Tilia has officially launched operations with Second Life*

Logos © and ™ Linden Lab and Tilia Inc.

Tilia Inc, the a wholly-owned subsidiary of Linden Lab formed in 2014 and focused on payments and the compliance work associated with operating virtual economies, including Second Life and Sansar, officially commenced operations in respect of Second Life on Thursday August 1st, 2019.

Linden Lab reminded users of this via an official blog post, Tilia Officially Begins Operations Today in Second Life.

In my summary of the Tilia Town Hall meeting of Friday, July 12th, I attempted to précis the impact of the changes and how they affect people with a simple set of notes. I’m reproducing that table below, updated with information from the Lab’s August 1st blog post, in what I hope is an easy-to-follow guide.

How Do the Tilia Changes Affect YOU?

+++ If you have a US dollar balance associated with your Second Life account +++

You are required to accept the Tilia Terms of Service on or before October 31st, 2019.

If you do not accept the Tilia Terms of Service by October 31st, 2019 you  will not be able to utilise your USD balance or request a process credit until such time as you do accept the Tilia TOS.

+++ If you add a US Dollar balance to your Second Life account AFTER October 31st, 2019 +++

You will required to accept the Tilia Terms of Service in order to utilise that balance. 

+++ In Addition +++

If you wish to credit process all or any part of a US dollar balance (that is, transfer it out of Second Life to PayPal or Skrill or another supported method), and have not already provided personal information to Linden Lab you will be required to submit said information.

To check whether Tilia has the required information on file in order for you to be able to process credit, please refer to: Tilia: how to ensure your process credit information is on file.

+++ If you do not have a US dollar balance associated with your Second Life account +++

You do not have to consent to the Tilia Terms of Service
(unless you subsequently wish to make use of a US dollar balance).

Users should also read the Tilia Privacy Policy.

With reference to non-acceptance of the Tilia Terms of Service by those with US dollar balances associated with their Second Life account after October 31st 2019:

  • They will still be able to log-in to Second Life.
  • They will still be able to use any payment method they have on file to pay for services (e.g. purchase Linden Dollars, pay Premium membership or tier).
  • It is only their US dollar balance that they will be unable to utilise.

Related Information

Via Linden Lab

Tilia Related Articles, This Blog

* Note: I actually held off blogging on this on August 1st as there was some ambiguity in the original wording of the Lab’s blog post which might have been taken to mean that user not accepting the Tilia Terms of Service by October 31st, 2019 would lose all access to their US dollar balances in perpetuity. As a result of discussions with the Lab, the blog post was revised on August 2nd to clarify the point that users will be unable to utilise their US dollar balances at October 31st until they accept the Tilia Terms of Service.

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Linden Lab in wrongful termination lawsuit over alleged cybersecurity law violations

©, ™ and ® Linden Lab

Linden Lab has been hit by a wrongful termination lawsuit by a former employee, Kavya Pearlman, in which allegations are made over potential violations of cybersecurity laws.

A security expert, Kavya joined Linden Lab in August 2017, and worked to develop information security strategies, advising on state and international information security regulations, managing IS systems, and more. Her employment with the Lab was terminated in March of 2019.

She publicly announced her lawsuit via a 12-point Twitter thread. In it she states that her employment came at a time when she was engaged in a risk assessment exercise involving the New York State Department of Financial Services, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, and the European General Data Protection Regulation, which came after a period when “the company treated me with hostility when I raised concerns about potential violations of cybersecurity laws.

The allegations would appear to encompass work related to the Lab’s subsidiary, Tilia Inc., and potentially both Sansar and Second Life – but Ms. Pearlman makes it clear that during her tenure at the Lab as Information Security Director, there were no security breaches.

Within the Twitter thread – and apparently within the lawsuit – she additionally alleges discrimination and retaliation on the basis of her gender and religion.

Given this is a lawsuit, and the fact I am neither a lawyer nor have I had any sight of the papers that have been filed, further comment on the lawsuit itself would be inappropriate, and I doubt that the Lab will reply to enquiries simply because this is a legal matter.

That said, and if and when possible, I’ll continue to watch this situation as it develops.

With thanks to John Brianna for the pointer.

Lab pauses Blocksworld development and promotion

Blocksworld was a sandbox type game allowing users to create and build from blocks, purchase specialist packs, and even sell their own creations through a marketplace

Linden Lab has confirmed it has “paused” development and promotion of its iOS sandbox app, Blocksworld.

For those unfamiliar with it, Blocksworld has been a part of the Lab’s product stable since 2013. Initially developed by a trio of Swedish guys calling themselves Boldai AB, it was acquired by Linden Lab at the time the company was looking to broaden its product offerings under the stewardship of former CEO Rod Humble. This effort encompassed:

  • The in-house development of games like Creatorverse (Android and iOS, 2012-2013 – now defunct) and Dio (browser based, 2013-2014 – now defunct)
  • The acquisition of companies and their products (LittleTextPeople  and Versu, 2012 – IP released back to the original developers, 2015; and Boldai AB with Blocksworld).
  • Partnering with Free Range Games to produce Patterns (2012-2014, still available via Steam, but only in “off-line” mode, no shared worlds).
  • A short foray into owning a games distribution platform through the acquisition of Desura (2013-2014, sold to Bad Juju Games).

Since its launch, the game has been steadily developed and has performed reasonably well – including gaining some brand support through Hasbro (with their G.I. Joe brand).

More recently, the Lab made it available through web browsers (although it never really worked well in Firefox) and through the Steam Early Access programme. As a part of the Lab’s product family, it has always appeared on the More Products listing at the foot of the secondlife.com web pages – which is how I found something may have changed.

Blocksworld used to appear in the footer area of the secondlife.com web pages

In looking at my SL dashboard at secondlife.com on July 3rd, I noticed Blocksworld was no longer listed, leaving only Sansar. I also noticed the two websites associated with Blocksworld either redirected back to the Lab’s corporate website (in the case of blocksworld.com) or had an expired security certificate issue (playblocksworld.com).

Over the course of July, the footer area of the secondlife.com pages have continued to be revised so they focus on SL, Sansar and Tilia and appear to leave little or no room for Blocksworld to make a return. Nevertheless, the game continues to be available on the Apple Store App Preview, and on Steam Early Access, and to appear on the Lab’s product page.

The revised secondlife.com web page footers seem to leave little room for Blocksworld with their focus on SL, Sansar and Tilia

All of which made me wonder what was going on, so I reached out to the Lab in early July to ask. It took a little time to get a reply, and when it did come in, it was a little short, considering the length of time it took for it to arrive:

Our primary focus continues to be on Second Life and Sansar, so we’ve paused new development and promotion for Blocksworld. However, Blocksworld continues to be available in the App Store as it still has a healthy amount of users and many people continue to enjoy it.

Which is fair enough to a point. When one considers the Lab is now engaged in developing an iOS “companion” app for Second Life, then possibly stepping back from working on Blocksworld (assuming the skills used to develop Blocksworld are indeed still at the Lab) allows in-house iOS talent to be re-directed towards this new SL companion app.

Even so, something of a nagging doubt remains, for two reasons:

  • The last significant update to Blocksworld was March 2018 – well before  any work started on an iOS app for Second Life. This tends to suggest the app’s development cycle had perhaps already reached a ceiling in terms of resources at the Lab.
  • Also, if skill sets have indeed been diverted away from Blocksworld to focus on the SL iOS, then they are potentially going to be re-directed for some time, simply because of the amount of time app development and enhancement takes.

So it’s hard not to wonder what the future might actually hold for Blocksworld. How long is the pause likely to be? Is there a risk that  – given the amount of time since the last update  – this “pause” might also stall the apps ability to acquire / retain users? If so, what then?

Will it be considered to still be a worthwhile enough revenue generator to warrant future development, or at least on-going support? Or might it come to be seen as a nice little app that has run its course, left to slowly fade away over time? I’m hoping for the former, and will continue to try to keep a check on it, even if it only sates my own curiosity!

Tilia: how to ensure your process credit information is on file

Logos © and ™ Linden Lab and Tilia Inc.

Update, July 27th: there appears to be a further issue with the information indicator on people’s billing pages – all users are apparently marked with a green “information provided” check, regardless as to whether or not any information has been provided. This is most likely a bug, and linden Lab have been contacted. Until a formal response from the Lab has been obtained, it is probably best not to assume you are cleared for credit processing if you have never previously provided information to the Lab for the purposes of credit processing.

Update: it appears the Additional Information page has problems loading in browsers other than Google Chrome. However, if you are experiencing issues and have any ad block software installed on your browser – try turning it off before clicking the Additional Information link on your Billing Information page.

On Friday July 12th Linden Lab hosted a town hall meeting on the subject of Tilia Inc., and forthcoming changes will affect those who have a US dollar (USD) balance associated with their Second Life account, and those who transfer US dollar amounts out of Second Life.

The changes to the latter – withdrawing US dollar amounts from Second Life referred to as credit processing)  –  will in particular be subject to ensuring all those wishing to do so, have provided documentation to Tilia Inc., to verify who they are, in order to meet various US regulations related to money laundering, etc.

During that town hall meeting, Grumpity Linden (Senior Director of Product for Second Life), the Lab would both provide a means for users to easily see if the information they may have already supplied to Linden Lab for the purposes of credit processing has been recorded by Tilia / is sufficient to meet the requirements, or whether further information might be required.

Another thing we’re working on to make that easier and clearer is an indicator in your account page which will show whether you’ve been cleared to process credit or not. And so you’ll see a little green check mark that says ‘we’ve got all your information and you’re clear in a process credit’ or a little, ‘we’ll need more information from you when you’re ready to process credit’ with a link.

One of the things again that we’re working to submit your documents ahead of the August 1st date, so that if you expecting to process credit on August 2nd, you’re not delayed in any way you can submit them in advance and know that your documents been verified.

It [the indicator] will be in your account same place you would log in to view your USD balance for example or to request a process credit. Obviously, we’ll post about that when it’s ready.

– Grumpity Linden, Tilia Town Hall Meeting, Friday, July 12th [video: 29:26]

On Monday, July 22nd, the Lab published this promised information, indicating how users who will wish to credit process funds from Second Life after August 1st can both:

  • Check to confirm whether or not Tilia has sufficient personal information on file for them to be able to process credit.
  • And / or how they can submit information, if required.

Both options can be found by visiting your Account page on your Second Life dashboard at secondlife.com, as described below:

  • Log-in to your dashboard.
  • On the left of your dashboard, beneath your account name, click the Account heading to open the Account menu.
  • Click on Billing Information near the bottom of the menu (highlighted, below left).
  • If you have supplied all the required information, you will see a green check box with We have all the information we require to process credit from your Tilia account alongside it (arrowed, below right)
  • OR if you do not / have not supplied the required information will see a red check box with the words, We may need some additional information [a link] in order to process credit from your Tilia account.
  • If the latter is the case, and you wish you provide / submit the required information, click on the additional information link to go to a fresh page that will walk you through what needs to be done.
To check if Tilia has the required information on file in order for you to credit process funds out of Second Life: log-in to your dashboard at secondlife.com and click the Account link on the left of your dashboard. Then click Billing Information (shown on the left). If you have supplied sufficient information, a green tick box with appropriate wording will be displayed in your Billing Information (arrowed, top right). OR if the required information is NOT on file with Tilia, a red check box is displayed, with a link for you to go ahead and submit the required information (shown bottom right, with the Additional Link highlighted). Click for full size, if required.

Important Notes

  • This information is only required if you intend to process credit out of Second Life. it is not required if you simply wish to purchase Linden Dollars for use within Second Life, nor is it required if you have a USD dollar balance associated with your account from which you do not intend to process credit funds out of Second Life.
  • Those wishing to process credit funds out of Second Life and who need to supply additional information are under no obligation to do so at this time, however, the information must be supplied in order to process credit on or after August 1st, 2019.

Further information relating to these changes can be found in the links below.

Related Information

Via Linden Lab

Tilia Related Articles, This Blog

Linden Lab: more information about privacy and security in Tilia

Logos © and ™ Linden Lab and Tilia Inc.

On Friday, July 19th, tucked away in the Tools and Technology section of the official Second Life blog, Soft Linden posted Information About Privacy and Security in Tilia.

His blog post follows on from the Tilia Town Hall meeting of Friday, July 12th, and explores more about Tilia Inc., itself and the issue of data security, which has been a topic raised at both the Town Hall and in the official Q&A forum thread.

Key questions addressed by the blog post comprise:

  • Where did the Tilia team come from? And why should I trust Tilia with my personal information?
  • Does Tilia change how my information is secured?
  • It sounds like a lot has changed at once. Aren’t large changes risky?
  • What does Tilia mean for Second Life privacy and security in the future?

The Tilia team is made up of people you previously knew as Linden Lab employees. We’re part of this team because we are passionate about privacy and security. Tilia includes employees who use Second Life alts in our free time. We know many of you as friends and creators in Second Life. So not only are our practices aimed at complying with an ever expanding list of U.S. regulations and laws, but we strive to go above and beyond. We want to protect the best interests of ourselves, our friends, and the countless Residents who support the world we love. We fully believe that Second Life wouldn’t be possible without working to earn your trust.

– Soft Linden, Where did the Tilia team come from? And why should I trust
Tilia with my personal information?

From my perspective, the post looks beyond the former introduce of Tilia into the lives of Second Life users in August to future intents with the company and its ability to both support Second Life and Linden Lab.

While we have already moved regulated information out of Second Life and into Tilia, we are actively migrating additional forms of information. Now that we have a new privacy and security foundation, we can extend the amount of information that enjoys this level of protection. If it pertains to your real life identity, we believe in leveraging Tilia protection wherever possible.

Aside from ensuring compliance with upcoming privacy and security regulations, our early goals are largely driven by Second Life. These goals include the option for users to select stronger authentication mechanisms, better mechanisms for our team to identify callers who request account help, and additional tools which support our fraud protection team.

– Soft Linden, What does Tilia mean for Second Life privacy and security in the future?

This would seems to suggest that Tilia might be the mechanism by which Linden Lab try to implement something that has oft been raised at various in-world user group meetings and at various chat sessions and town halls: two-factor authentication for accessing user accounts via the various Second Life web properties (secondlife.com dashboard, SL marketplace, etc), – but again, I emphasise this is purely speculation on my part.

Tucked between the two paragraphs quoted above, Soft also touches on s subject I’ve previously speculated on in Tilia – a further look and a little more speculation. – Tilia and opportunities for Linden Lab to extend their business and revenue-generating models:

We designed Tilia to support additional business customers, so we are able to justify larger privacy and security projects to benefit new business customers and existing Second Life Residents alike.

– Soft Linden, What does Tilia mean for Second Life privacy and security in the future?

But speculation aside, and while it may not address all questions relating to Second Life and Tilia, Information About Privacy and Security in Tilia should be read directly and in full by anyone affected by, or who may be curious / concerned about, the upcoming changes that come into effect from August 1st, 2019.

Related Information

Via Linden Lab

Tilia Related Articles, This Blog

Tilia Inc and Second Life: town hall summary and video

Logos © and ™ Linden Lab and Tilia Inc.
Update, August 1st: please also refer to this August 1st blog post from Linden Lab: Tilia Officially Begins Operations Today in Second Life.

On Friday July 12th Linden Lab hosted a town hall meeting on the subject of Tilia Inc., and forthcoming changes will affect those who have a US dollar (USD) balance associated with their Second Life account, and / or who transfer US dollar amounts out of Second Life.

The session involved:

  • Grumpity Linden (Senior Director of Product)
  • Patch Linden (Senior Director of Product Operations),

The session was moderated by Brett Linden, Head of Marketing for Second Life.

The following is a summary of that meeting, which addressed questions asked both through the official Tilia Q&A forum thread and during the meeting itself concerning Tilia and the announced changes.

Questions were selected on the basis of how broad an audience they might affect. Numerous questions of an account-specific nature, or applicable to specific country circumstances had been received (and were put forward at the meeting); however, due to the very specific nature of any answers relating to them, these were deferred with the recommendation that all such specific questions such be filed with support.

It was also noted that questions will also continue to be addressed through the official Tilia Q&A forum thread going forward.

A note on the structure of this summary

The format of the event – including questions being asked multiple times, and  / or not being grouped together means that this is not a full transcript of the session.

Instead, I have attempted to gather questions into logical topic headings and provide bullet-points of responses, together with direct quotes from either Grumpity or Patch where I felt they might offer greater clarity.

In addition, the video of the event ad recorded by Peetie Auer of SL4Live – TV is embedded at the end of this article, for those who would prefer to watch it. In addition, topics and questions in recorded in this summary include time stamps to the video. This will open the video in a separate browser tab and at the relevant point in the meeting, to again allow responses to be heard first-hand.

My thanks to Peetie for agreeing to my use of the video.

Summary: How Do the Tilia Changes Affect YOU?

If you have a US dollar balance associated with your Second Life Account on August 1st, 2019, or if you add a US Dollar balance to your Second Life account on or after August 1st, 2019 (e.g. by converting Linden Dollars to US dollars via the LindeX):

You will be required to consent to the Tilia Terms of Service.

In addition, if you wish to credit process all or any part of that US dollar balance (that is, transfer it out of Second Life to PayPal or Skrill or another supported method) on or after August 1st, 2019, and have not already provided personal information to Linden Lab as a part of the credit process:

You will be required to provide personal information as outlined in Linden Lab’s July 1st blog post and listed in the Tilia FAQ.

[Video: 46:05-47:00]

(Note: you do not have to provide personal information if you have  US dollar balance as of August 1st but  never transfer funds out of Second Life – as per the note above, you will only need to agree to the Tilia Terms of Service.)

If you do not have a US dollar balance associated with your Second Life account on or after August 1st, 2019, and only buy L$ amounts:

You will not have to consent to the Tilia Terms of Service nor will you be required to provide any additional information to Tilia.

 

If you have a US dollar (USD) balance associated with your Second Life account on or after August 1st, 2019 you must consent to the Tilia Terms of Service. In addition, if you transfer out all or part of that USD balance on or after August 1st, 2019 you will be required to provide personal information in order to do so (see the July 1st official Tilia blog post and the Tilia FAQ for details on the required information). Note: the USD balance given hre is for illustrative purposes only

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What Is Tilia Inc?

[Video: 2:01-3:28]

Tilia Inc., is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Linden Lab. It was formed in 2014, focused on payments and the compliance work associated with operating virtual economies. As a part of this, it will provide services for both Second Life and Sansar.

Specifically in reference to Second Life, Tilia Inc., will, from August 1st, 2019, take over the management of all US dollar (USD) account balances user may have associated with Second Life. As such, it is central to the Lab’s work in seeking federal and state registration as a US Money Transmitter a form of regulated Money Service Business – MSB) and to comply with all US laws regarding the movement of money. This had been a stated goal within the Lab pretty much since Ebbe Altberg joined the company as CEO.

Note: while it is not relevant to this meeting or how users’ USD account balances are managed, I have written (and speculated) more broadly about Tilia Inc., in Tilia – a further look and a little more speculation.

The “Tilia Account” and “Tilia Wallet” / “US Dollar Wallet”

[Video: 3:30-4:50]

Two terms that have caused confusion amount users are “Tilia Account” and “Tilia Wallet” / “USD Wallet”.

  • The Tilia Account is the mechanism that will be used, from August 1st, 2019 to manage all US Dollar balances associated with Second Life (viewed via Account > Account Summary on your Dashboard at secondlife.com) and for managing transferring US dollar amounts from Second Life (viewed via Account > Credit Process on your Dashboard at secondlife.com).
    • You are effectively logged-in to it when you log-in to your Second Life account at secondlife.com. There is no separate “Tilia log-in” required.
  • The Tilia Wallet  / US Dollar Wallet is, in simple terms, the US dollar balance associated with a Second Life account.
    • By default all “real money” balances (referred to as fiat money) held on a Second Life account is denominated in US dollars (USD).
    • Processing credit from Second Life (referred to as cashing out by many in the community) is expressed in US dollars, but can be converted to local currency by your preferred payment option (e.g. PayPal).

Does Tilia Affect Those Who Only Buy and Use Linden Dollars?

[Video: 11:44-12:16 – see also Linden Dollar / Direct Payment Questions, below]

  • No.
  • There is no need to provide any additional information to Linden Lab for purchasing L$.
  • Users can still purchase L$ amounts exactly as they have done prior to the August 1st, 2019 changes – through the viewer, via the Second Life LindeX web page, using credit cards and or other recorded payment options associated with their account.
  • Users are only affected if users have US Dollar balances, on or after August 1st, 2019, and / or who wsh to process credit their USD balances out of SL.

The changes specifically apply to USD credit processing and there’s no impact on the routine purchase of Linden Dollars we don’t need your ID we don’t need your sisters maiden name we don’t need your first-born and don’t even need a blood sample. You will continue to buy Linden Dollars as you did before.

– Grumpity Linden [video: 11:44]

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Tilia Terms of Service

[Video: 7:17-9:00]

Only those who have a USD wallet [balance] need to accept the Tilia Terms of Service and if you are one of those people then you will see the Tilia Terms of Service and [you will] need to accept them when you log into your account on the web.

– Grumpity Linden [video: 7:39]

How do users with US Dollar balances on their account consent to the Tilia Terms of Service? – By logging-in to their account via the secondlife.com website.

What if a user doesn’t want to consent to the Tilia Terms of Service?

So if you don’t have a USD balance and you don’t plan on having a USD balance and you will not sell Linden Dollars to acquire a USD balance, you don’t need to do anything. You will not be required to accept the terms of service and literally nothing changes.

If you do currently have a USD balance and you don’t want to accept the Tilia Terms of Service, you need to basically get rid of it; you need to either complete a process credit of your entire USD balance before August 1st, or spend that USD balance in Second Life. You can buy Linden [Dollars], pay for land, pay for a Premium membership etc. If you have a USD balance come August 1st, you will need to accept the Tilia Terms of Service.

– Grumpity Linden [video: 8:13]

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