The broader Second Life consumer backlash that many
predicted for 2007 (and actually occurred) may pale in
comparison to the regulatory backlash coming in late 2008 or
Marking what could well be the first resounding shot in a
full-fledged war on virtual worlds, and rich online environments in
general, US House Representative Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) extended his
crusade against online predators to the rapidly growing virtual
world of Second
Life , calling for “common sense reforms” that would make it
harder for predators to intermingle with youngsters.
In a May 11 interview with a
local news channel Kirk presented Second Life as “one of the
fastest growing websites on the planet” adding that he’s worried
“that they don’t properly screen for children.” “Parents should be
more aware of this,” he said. (cont.)
When discussing accelerating change I often remind people that technology is a double-edged sword. Reinforcing this mantra, a new bill, the Camera Phone Predator Alert Act, that would ban silent picture-taking via mobile phones to combat child exploitation has been presented to the U.S. House of Representatives.
The problem is legitimate and therefore requires what futurist John Smart would call an "immune system response", which may come in the form of a social, technological or hybrid solution.
But the proposed bill is invasive and a bit naive (not accel-aware) considering the quickly dropping component costs fueling an explosion in small devices sporting sophisticated cameras, video cameras and audio recording devices.
In other words, the problem is actually MUCH BIGGER than Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.), the author of the legislation, recognizes at this time.
In just a few years we'll have micro-devices capable of always-on, persistent video streaming. Many will argue that these are critical to their health (longitudinal life logs for doctors and software to analyze, prosthetic sensing for those who need it - or even those who don't), business (reality TV x 10, regional quantification efforts, selling feeds), education (process capture for superior feedback), social life (symbionts, real-time dating services), entertainment (mixing real-time feeds with other content, critical component of augmented reality), right to document history for future purposes and so forth.
On the flipside, this will further expand the abilities of predators, criminals and other social griefers. They'll be able to remotely operate arrays of micro-cams (a world of bugs), stalk people in new ways, hack massive amounts of personal data, etc.
An important element of the loss of U.S. global prestige and influence has been this country’s snubbing and flouting of international law and conventions.The latest example of this is the Cluster Munitions Treaty, which was signed in Oslo, Norway earlier this month by 94 countries, not including the United States. One of the 94 signatories was Afghanistan, which agreed to the treaty at the last minute in the face of intense pressure from Washington.