March 17, 2011

The Redzone Saga

For the past month, like the guy in the Geico commercial, I've lived under a rock -- at least as far as Second LIfe is concerned. I won't bore you with all the reasons but it's mostly due to my interests in Second Life shifting from content creation to just enjoying and being with friends. It's also because I'm more caught up in real life (as we all should be).

Anyway, today when I logged in, several of the merchant and fashion groups were literally buzzing with chatter around "Redzone" and the banning of it and its creator, zFire Xue (and his alt TheBoris Gothly)
from Second Life. Normally these groups are slow (ok they're dead Jim), but today it was like a non-stop stream of consciousness flow. Yikes!

I've been marginally aware that Redzone is/was a product supposedly designed to prevent copybotting and that many merchants in SL used it or CDS to patrol their stores. But as I started reading the group chatter, the terms "password theft", alt exposure, privacy violations, etc. kept showing up and it all started sounding very spooky.

Being a curious kitty, I did a little research. All I can say is OMG! It's like a geek version of the Sopranos.

It turns out Redzone was probably little more than an elaborate scheme to facilitate password theft, griefing, alt exposure (and maybe blackmail), credit card theft and data mining. According to several blogs and forums, zFire Xue is a convicted felon in real life.

Today, after being presented with all the evidence by a very activist anti-Redzone crowd, Soft Linden and Linden Labs stepped in with a modified Terms of Service to make sharing alt information without consent a violation, banned zFire and his products, and shut down the sim they were on.

Sadly, as Theia Magic points out in her blog, this won't end the problem because the very thing that makes programs like Redzone work exploits flaws in how Second Life handles streaming media and audio. Those flaws aren't likely to be fixed any time soon meaning anyone with mad skillz can make their own Redzone. Plus, the idea that copybotting can be solved through the methods supposedly used by Redzone and others is just silly. Anything that must be rendered on the local PC can be captured and copied. Deal with it.

Anyway, it all makes for interesting and distracting reading. For an incredibly detailed summary of issues, events and stuff, read the SLUniverse summary thread here. It will turn your brain into cottage cheese.


  1. Snickitty, avoiding most of SLUniverse is kinda like avoiding London during the Black Plague.... often a wise thing to do. =^..^=

  2. LOL Brinda. But I do like Snapzilla. :D


All thoughts are welcome.