Thursday, November 16, 2006

Virtual Stealing

The Web as it is, whether 1.0 or 2.0, is more or less an image of the real world, at least when it comes to content. The next logical step is to map real-world actions, and this is what many collaborative services are all about. The major difference is that there is more transparency, e. g. when it comes to managing your own social networks or looking at the networks of other users.

A next logical step is the virtualization of your real life by including virtual transactions, such as in Second Life. The latest development is CopyBot, a tool which allows a user to copy content from other users without their consent. As theft occurs in real life, so it does in its virtual counterpart as well. Of course this is not really a problem: since cut-at-paste has become so easy, plagiarism is a well-known problem at universities and colleges.

Thus, virtual services which deal with content and transactions need effective means of protecting their users against theft. Maybe this cannot expected to be a free service, but this may well be a crucial factor when it comes to platform acceptance and customer satisfaction.

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