Over the weekend I had a couple of additional questions about RedZone that I hoped Linden Lab would be able to clear up for me. One was word that RedZone had Linden Lab’s endorsement or approval. The other was whether a consent-by-inaction system would satisfy the Second Life Terms of Service.

If you want the super-short version, that’s a no on both counts.

Now for the slightly longer version.

There’s been word going around that Linden Lab officially approves of the RedZone service and that a public endorsement of RedZone is forthcoming from Linden Lab. Some people say that zFire Zue Xue said that, but I cannot properly verify that that is the case. I asked the Lab anyway. “No,” said the Lab’s official spokesperson, “we generally do not endorse products or services provided by our customers.” No endorsement or support will apparently be forthcoming.

The second, and more interesting question was about consent. Last week had some interesting back-and-forth. The Lab changed the Terms of Service to include a requirement for consent for sharing information about alternate accounts, which seemed to put RedZone on the back-foot. The new version of RedZone (v4.19) contains an optional that asks for consent so that it can display your alt information if a user asks, but in all other ways functions as before, collecting and employing data. Yet another option throws you out (by teleporting you home) in 60 seconds if you do not provide that consent.

However, there’s a comment reportedly from zFire Xue Zue that suggests: “I will make more stand alone objects, free for zRZ owners, that include auto-consent functions if they remain in the sim 60 seconds or longer after being given a notice that they must leave within 60 seconds or will be considered as accepting consent. 60 seconds is more then enough time.”

But would such automated you-consent-by-taking-no-action constitute consent that is acceptable to Linden Lab under the Terms of Service/Community Standards?

No, that would not constitute consent,” says the Lab, which seems to settle it.

That could lead to an interesting situation. If such objects were distributed, then RedZone customers who actually rezzed them would be in breach of the Terms of Service – but that wouldn’t stop those objects setting consent flags in the RedZone database anyway. That would leave the RedZone service with some amount of consent that was ostensibly false, but could not be distinguished from genuine consent, which might or might not be treated as tainting the whole service as far as compliance to Second Life’s Terms of Service go.

Data collection and security systems of all sorts attract the highest levels of scrutiny in Second Life, as do the operators of those systems; either way, Second Life users are going to hold them to the highest standards, because those systems and those people are storing and using data that users feel sensitive about.

As such, RedZone and zFire Xue Zue bear watching to see what happens next.

* Insufficient coffee. I got zFire Xue’s name wrong throughout. Fixed.

Update: Linden Lab has removed RedZone from the Second Life marketplace, and removed its inworld vendor (twice).

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