Saturday, June 02, 2007

Does Virtual Reality Need a Sheriff? -

Does Virtual Reality Need a Sheriff? -
"Earlier this year, one animated character in Second Life, a popular online fantasy world, allegedly raped another character.

Some Internet bloggers dismissed the simulated attack as nothing more than digital fiction. But police in Belgium, according to newspapers there, opened an investigation into whether a crime had been committed. No one has yet been charged.

Then last month, authorities in Germany announced that they were looking into a separate incident involving virtual abuse in Second Life after receiving pictures of an animated child character engaging in simulated sex with an animated adult figure. Though both characters were created by adults, the activity could run afoul of German laws against child pornography, prosecutors said."
The very existence of such online games suggests a view of reality that is somewhat skewed to begin with. But while many virtual activities cross well into the area of poor taste, it seems that people are taking things just a bit too seriously here.

In a shrewd (?) move, the nation of Sweden has opened an embassy in Second Life. While this virtual "embassy" does not provide services that real embassies do, they point to information in the real world:
"STOCKHOLM - Sweden became the first country on Wednesday to open an embassy in the virtual world Second Life.

Created to promote the nordic state’s image and culture, the embassy does not offer any real or virtual consular services but provides information on its real world counterparts."
Personally, I have enough of a challenge living in the real world. Virtual worlds just don't attract me, but they obviously attract a large number of people.

Next thing you know, governments will find ways of taxing virtual assets.

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