The Dark Side of Virtual Reality

I’ve never thought of playing or visiting (or whatever it would be called) Second Life before. It’s just something that never really interested me.  After this week’s reading now I know that it’s more than just a game to some people. I didn’t realize that people could become millionaires, date, get married, assaulted or even raped. This has been quite an educational read this week; who would have known that a video game could be so seedy and dangerous?

After reading “Copyright and You: 
Ethical Issues in Second Life”, by Hope R. Botterbusch and R. S. Talab, my eyes were really opened to what goes on in the under belly of Second Life. In this article we are introduced to Miss Avatar, who is new to Second Life and is visiting this virtual world because she was attending a professional conference (holding conferences in Second Life is something that companies have started doing.). Miss Avatar decides to explore a little bit when she meet another avatar who offers to take her to see the more “fun” side of Second Life, but instead exposes Miss Avatar to the other side of Second Life, the shady world. The article goes on to say how there is little research conducted on the exploitation of individuals of Second Life “and what does exist discusses how cyber- terrorists exploited Linden dollars from a target’s avatar, and also hacked his/her PC.” Who would have known that playing a virtual reality game could lead to someone hacking into your computer and possible stealing your identity along with your possessions in real life?

Miss Avatar decides to play around with her appearance and selects a leopard fur skin, which has some kind of double meaning in Second Life. In fact, according to the article it explains how, “[f]urries are very different than human forms in Second Life; they are very frisky and tricky creatures and attempt to engage other furries in “fun” activities alluded to in the first scenario. Thus, resulting in Miss Avatar receiving unwanted advances from many male furies.

Miss Avatar goes on to meet a friend , Mr. Avatar (who later turns out not be who he says he is) and her avatar gets vandalized and she is harassed. After a while of being on Second Life she sets up a retail store which later gets “robbed” by Copybots. She in turn had to file a notification of possible copyright infringement, thereafter “[s]he then had to wait until real-world lawyers stepped in and adjudicated her case.”

After reading this article I am definitely not interested in visiting/playing Second Life.

 

 

 

 

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