Friday, October 5, 2018

News in Brief

There has been quite a bit going on lately in Second Life and the Internet. Too much to go in-depth for all of them, and some have been around for a few days. So here's some of the stories, in brief.

Facebook Hacked: Last weekend, Facebook announced fifty million accounts had been exposed and vulnerable by a "security issue" due to a "vulnerability" in the social media app's code. Although Facebook's owner Mark Zuckerberg insisted the problem was fixed, others such as Virginia Senator Mark Warner called for increased regulation to protect the public's privacy and security.

BBC, Mashable, Mark Warner Twitter

Net Neutrality Lawsuit: The US Federal Government filed suit against California earlier this week over the state's Net Neutrality law. Despite 200 businesses and trade groups asking them not to do so, last December, the FCC voted to scrap Net Neutrality protections. Several states responded by setting up their own net neutrality protections, California's being among the toughest. In the lawsuit, the Justice Department charges California's actions are a violation of the Constitution. In response, one of the people who wrote California's protections charged that the state's law was written in response to the Federal Government abandoning it's obligation to help protect public access to the Internet.

Petition at , ars.technica, Washington Post , The Verge

Internet Throttling Has Begun:  Adding fuel to the fire behind the efforts of California and others trying to bring back Net Neutrality protections was a report written about last month that confirmed major Internet Service Providers were already throttling Internet traffic through Youtube, Netflix, and other places. Verizon is already in trouble for throttling the communications equipment used by California firefighters while they were working to stop wildfires.

The Humanist Report , Bloomberg , The Guardian

Leaving Behind One's Avatars In Their Will:  Blogger Ryan Schultz, who writes about Sansar and other virtual worlds, recently announced that he might have cancer. In response, he says he will be putting avatars he made in his will so they can still be used after he dies. While people interested can contact him inworld, he doesn't plan on leaving avatars that took a lot of time, sometimes money, to make to just anyone. (first update) (second update) (third update)

Hat Tip: Hamlet Au

Star Trek RP Worries: A virtual recreation of the USS Enterprise from Star Trek: The Next Generation was ordered taken down by lawyers from CBS, prompting worries from New World Notes' Hamlet Au that they might go after Star Trek roleplays in Second Life soon as well, despite an agreement several years ago.

Eurogamer, New World Notes

Second Life Sims Still Growing: In late August, the Newser noted that five of the past seven weeks then had seen an increase in the number of private sims. According to Tyche Shepard in Sept 23, the increases have been continuing "an additional 45 regions since 31st Dec 2017 , a 0.3% growth and overall the Total Grid has regrown to the the size it was in April last year." But a week later, he stated five sims had closed, bringing the growth back down to 40 sims and 0.2% .

Source: Virtualverse  Hat Tip: Daniel Voyager

Gossip/Slam Blog Owners Banned: New World Notes reported a couple weeks ago about the owners of a blog called "SL Secrets." The blog allowed anonymous users to make all kinds of claims about those they didn't like from copybotting to fat-shamming to catfishing to ageplay. From the point of view of content creators, it was a potential cause of lost revenue through charges of ripping off others in which the accuser would be completely unknown. The two co-owners were reported to have been banned by Linden Lab from Second Life citing violations for several sections, including 5.3 which Hamlet Au called "the nuclear option," stating, "We may terminate your Account if we determine in our discretion that such action is necessary or advisable to ... protect the rights or interests of Linden Lab, the Service community or any third party." More recently, the owners have decided to remake their blog to cover territory beyond Second Life, called "Virtual Secrets." The co-owners insist they're doing so to expand their coverage and not because of a lawsuit by Linden Lab to remove the "SL" part of their name.

Source: New World Notes

New Avatar Review Website. Some fans of furry avatars may remember "Second Life Avatar Review Files," or SLARF. It used to have a large database of reviews of furry avatars, but stopped updating in 2015, and is now accessible in the Internet Archive after being taken down from the net. Blau Rascon is now doing a new blog of avatar reviews: The "Second Life Avatar Index." Already, there are several reviews of recent furry and feral avatars.

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