Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Capitol Hill Interns

Every summer, thousands of college interns descend on Washington, with most landing on Capitol Hill. There is inevitably some embarrassing incident involving an intern and an inappropriate relationship, a misplaced confidential memo, a sensitive document left on a copier, or the like. Well, now it seems DC just narrowly escaped the first intern/metaverse fiasco. As reported on the Second Life News Network, an intern for a U.S. senator apparently left his computer unattended, with his Second Life id and password on a sticky note.

While the intern was away from his computer (in route to DC in fact), a house guest logged in to Second Life using the intern's information, and proceeded to deface a store near the senator's Second Life consulting office. The defacement consisted of swastikas, a Hitler portrait and the phrase "Kirby Hates our Troops" (the store was the new Kirby Avatar Emporium).

Fortunately for the senator involved, SLNN did not publish his name, as a campaign manager for the senator asked SLNN "not to associate the 'intolerant acts' with the senator or his campaign" since no one associated with the senator was directly involved in the defacement.

What, you may justifiably ask, does any of this have to do the economics of virtual worlds? Well, not a thing. However, as a Congressional staffer who witnesses the swarm of summer interns arrive in DC wide-eyed each year, and as someone who himself was an intern on Capitol Hill while in college, I can relate and appreciate the problems posed by these short-timers.