Is Second Life really a haven for terrorists?

By Mark O’Neill

Second Life
“Oooh…hello, my legs seem to be stuck together here. Can you help me out please buddy?”

The name is Hultcrantz, Edmund Hultcrantz….at least I was last year when I tried Second Life for all of 30 minutes. Since then, I have heard lots of positive comments about the online virtual world. But today marks the first time that I have heard it being described as “seedbeds for transnational threats“.

The “intelligence community” (in other words, the good ol’ CIA) is apparently concerned that terrorists could use Second Life’s anonymity to move money around and also recruit new members in “virtual training centers” (which are seemingly untraceable). So if you’re in Second Life and a dude in a loud Hawaii shirt and an Afro haircut comes up to you, be cautious because he might be collecting donations for Al-Qaeda.

The concerns have been heightened as Second Life begins to grow at a staggering rate. Corporations and government agencies are opening virtual offices, economies are growing inside the virtual world and real money is being made. In fact so much money is being made that the IRS is concerned that there might be a bit of tax evasion going on.

But this line caught my eye when reading the article : “the intelligence community has begun contemplating how to use Second Life and other such communities as platforms for cyber weapons that could be used against terrorists or enemies”. Plus the CIA has apparently created a few virtual islands for “internal use”.

Typical CIA. Everyone gets a virtual gaming world going and the CIA immediately gate-crash the party to have virtual gun battles and secret code sessions.

** Note : the Washington Post article link in the first paragraph requires online registration to be able to read it. If you don’t have an account with them and you don’t want to register, you can bypass the registration page by using log-in details from Bug Me Not **

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3 Responses to Is Second Life really a haven for terrorists?

  1. I LOL when foreigners try to understand US Government entities. This article was not based on anything the CIA was doing- It was based on contractors working a project, in this case, IARPA. Its like a thinktank group working for your MI5.

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence_Advance

    When you see stories like this, its a desperate cry for more funding. Or perhaps a cry to cut funding.

    And I also think its more likely that terrorists will communicate with one another by keywords in common spam then in a virtual world.

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