Sunday, September 2, 2007

Protecting Your Privacy

NOTE: The covenant policies mentioned here only applied to the multi-tenant full-prim sims we used to operate. We do not have any such restrictions on our current homestead and full-prim sims, since they are all single-tenant regions. This article is for historical purposes only.

The primary reason that I moved off the mainland and purchased my first private island was that I was sick of bumping into ban lines whenever I wanted to fly or walk around my own sim. They're ugly and terribly inconvenient. Many residents on the mainland immediately enable an Access list on their land which only allows group members or specific avatars on the property. Everyone else in Second Life will be faced with an ugly red "No Entry" barrier (or a green "Buy Pass" barrier) if they attempt to walk or fly nearby. This is exactly why Access lists are expressly forbidden in the Desperation Isle Estates covenant (see section 6.4).

You do have other privacy options, however, and I will go over them here. First off, let's take a look at the land options screens that apply to privacy. (Note, I will not cover land groups and build restrictions here. That's all covered in the Protect Your Land From Grief Attacks page.)

Important: If you are having problems with specific individuals who are intentionally trying to harass or spy on you, please both alert me and file abuse reports against them in the Second Life Help menu. I can ban problem avatars from the entire estate, and Linden Lab does investigate harassment issues. This article is about general, day-to-day accidental intrusions.

Privacy Options in About Land
First let's take a look at the Access tab of About Land. (While standing on your land, just go to World > About Land and click the Access tab.) Please do not check any of the boxes on this screen. Doing so will present banlines to every resident of Second Life who isn't in your group or the list of specific avatars.

Next we have the Ban tab. It is definitely okay to add specific people to this list and check the Ban these avatars checkbox. If you have a particularly problematic individual bothering you, contact me and I can ban them from all of my islands. At the bottom of the screen you'll see the Deny by Payment Status options. These will ban anyone who meets the given qualifications, based on how much payment information they've given to Linden Lab. Do not check any of these options; they have the same negative effect as using an access list, as far as I'm concerned.

If you are a Voice user, you can limit spoken conversations to your own parcel, so that people not on your parcel can't hear what you're saying. Choose Use a private spatial channel to keep voice chat only on your property, or choose Disable spatial audio on this parcel to disable voice altogether.

Security Devices
So you're not allowed to use the access list or blanket ban options- how are you supposed to get some privacy? Well, security devices are allowed, so long as they meet certain requirements. I personally use Psyke Phaeton's HomeSecurity Orb. Below I'll describe how to set up one of these orbs in a way that conforms to the Desperation Isle Estates covenant. But the following guidelines apply to all security devices:
  • The device must warn intruders and give them a minimum of 30 seconds to leave the property.
  • The device must only sense people on your own land; it should not affect people on neighboring properties.
  • You should only use the minimum number of devices to protect your land. For example, a single orb with a 96m radius is enough to protect the ground level of an entire 25% of an island. (96 meters in all directions.)
HomeSecurity Orb Setup Walkthrough

First off, place the orb on the ground, in the center of the area you want to be protected. Next, touch the orb to bring up the menu and then click <[SET UP]>. Now click Next>> and step through the wizard, using the following list as your guide. Each numbered item below corresponds to a numbered page in the 15-step setup wizard.
  1. You can actually add orb operators any time, but this screen shows you what you need to type to do it.
  2. Read carefully. You must follow all the steps described here in order for group members to manage the orb.
  3. Remember that the scan range is a radius. In other words a scan range of 30m will have a spherical scan diameter of 60m, or 30m in all directions from the orb. You only need ONE orb with a radius of 96m to cover the ground level of an entire 1/4 of a sim.
  4. Same as step 3.
  5. Do NOT pick anything less than 30 seconds before sending intruders away. Any less than 30 seconds is too short for people to even turn around- especially if they just accidentally teleported in to the sim, in which case they may not even be able to move for 30 seconds.
  6. Read and follow the steps here closely- this will give you steps for automatically making anyone wearing your group tag 'safe.' In other words you won't have to add them to the safe list as long as they're wearing the group tag.
  7. Use these steps if you don't have a land group, or there are people who aren't in your group you want to grant access to.
  8. You can specify specific people to always target here.
  9. Teleport or Eject are preferred; push isn't always enabled, so it might not be effective for you.
  10. Just pick 1% since push isn't recommended anyway.
  11. You must pick On for this step. Your orb should only protect your own land.
  12. You only need to click On here if you own multiple adjacent parcels that are not joined and have different names.
  13. These options don't work if the object is deeded to a group (group-owned). I just pick Off anyway.
  14. No preference here. I click On.
  15. Click Next>>.

Final Words
I am just as interested in ensuring your privacy as I am in maintaining an attractive, friendly environment for all residents. If you have chronic problems with specific individuals, or you need advice on a specific privacy issue, please contact me and we'll work something out.


Psyke Phaeton said...

Thank you for the nice comments :)

Laura said...

hey, what happens if i have changed my land to spacial private chat and want to change it to estate. i didnt even know i had made it private until my "landlord" told me :s