We will shortly begin beta testing an age and identity verification system, which will allow Residents to provide a one-time proof of identity (such as a driver’s license, passport or ID card) and have that identity verified in a matter of moments.
Second Life has always been restricted to those over 18. All Residents personally assert their age on registration. When we receive reports of underage Residents in Second Life, we close their account until they provide us with proof of age. This system works well, but as the community grows and the attractions of Second Life become more widely known, we’ve decided to add an additional layer of protection.
Once the age verification system is in place, only those Residents with verified age will be able to access adult content in Mature areas. Any Resident wishing to access adult content will have to prove they are over 18 in real life….
Landowners are morally and legally responsible for the content displayed and the behavior taking place on their land. The identity verification system gives them new tools to ensure any adult content is only available to adults over 18 because unverified avatars will not have access to land flagged as containing adult content…..
The verification system will be run by a third party specializing in age and identity authentication. No personally identifying information will be stored by them or by Linden Lab, including date of birth, unless the Resident chooses to do so. Those who wish to be verified, but remain anonymous, are free to do so.
There is an extensive FAQ in the blog post. It seems that online life is going to get more complex. I wonder what vendor they are going to use for this. I wonder how it will work internationally.
The other thing I wonder about is how necessary is this. I kids are exposed to so much already. I am currently reading GenerationMe: Why Today’s Young American’s are more Confident, Assertive, Entitled – and More Miserable Than Ever Before by Jean M. Twenge. Some of the book talks about the current attitudes about sex and the sexual practices of young people. The Monica Lewinsky was all happening when they were in elementary school. They know what sex is and many many of them are doing it – lots are having oral sex (mostly the girls giving it to the guys) in middle school and by highschool many are sleeping around with a lot of partners ‘hooking up’ without really being in boyfriend girlfriend relationships. Yes they are doing it with their peers and not other adults but it is not like it is news to them. I am not condoning this trend of hyper sexually active young people. The number and range of these surveys means it is real not imaginary. I also don’t think they should have access to adult areas of Second Life. The issue is serious and I think there is a social dialogue about sex, its meaning would be a good thing to foster. It is a disconcerting to learn how casual it is being taken by youth however as the author points out imitating the way it is portrayed in the media. So what is the big deal with Avatars in a virtual world I wonder. I hope this question is not to much to ask and that I will not be harshly judged for having asked if we should ask this question.
Personally I gave up on SL 9 months ago for other reasons. I was fed up with downloading a new massive client to wander around an aimless 3D space. Then to top it all off the were hacked and you had to call them to get a new password. I also was annoyed the first thing you had to do was pick your name with some strange last name from a list they determined. Once you picked your name you couldn’t change it….it was the one thing persistent about you. I think online 3D has potential but I am convinced there will be worlds that leapfrog SL.
Here are some of the comments about the proposal on their site
I do not wish to have my personal information – my SSN or anything else, in the hands of a 3rd party organization – or even in the hands of SL. I am very cautious about what info I put out there – and considering how easily sites can be hacked, this is a security issue. Some of us have RL clearances and do not want more info out there – and as such – we will now be unable to access adult content? Let’s face it that’s why many of us put up a credit card for premium membership – to prove our age. Further proof is a burden on the players that we should not have to bear.
First, you should be aware it is illegal to require an individual to provide his/her social security number as a means of identification to anyone but the Federal Government. Second, if driver’s license and or SSN is provided to you or your agent you may become legally liable for the misuse, loss, or theft of that information for the purposes of fraud or identity theft. Good Luck.
A third party that LL trusts and isn’t giving us who this third party is, I’m taking issue with. The moment I give them my driver’s license, they will now own my name, address, license number, AND because I live in a state that puts the Social Security number on the driver’s license, they will have that as well. I’m not impressed with this action nor do I trust LL’s belief in this third party that they will not keep this data. Prove it!
“Driver’s license, passport or ID card” are you joking?
I think you need to come to grips with a few things. Half the residents in SL do not live in Puritanical America. Your ‘immature’ attitude toward sex and alcohol are not shared by the majority of people on Earth. There is no drinking age in most of Europe and Asia and most people look upon sex as a normal human activity.
What about those of us without passports, drivers’ licences or any form of national ID? You falsely assume that all adults have one of these things – not all of us drive, go abroad or live in countries with Big Brother-style ID card schemes.
The best bit IMO is we’re now expected to pay for the privilege of being treated like adults. Are we not mature enough to be given the responsibility of ignoring things we don’t want to see? The way I see it this system is good in theory but completely flawed in practice.
Once again, Linden Labs adopts a US-sentric attitude. US players only have to provide the last 4 digits of their Social Security numbers, while non-US residents have to provide a full National ID Number (whatever that is, and whatever countires use them) or a full passport number! What about people who have no National ID, or passport? What are they to do?
This sounds very heavy handed. It sounds like a roomful of lawyers, FBI Agents, and other law enforcement put the fear of Gawd in to Linden to have them take the extreme step of seeking partial social security numbers, and age verification via key documents. I believe the point has been raised the credit card verification is typically enough to meet age requirement guidelines.
As a UK resident, I do not feel comfortable about giving personal details to an as yet unamed data collection company, which I assume is US based.
With the current climate in the US as regards to Bush’s evesdropping on data communications to aid the War on Terror(tm), I do not want to end up on some US government database as belonging to a virtual porn-ridden community run by a bunch of subversive godless burnt-out californian commie hippies (Ann Coulter is hawt!!).