Save Us From Our Cyber Selves

Via Slashdot, this item about Linden Labs shutting down all gambling activity within online community Second Life. The long arm of American law now reaches around the world to affect anyone processing payments through American banks, or anyone operating servers in the United States.

Online gambling is illegal in the States, and the FBI had been running an investigation into Second Life to determine if it was breaking any laws, so it’s good to see that the war on terrorist funding has not been in vain. Obviously.

No word on whether this will appease the FBI or whether they will demand arrests of either Linden staff or gamers. But don’t expect Linden to stand up for your privacy if they come after you – Linden’s new Terms of Service states they will comply with all subpoenas from law enforcement to give away as much information about you as the Feds require.

I recently discussed why religions oppose risk-taking along with countless other universal human traits (previous post). Hence it’s no surprise that our priest/president Bush banned internet gambling last year. But now, this misguided policy’s impact has been extended to the virtual cyber world. The whole point of creating such a world was to escape from some of the strictures of real life and find an imaginary place to play. As we can see, however, wherever humans go, so go religions and their misanthropic prohibitions. Word is, religions are also starting to do a brisk business inside of SL.


Of course, none of this can be hurting the legal US gambling havens such as Vegas, Atlantic City or tribal casinos. Almost makes me think there might be have been some convenient collusion on their part with the religious status quo. And also to wonder about the heavy lobbying which must have been done by these groups in favor of the internet gaming ban. Could religion be guilty once again of providing cover for the moneychangers?

Who’d a thunk it?

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