Redzone: closure of a sort

As headlined by Tateru Nino, the RedZone farrago both returns and gains a measure of closure.

Michael Stefan Prime (Aka TheBoris Gothly and Zfire Xue) – identified as the man behind the RedZone tool by other SL users – has been remanded into the care of US Marshalls and a four-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to four out of seven charges of parole violation, specifically:

  • Associating with Shawn Cahill, a three-time convicted felon, in violation of standard condition 9 that he not associate with any person convicted of a felony.
  • Failing to allow the U.S. Probation Officer to inspect any personal computer owned or operated by the defendant in violation of the special condition directing him to do so.
  • Failing to notify the U.S. Probation Officer of all computer software owned or operated by the defendant in violation of the special condition directing him to do so.
  • Beginning employment without prior approval by the U.S. Probation Officer, working for cash, and engaging in employment that did not provide regular pay stubs in violation of the special condition directing him to do so.

Interestingly, as recorded in court documentation, the prosecution moved to dismiss three other violations when Prime pleaded guilty and waived his right to any evidentiary hearing relating to the four charges above. The three additional charges comprised:

  • Committing the criminal offence of Possession of Stolen Property 1st degree on or before March 23, 2011, in violation of the general condition that he not commit another federal, state, or local crime.
  • Committing the criminal offence of Trafficking in Stolen Property 2nd degree on or before March 23, 2011, in violation of the general condition that he not commit another federal, state, or local crime.
  • Associating with Shana Bobo, a three-time convicted felon, in violation of standard condition 9 that he not associate with any person convicted of a felony.

The first two of these charges relate to earlier convictions against Prime, although it is the third charge, relating to one Shana Bobo, that is liable to generate further speculation among SL users who have followed this case and the entire RedZone situation, given Prime’s involvement with a female SL user at the time of RedZone.

Details of the original case against Prime, which lead to his imprisonment and eventually the violation of the terms and conditions of his parole as a part of the entire RedZone affair, can be read on-line.

There are still issues surrounding this entire sorry affair – not the least of which are vulnerabilities within the Second Life software environment and the fact that four months down the road, Linden Lab still have yet to incorporate the Media Filter code that is readily available in all responsible TPVs, which can warn users of a potential threat to their privacy.

However, as far as RedZone itself is concerned, this will hopefully see closure brought to that particular sorry affair without people feeling the need to dig further into this individual’s past and engage in trial-by-forum, which came to undermine much of the good work carried out to try and stop such exploits and identify in-world sims where people could find themselves open to data-scraping by the RedZone tool.

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