Linden Lab indirectly endorses possible federal criminals – who would have thought it?

The Emerald viewer is one of the Third Party Viewers (TPVs) registered with Linden Lab and allowed to connect to Second Life.  Down the last 12 months the developers of this viewer have sullied their reputations through unauthorised data collection of user login details, activities that would breach most consumer protection laws, unauthorised collections of data inworld and a few other activities that generally leave a bad taste in the mouth.  They brag and they sneer about it to anyone who points out their unacceptable behaviour and generally behave in a manner which reflects what they are – immature and dangerous kids.

No matter what these developers have done (including apparently originally creating a copybot viewer and at least one of the developers entering the 18+ grid when they were under age and with LLs knowledge and consent) Linden Lab have turned a blind eye.  Each time Linden Lab ignores the poor behaviour of the Emerald developers and each time the behaviour is worse.

This time they went a little too far – they used the Emerald viewer to commit what is apparently a US federal crime using by using the computers of all those who logged into Second Life during the period 8-17 Aug 2010 using Emerald to undertake a denial of service attack (DDoS) on a website that one of the Emerald developers had taken a dislike to.  This is no small number, 70% of the current SL userbase apparently uses Emerald as their access point to Second Life – a number supposedly confirmed by Google Analytics.

Modular Systems (the company who owns Emerald) called it “shenanigans”.  I call it a breach of trust and unauthorised use of a computer to commit a crime.  None of those users of the viewer during that period are probably even aware they are effectively accomplices to the crime and sadly even if they did know they probably didn’t care.  Even if they did care, LL has removed the link on their TPV page to report unacceptable activities of a registered viewer.  Do LL really think that by closing their eyes and putting their hands over their ears this will go away??  They can try to distance themselves as much as they like but they allow the continued registration of a viewer that has been identified previously as breaching the ToS (along with the developers as individuals), I just don’t understand why Linden Lab refuse to acknowledge how their reputation is damaged by this.

So, for those of you who use emerald and logged in between 8-17 Aug, be aware you are in theory an unwitting accomplice in a Federal crime.  Also remember they have some of your login details from earlier this year, I’ll lay bets they didn’t dispose of those details once they noticed the “oversight” that lead to the data capture and storage.

Philip Linden has said Linden Lab has an objective of bringing the majority of the userbase back to using a Linden Lab provided viewer – he wants to do this so they can roll out new features.  I’d say that it’s more imperative to do it to protect the users of Second Life who are unaware of the criminal activities of the Modular Systems developers and to protect the reputation of Second Life.

Although the chances are slim – Linden Lab has never felt a need to protect any of its users from the less ethical elements that are drawn to SL and I doubt that is ever going to change.

for more information go here.  I’m not going to link to the Modular Systems blog post nor to the site attacked, but I will link to this post, where the site owner talks about what some Modular Systems developers have been doing to harass him.  Also note that he mentions that the viewer user details were being disclosed – pretty serious stuff.

Suffice to say, if you do use Emerald then you should seriously reconsider your choice of viewer.  Imprudence and Rainbow are good alternatives – they have the majority of Emerald features (right down to the jiggly boobs) and I certainly believe Boy Lane (the creator of the Rainbow viewer) is above reproach.

Or of course you can look at other platforms.  Inworldz is coming along quite nicely. Yes, it’s still rough around the edges but of all of them it has the best chance of success and a lot of the Second Life content creators have moved or are in the process of moving in.

Am I the only person who is tired of Linden Lab luring people into Second Life and knowingly allowing others to take advantage of them?