Linden Lab Official:Residents' privacy rights

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All Residents in Second Life have a right to privacy. This article describes three general activities that violate Residents' privacy; and discuss some other "borderline" activities that may cause privacy concerns.

Disclosure that violates the Terms of Service

Three activities violate the Second Life Terms of Service and will result in a warning, ban, or suspension from Second Life:

  • Disclosing personal information about another Resident
  • Remote monitoring of conversations
  • Disclosing private Second Life conversations

To report activities of this nature, file an abuse report.

Disclosing personal information

You may not disclose personal information about another Resident, including gender, religion, age, marital status, race, sexual preference, and real-world location. You may not use notecards, textures, chat, IM, forums, or any other means to distribute such information. Linden Lab will attempt to delete such privacy-violating content, if possible, and will apply appropriate discipline.

Exceptions include information:

  • Contained in the Resident's own profile.
  • That is patently false (for example, "Bob Avatar lives on Mars")
  • Provided via systems not controlled by Linden Lab; such systems are beyond the scope of the Second Life Terms of Service. For example, "Someone's posting Bob Avatar's address and photograph on their web page."

Remote Monitoring

Remotely monitoring inworld conversations (text or voice chat) without the knowledge or consent of all parties involved is a violation of the Terms of Service. If you feel recording a conversation is necessary, post a clearly-visible sign in the recording location so that all Residents who enter can see it.

KBnote.png Note: If you record a conversation, and someone complains, then the abuse team will determine if you provided sufficient notice to the Residents recorded. Proceed with caution, provide documentation on your efforts to inform all parties they are being monitored, and find a secure area before recording begins.

Disclosing private Second Life conversations

Sharing or posting a conversation inworld or in the Second Life forums without consent of all involved Residents is a violation of the Terms of Service.

NOTE: This does not include posting of chat to social media sites or other websites. Posting such logs on web pages, emailing them, or printing them out and posting them on utility poles in the "real world" -- are all actions beyond the scope of the Second Life Terms of Service. ; while that might be illegal, but those laws must be enforced by the proper law enforcement agencies.

"Conversation" means text that originally came from Second Life chat or Second Life instant messages. If it's totally unattributed, then it isn't considered disclosure. Additionally, Residents are not punished for sharing or posting a comment such as "Bob Resident said, 'You're the greatest!'"

Possible privacy violations

Snapshots or video

Screenshots or video taken without permission, in an area where Residents reasonably expect privacy, might violate Linden Lab's rules against disclosure; or, more generally, might constitute harassment. To be safe, be sure to get explicit permission from anyone you photograph or record.

See also Snapshot and machinima policy.

Using a scripted object to log chat

You may use a scripted object to log chat conversations as long as your actions do not conflict with Second Life's Community Standards.

KBnote.png Note: You must get consent to use a scripted object to remotely monitor or log a conversation.

Opinon surveys

Generally, you are allowed to collect information from other Residents via notecards, comment boxes asking for suggestions, or other means, as long as it doesn't violate the Community Standards or Terms of Service. This means, for example: You can't start dropping notecards on random Residents around you—that would be spam—but you can post a sign on your land that asks people to click it to take part in the survey. Or at least, ask someone personally if they're interested.

There are many ways to encourage other Residents to participate in sharing their opinions with you, and as long as any exchange of personal information is clearly voluntary and includes explicit consent of the person giving the information, there shouldn't be a problem.