Second Life’s entertainment value has ensured its rapid and vast growth. This growth has changed Second Life into a virtual world with amazing new capabilities. The ever-expanding Second Life population has led companies to consider providing a Second Life shopping experience similar to that of real-life. This mimicry of real-life experience is creating a world from which real-life problems are arising. As we saw in class, real Second Life issues are ever-increasing; crimes encouraged by the internet’s anonymity, such as prostitution and pedophilia, are threatening the Second Life society. This raises the question of whether to regulate Second Life. Should there be a Second Life government? The psychologist from the video that we viewed in class suggested that Second Life be shut down as child predators are acting out their fantasies in the virtual world and then doing so in real-life. Would shutting down Second Life for all because of the abuse by some be considered a violation of people’s first amendment by taking away this collaborative creative expression?
There may be a way to keep Second Life running while discouraging acts of Second Life crime. Maybe there should be a police force, judges, lawyers and the like. It sounds absurd, but at one point Second Life did also. If actual retailers bring their stores to Second Life, then shoplifting could be introduced into this virtual world. Could avatars walk out with stolen goods and then be stopped by Avatar security guards and policemen? If a Second Life government is created, then what real-life people would be considered good candidates for these positions? Could it become a real government official’s role to perform their real-life duties on Second Life as well? Would the government be global and would the laws mimic those that govern real-life? What about the punishments for committing a crime? Would they occur to the actual individual or his or her avatar?
If this government were to be created, then this would mean that identification of some sort would be necessary. How might this effect privacy? Would this identification system leak over into the rest of the Internet? Might it be more beneficial to a Second Life gamer to have what Lessig refers to as a “least revealing means” system where only select information such as age is revealed, or a “one-card-shows all” system where information discloses your true identity by revealing information such as your name, address, and profession? How might this change in the code that Lessig discusses effect people’s Second Life experiences as well as experiences on the rest of the Internet? Furthermore, might an identification and regulation system change Second Life’s appeal, or do you think that people will continue to want to engage in this virtual community?