Krypton Radio Newswire
In the wake of Linden Lab’s nearly silent rollout of Facebook style profile pages two weeks ago for users of its online service Second Life, a new social network service seems to have come to the fore.
It’s actually been around for some time. Linkedprim.com is a Facebook-style social networking site for users of Second Life. Clearly deriving its name from the professional networking service LinkedIn.com, it has been in operation since July of 2009, so it appears to have been created about a year after the ill-fated “Avatars United” social networking site launched in March 2008 by Sweden-based “Enemy Unknown”, then bought by Linden Lab and closed in October 2010..
LinkedPrim.com seems to be a more simple concept than Avatars United was, focusing exclusively on users of the Second Life online service – but it has some of the same privacy issues that Avatars United had. There is a validation process – if you go to a specific location within Second Life, you can identify to the system that you’re who you say you are. However, it is very easy to spoof anybody’s name, and the unwary can easily be fooled into friending somebody they don’t actually know and sharing personal information with them. There are several cases of identity fraud on the site already, and there are bound to be more if the service continues operation.
That said, it does appear that the operators of the site have at least given some thought to the notion of privacy, in that detailed real world contact information is not collected.
However, there are more areas of concern: first, entire service appears to be owned and operated by somebody we could initially identify only as “Brota” – (Brota Kornfeld almost immediately posted to this article to let us know who he was and that they take this observations regarding safety of their site with some seriousness). Clicking on “Brota’s” profile in the service’s announcement posts only returns you to your own profile page, not “Brota’s”. There is no company name, nor even an “About” page identifying who the owners or operators of the service are. It isn’t until one searches a WHOIS database that one discovers that the site’s domain name is registered to:
Jorgensen, Janus firstname.lastname@example.org
Esbjerg V, 6710
We had originally thought this meant that the site runs on servers in Denmark, but that’s just the location of the person making the original registration of the domain. The fact is that the servers are in the United States, and they are, in fact, subject to United States privacy laws as Linden Lab’s Second Life is. Still, there is a section in one’s personal profile setup where you are encouraged to enter vital statistics about yourself, such as your real life age, the city, state and country you live in, your current relationship status, and your real life web site. Granted, it does not actually ask for your name, but this information is often enough for the dedicated internet troll to use it for stalking purposes. Krypton Radio advises caution in the use of this feature.
Social networking sites can be useful and engaging, but we hope our readers will use a little common sense with respect to social media services and give careful consideration to their safe and proper use.
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- The Wikipedia page on Avatars United
- Krypton Radio – Second Life Goes Live With Facebook Style Profiles Creating Privacy Concerns