Many of you who watch our bi-weekly office hours are aware that we have had planned for some time to implement a feature into the viewer which would improve security in regards to connections the viewer makes to the internet. We have recently commited a "Media Filter" feature in Phoenix and in Firestorm viewers respectively, although neither viewers have been released yet with this feature.
There have been many accusations that the media filter has been implemented to specifically target Redzone. While this is untrue, it WILL have an effect on Redzone, however we've intended to make a feature like this long before Redzone was on the grid.
For those who are unaware of what Redzone is.. It is a product used by land owners to aid in detecting, banning and preventing greifers from accessing their land using several means including alt account detection. Alt accounts are detected by recording and referencing your IP address and account names via your media stream into a database which can then be cross referenced by Redzone Owners.
There has been copious amounts of controversy and drama surrounding Redzone, but to break it down there are two main argumental points in regards to this product. On one side of the argument is (that land owners should have the ability to protect their land and the current "Report abuse" tool is ineffective). On the other side of the argument (Users have the right to protect the identity of their alternate accounts and their privacy).
Both arguments are true and accurate. And while we do have team members who represent both sides of the arguments the official stance of the Phoenix Viewer Project in regards to Redzone is Neutral. We do not wish to get involved, period. The decision to implement media filter was based on the fact that users SHOULD have the ability to control the connections their viewer makes to the internet. This is no different in principle than any firewall built into your operating system or otherwise.
I would kindly ask you to not discuss the Redzone debate in our in world support groups or contact our support people in its regard as it cripples our ability to provide support to our users who need it and has nothing to do with our project. Instead, discussions about Redzone should be taken to the Redzone Forums here: http://isellsl.ath.cx/madsci/forum/viewforum.php?f=8&sid=f38c40179f37209231be6a3f63c254eb .
Now, more about the Media Filter..
When enabled, the feature works by informing you of a connection attempting to be made by providing you the URL it is connecting too and gives you four options (Allow | Deny | Blacklist | Whitelist). There has been a significant amount of drama in regards to the URL being displayed so we made a compromise that it would only display the domain and obfuscate (mask) the rest. It would look like this "http://mediaurl.com/....../..... " and this is how it sits currently in our repository right now. HOWEVER, recently LL has made a decision to remove the ability to hide media URL's from within the viewer... in that.. media URL's will be visible to everyone under about land. You can see the JIRA for this here https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/STORM-1037. While we have not made a final decision on whether media filter will display the full URL there will be no point in us obfuscating (masking) it should that change be made final by LL. We WILL follow LL's Lead on this matter.
I would kindly ask that discussion about Media URL's be kept out of our in world support groups and support personnel as it cripples the ability for support to do their job. Any complaints please take up with Linden Lab on the above Jira link. This is their decision far more than it is ours.
When will Media Filter be available?...
We will very likely have a Firestorm Preview 2 release before we have another Phoenix Viewer update. We are aiming for a Firestorm Preview 2 release around middle too late March. If you would like to get a copy of it, please join our in world group "Phoenix-Firestorm Preview Group" and watch for the group notice.
We hope to have a Phoenix Viewer update as soon as possible however that release is being held up while we investigate and try to resolve the stability issues present in version 908. We also hope to have RLVa updated as well.
If you have issues with, or complaints specifically about our policy in regards to following LL's lead, feel free to contact me directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please direct all other issues to the corresponding locations listed above. IE. The Redzone blog, or the LL Jira.
The Phoenix Viewer Project, Inc.
March 8th Phoenix Office Hour Recording where I discussed and answered questions regarding Media Filter, Redzone, Greenzone and more..
For more information and an unbiased objective look into the topics discussed above please feel free to refer to the following articles.
Article by Doc Grun - Part 1
Article by Doc Grun - Part 2