus us in the world really does have nothing to do with our foreign policies.
And so does our pathetic populace.
And thus the “terrorist” sentence additive works so well.

Andrew Yu-Jen Wang says:

Speaking of terrorism:

George W. Bush committed hate crimes of epic proportions and with the stench of terrorism (indicated in my blog).

George W. Bush did in fact commit innumerable hate crimes.

And I do solemnly swear by Almighty God that George W. Bush committed other hate crimes of epic proportions and with the stench of terrorism which I am not at liberty to mention.

Many people know what Bush did.

And many people will know what Bush did—even to the end of the world.

Bush was absolute evil.

Bush is now like a fugitive from justice.

Bush is a psychological prisoner.

Bush has a lot to worry about.

Bush can technically be prosecuted for hate crimes at any time.

In any case, Bush will go down in history in infamy.

Submitted by Andrew Yu-Jen Wang
B.S., Summa Cum Laude, 1996
Messiah College, Grantham, PA
Lower Merion High School, Ardmore, PA, 1993

I am not sure where I had read it before, but anyway, it is a linguistically excellent statement, and it goes kind of like this: “If only it were possible to ban invention that bottled up memory so it never got stale and faded.” Oh wait—off of the top of my head—I think the quotation came from my Lower Merion High School yearbook.

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