Real Terror Cells Inside MMO Virtual Worlds?

Could that WoW gold farmer be helping fund Al Qaeda? Could a pair of avatars chatting in Second Life be secretly  planning a terrorist attack?

It’s an increasingly plausible scenario, according to intelligence expert Roderick Jones, who operates Concentric Solutions International. In an article for the Counterterrorism Blog, Jones writes:

While the makers of Second Life (Linden Labs) pursue an admirable utopian ideal these metaverse systems can potentially also be used by those seeking to pursue a radical agenda… The rapid and potent way in which communication takes place would seem to be an ideal platform for recruitment into radical groups, especially given the age range of those engaged in the world, which is typically 18-34…

Streaming video can be uploaded into Second Life and a scenario can easily be constructed whereby an experienced terrorist bomb-maker could demonstrate how to assemble bombs using his avatar to answer questions as he plays the video… Just as Real Life companies such as Toyota test their products in Second Life so could terrorists construct virtual representations of targets they wish to attack…

By far the most useful tool currently available to radical groups is the ability to transfer in-world money between avatars that can be translated into real currency…

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