Second Life has rich media content: music and videos can be enjoyed in-world through the media players included in the Second Life Viewer.
While the media capabilities in the Viewer are very flexible, it is important to remember that they can also be used by others to capture information about yourself without your knowledge – and that this information can easily be transmitted to databases outside of Second Life and outside of Linden Lab’s control.
Because of this, the majority of Second Life Viewers now include a Media Filter that is designed to help you check the media requests you are receiving and determine whether or not you wish to accept them.
The link below will take you to a Notecard that explains how to use the Media Filter, and provides guidelines on how to recognise potentially dangerous media requests as they are received by your Viewer.
If you prefer not to use the media filter, but are concerned about media streams being used to gather information on you, you may wish to disable the media functions on your Viewer entirely. The link below will l explain how to do this for your Viewer.
Media and Privacy FAQ
What is media streaming?
- Media streaming is a means by which music and video can be directed to your Viewer for your enjoyment from sources outside of Second Life
- The music you might hear while visiting a store, the music you hear at a live event, and videos you watch on an in-world TV screen – all these are sent to your Viewer via a media stream that can originate anywhere outside of Second Life
- The same is true for any websites, videos and so on shown through the Media On A Prim function within Viewer 2.
Why is this a risk?
- Because there is no absolute way of knowing where such a media stream originates. Almost all streams offered in Second Life are perfectly legitimate and offer *no* threat to you
- However, because of the way Second Life operates, it *is* possible for people to abuse the system and use a media stream in an attempt to gain information on you without you being aware of it
What information are they after?
- So far the main attempts in misusing media streams have been to obtain the IP Address – the digital “identity” assigned to your computer – that allows it to communicate over the Internet. In the same sense that someone needs your mailing address to send you a letter, a remote computer needs your IP address to communicate with your computer.
Why do they want this?
- For a variety of reasons.Some believe that linking IP addresses with avatar accounts allows them to link accounts to one another – identify if you have any SL alts and who they are. Others might use the IP information to try and identify where in the real world you reside; there are many reasons for the unscrupulous to gather and link such information.
Is it entirely accurate?
- To be honest no; for some it could be more accurate than others. IP addresses work in a number of ways, and this makes such systems questionable in their accuracy
- However, the fact that people are prepared to go to these lengths means it is advisable for you to take steps to be aware of what your computer is being asked to do.
Does using the Media Filter automatically protect me?
- No. It acts as an advisor, letting you see what is going to on with your computer when it receives a request to stream media to you. It helps you evaluate whether or not you should accept a request from a media service located outside of Second Life
- To further help you make a decision, these Notecards include some guidelines on how to identify potentially malicious media requests
- But the final choice of what to do remains with *you*. At the end of the day, nothing can be 100% “safe” in Second Life. However, the Media Filter will help you make informed choices and help you to protect yourself.