03 June 2007

Does Virtual Reality Need a Sheriff?

(Washington Post)
Second Life is intended only for adults, and about 15 percent of the properties on the site have been voluntarily flagged by their residents as having mature material. Though some is relatively innocent, in some locations avatars act out drug use, child abuse, rape and various forms of sadomasochism. The question of what is criminal in virtual reality is complicated by disagreements among countries over what is legal even in real life. For example, virtual renderings of child abuse are not a crime in the United States but are considered illegal pornography in some European countries, including Germany.