Second Life is the New Afghanistan?


Spies watch rise of virtual terrorists | NEWS.com.au (via techcrunch)

Thank News Corp for breaking the shocking story of cyberjihadists using the internet, Second Life specifically, to coordinate and train for real-life attacks on us primitives (infidels, spheres, cubes…)

Apparently, with the high level of realism SL provides, both in virtually recreated locations and guns, it offers a great alternative to those old terrorist training camps we’ve now shut down.

Good grief. This is now the second major consumer-level application I’ve worked on that "terrorism experts" have branded a threat to our vital security. I think I’ll retire now, lest I accidentally destroy the world. Up next, Disney’s Cyberspace Mountain is being used by terrorists to design — and ride — their own virtual rollercoasters of destruction.

Never mind that using a mouse and keyboard is no substitute for real military training, or exercise for that matter. Never mind that one can get a better feel for coordinated tactics playing Counterstrike (that secret is out of the bag, I’m afraid — America’s Army is the only truly terror-safe video game because both sides appear as the good guys, thus denying terrorists a vital verisimilitude in training for evil acts.)

I suppose the one good thing about terr’sts using SL is that they’ll be easy to monitor, rate negatively. And if they act up, we can go in and grief the hell out of them.

  1. #1 by Daniel on August 2, 2007 - 12:59 am

    It doesn’t necessarily strike me as odd. Are the players based in the UK, by chance?

    I do know of the possibility for one ‘Society’ in Entropia Universe that may be using it as a strategic playground. But that can’t be confirmed due to the anonymous nature of the players.

    I can, however, see where the possibility exists, depending on the platform. In the case of Entropia, however, it’s an actual fantasy scenario with un-worldly creations — thus, I don’t see it as a place to do simulated training. There are far better games that simulate real-world environments and that are not networked, which anyone can gain strategic principles in war gaming.

    For example — just download any of the US military branchs’ games. They’re far more adequate in training than most of the games I’ve seen out on the market.

  2. #2 by Bryan Alexander on August 12, 2007 - 10:51 am

    Since 9-11 just about every electronic medium has been seen as a terrorist venue. Email, blogs, digital images (remember the steganography panics?), MMOGs, you name it.

    It’s partly a component of the larger pattern, of seeing a new medium as scary, uncanny, containing things the speaker fears.

  3. #3 by Daniel on August 13, 2007 - 4:28 am

    Bryan, I still remember when Pong and the Atari 2600 were considered a ‘threat’ by the paranoid.

  4. #4 by avi on August 13, 2007 - 5:13 am

    Rock ‘n Roll was also considered a threat in the early days (and Rap, etc…). But I think the closer analogy in history was the Red Scare, where Hollywood was the alleged subversive agent.

    Somehow, movies were ascribed so much power that they could topple the US by conveying mere thoughts. The main similarity is that the people who fear these things have so little confidence in our ability to withstand challenges, real and imagined, without falling apart.

  5. #5 by Daniel on August 14, 2007 - 11:01 pm

    Avi, This is why you’re in my frequent reading list.

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