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Anonymity in Second Life? For what it’s worth. | VintFalken.com
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VintFalken.com

Anonymity in Second Life? For what it’s worth.

August 7, 2007 3:18 am

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Vint Falken: Anonymous?Reuters reports on Linden Lab complying with the subpoena requesting Catteneo’s real life identity data:

(Remember? The whole SexGen copyright/trademark/hack story?)

The subpoena requested Linden provide “the entirety of identifying information” the company has on the avatar, including Catteneo’s Internet protocol addresses and chat histories. Taney wouldn’t divulge the particulars of what Linden Lab provided, but said there was no apparent plan by Linden to fight the subpoena in court.

(Vint: As usual) Linden Lab declined to comment.

Over at Virtually Blind, Benjamin Duranske quotes an interesting article on American.com by Pejman Yousefzadeh ‘Virtual Reality Avatars are now real enough to be sued.‘ which suggests a change in the civil procedure to make it harder to force companies like Linden Lab to comply with requests for the real-life identities behind avatars:

For these reasons, when lawsuits involve subpoenas to uncover the identities of virtual avatars—or, for that matter, pseudonymous bloggers and blog commenters—both state and federal rules of civil procedure likely need to be reformed so that plaintiffs will need to satisfy some clear standard before they can force pseudonymous Internet users into the open.

My suggestion: Plaintiffs should have to discuss the merits of the case itself in a fashion specific enough to survive a motion to dismiss—and thus to justify discovering the identity behind a particular avatar. Having allegations drawn up in what lawyers call “specific and particular form” at the onset of litigation will help parties draft reasonable discovery rules—and the protective orders that would likely accompany those rules—to treat both sides fairly.

So, I get from that ‘first check if the complaints/whatever are legit, and only then fetch RL identity’? Or am I mistaken? Seems more logical anyway. Now Catteano’s RL information is with the court (and the people suying him?) without knowing  for sure that he even did something wrong. No?

7 Responses to “Anonymity in Second Life? For what it’s worth.”

dandellion Kimban wrote a comment on August 7, 2007
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It sounds that way to me. But, I am better in reading typonese than lawspeak. So, it might be that, once again, I am reading what sounds logical to me not what is written.

Dalien Talbot wrote a comment on August 7, 2007
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I would have been very surprised if LL did *not* comply.

The only secret information is the one in the head of the person who did not say it, the rest can be assumed to be known more than just by the intended recipients, with bigger or smaller probability.

Veyron Supercharge wrote a comment on August 8, 2007
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Generally in the US legal system, a plaintiff files a John Doe (anonymous) lawsuit against someone. Then a judge decides if that person’s identity needs to be discovered, then they can grant a subpoena. Linden Labs was probably presented with a valid one. The anonymous person can then be (anonymous, except of course to their own lawyer) try to quash the subpoena themselves.

It of course gets tricky. The RIAA cases are the best example of this sort of activity. LL is actually more likely to side with Stroker (the plaintiff) and the defendant, who sounds like in the court of opinion has been a naughty boy….

Kailie Quinn (Katarina Malthus) wrote a comment on August 13, 2007
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As for the blog post, I have to say, I’ve known for years what it means to not be annonymous, I’ve had federal security clearance for projects I’ve worked on, I’ve seen footprints of snooping, and I have to say ,if you aren’t doing anything you need to hide, you have nothing to be afraid of. (If the fbi wants at my porn collection, I’ll beamfile it to them)

People need to realise that this is very much the real world. Just because the internet provides a small cloak of annonymity from the average user does not make you anywhere near annonymous. This supposed annonymity emboldens people to perform actions they otherwise wouldn’t. Regardless of the specifics, rights/wrongs and legality of the issue at hand, you should know that if you are connected to the internet you are not annonymous.

All you need in most cases to get someone’s identity is an ip address and a timestamp. The ISPs have been required for years to give immediate and full disclosure in the US of people’s private information. It may seem a bit nazi-ish, but the kind of rampant vigilanti-ism, and illegal acts inspired by a percieved invisible wall between the common internet user and the real legal world has been a problem for years.

loki wrote a comment on August 13, 2007
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@Kailie/Katharina: I’m sorry this is utter BS. All they can catch is unknowing users doing stuff from their own pc because they don’t know any better. If you really want to do malicious stuff and you have half a clue … pick your vic … plenty around…
As usual small fish get caught, big sharks swim free …

Kailie Quinn (Katarina Malthus) wrote a comment on August 16, 2007
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And whom do you think I’m referring to? Maybe key on the operative word, ‘average user.’ The people who are getting caught are certainly not top level crackers and security experts. These are not the people sitting on message boards spamming bs that could potentially get you in legal trouble.

Perhaps you should read my comments before decrying their validity.

Just how did he get the bed?! | VintFalken.com sent a pingback on October 28, 2007
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[…] Using subpoena’s Kevin Alderman’s lawyers were able to obtain IP data for Volker Catteneo.  By now they found out how they ‘doubled’ the SexGen beds by crashing a sim to cause […]

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