Americans are already viewed by the rest of the world, and by other Americans, as being pretty stupid. Our politicians aren’t very bright, and unfortunately many of our residents aren’t much brighter. One thing we at least like to think is that the men and women in charge of protecting us at various organizations are at least competent enough to do their job and do it well. In this case, that includes the FBI protecting people from dangerous gang-related activity tied to Second Life, where gangs are suspected of recruiting and hiding out in one of the ugliest pieces of 3D software ever made.
Lindin Lab’s popular Second Life platform (as it’s not really a game per se) peaked in popularity back during the age of The Sims 2 and the emerging force known as World of Warcraft. Since then the online software platform, which enables developers and users alike to buy, sell, trade and create all sorts of stuff has come under fire for a number of things, including illegal gambling [via Tech Crunch] and prostitution.
The latest scandal to rock Linden’s Second Life falls in line with harboring gangs and supporting nefarious gang activity, including followers of the Insane Clown Posse known as Juggalos, according to Neowin.
One of the FBI’s statements about Second Life includes the following…
"A computer-based virtual world with a simulated environment where users inhabit and interact via avatars, or graphical representations the virtual world may depict a real world or a fantasy world. Users communicate through text-chat and real-time voice-based chat. Second Life provides versatility and anonymity and allows for covert communications. Because of its anonymity and versatility, gang members could potentially use second life to recruit, spread propaganda, commit other crimes such as drug trafficking, and receive training for real-world criminal operations."
All right, let’s really be honest…no gang smart enough to know what Second Life is would recruit from there. We all know that the only people who use Second Life are pedobears, trolls, corporate marketers and dildo collectors, and I doubt gangs would have much use for any of them. More than anything I’m under the impression that the FBI just wanted to let people know that gangs do use Second Life to bring shame and embarrassment to said gangs.
Nevertheless, using an MMO to communicate and setup trades, drug running operations and other gang-related or organized crime procedures would totally make sense. There’s even plenty of free-to-play Korean MMOs that offer up easy-to-access worlds and anonymity that any criminal with common sense could easily setup and use for business operations. Second Life just doesn’t seem like the way to go, especially if your aim is to stay on the down-low. But I’m sure the FBI is a lot more knowledgeable about how criminals would use video games for illegal activity than most gamers, so we’ll just have to trust that they know what they’re doing.
You can check out the entire report over at G4TV or read up on the Gang Threat Assessment with their annual PDF.