Cyberspace News, 1

From CBC News:

Virtual furniture theft leads to real bust
Thursday, November 15, 2007

Online currencies in 3D social networking sites are becoming more present, resulting in what is virtually a second economy, and with in-world thefts resulting in arrests as in this case:

“Dutch police have arrested a 17-year-old for stealing virtual furniture from users of the Habbo Hotel, a social networking and gaming website, according to news reports.

“The teen is accused of stealing virtual furniture worth about 4,000 euros ($5,700) from users of the Habbo Hotel, according to the BBC and other media.

“Users on the site can create their own avatars (or online character), decorate rooms and play games. These activities are purchased with Habbo credits, which users buy with real cash.”

Beware of Facebook’s Beacon?
November 14, 2007

This is an interesting article that speaks of the possibility of Facebook helping to form part of a commercial surveillance system of its users.

“where Facebook used to be collecting data only within the confines of its own website, it will now extend that ability to harvest data across other websites that it partners with. Some of the companies that have signed on to participate on the advertising side include Coca-Cola, Sony, Verizon, Comcast, Ebay – and the CBC. The initial list of 44 partner websites participating on the data collection side include the New York Times, Blockbuster, Amazon, eBay, LiveJournal, and Epicurious….

“Users who were afraid that Facebook was one big scam to collect people’s information to sell to advertisers have had their suspicions confirmed. Facebook has also responded by saying there is no way to opt out of this system, although the site will introduce controls that allow you to block the sharing of data with specific individual websites.”

Facebook: Can it survive the crossover into mass culture?
September 24, 2007

“In the past year, Facebook has evolved from being an essential element of a student’s life to becoming a mainstay of mainstream culture and the most popular website in Canada. No longer limited to academic environments, can Facebook survive the crossover into mass culture and the pressures of commercialization?

“In other words, is it still cool to use when your mom finds you on Facebook?

“Understanding Facebook’s success is helpful toward recognizing not only how the internet is evolving, but also how we humans are evolving, and how the use of social-media and networking sites like Facebook is changing society in general.”

Technology and copyright collide online
November 1, 2007

Describing the “culture war” between industry and rebellious consumers, this article outlines one possible prospect that would aid in fully democratizing the distribution and consumption of online materials:

“An Owner Free Filesystem (OFF), for example, is a type of brightnet that would take online content distribution technology to the next level. A brightnet is a network that allows for total visibility, and in this case, zero responsibility for distribution. Once a file is placed within this system, its origins would be untraceable and it would be instantaneously distributed anywhere on the internet. As a distributed peer-to-peer file system that is effectively anonymous, an OFF would allow any copyright file to be distributed without limit or removal.”