Robert O’Harrow Jr. of the Washington Post has a solid story today on the IC’s attitude towards Second Life and similar virtual worlds. I myself would say “attitudes” because there is a broader and more creative range of thinking than is reflected in the story. There’s a mention of HiPiHi, a new Chinese virtual world, which I’m sure is a land free of any sort of espionage potential whatsoever. </sarcasm>
O’Harrow (whose overwriting skills I’ve noted before) cites ominously an anonymous source with this line:
“Virtual worlds are ready-made havens,” said a senior intelligence official who declined to be identified because of the nature of his work. “There’s no way to monitor it.”
Well, in fact of course there are ways to monitor it, they’re just hard, time-intensive, and require careful thought and imagination, mindful of legal restrictions and appropriateness. Hmm… that makes it a lot like intelligence work in the real world. Or police work or government work or simple everyday life, for that matter.