The expansion of phishing — because of the lack of an adequate identity infrastructure — in the virtual world is hardly surprising when Gartner claim that only four years from now, four-fifths of Internet users will have a “Second Life” in a virtual world. They also claim that four-fifths of Fortune 500 enterprises will too. This is all getting a bit serious. No wonder Linden Lab — the Second Life guys — are having to begin their own regulatory regime. They have announced new restrictions on how users consume and host content in Second Life, including a first “credential barrier”: users who do not pay a fee to verify their age will be restricted from accessing adult areas.
Meanwhile, Forum friend Steven Philippsohn, Chairman of the Fraud Advisory Panel‘s working group on Cybercrime (and contributor to “Digital Identity Management: Technological, Business and Social Implications”) says that “My experience has been that fraudsters migrate to areas that are most vulnerable,” said Steven Philippsohn, chairman of the panel’s cybercrime working group. “(They) always benefit where countries are loosely regulated, and this is an environment that is unregulated all together.” He’s quoted in a new report from the Panel which says that governments should apply real-world laws and regulations to virtual currencies in online worlds like Second Life to prevent potential money laundering, fraud and tax evasion. When the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (who run the Panel) start going on about Second Life, you know that virtual worlds are no longer the cutting-edge domain of the techno-hip. But I can’t help thinking that the typical drug dealer is much more likely to use 500 euro notes and illegal immigrants than Platinum Pieces and delivery elves. Or is it me that’s old fashioned now?
Incidentally, if you think that reading Reuters reports on web pages is soooo twentieth-century, you can pop into their office in Second Life by clicking on this SLurl (ie, Second Life URL).
These opinions are my own (I think) and are presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]