Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Congressional Hearing Wrap-Up

Just a quick follow-up on the Congressional hearing today on virtual worlds (see yesterday’s post for additional details). Overall, I thought it was a good hearing. Members of the Committee asked intelligent and pertinent questions, and the witnesses did a fine job in their testimony. Members in attendance seemed to have a good familiarity with Second Life and an understanding of the potential applications and benefits of virtual worlds.

In terms of questions asked of the witnesses, Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) asked about the use of virtual worlds by terrorists and “virtual jihad.” Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), the ranking Republican Member, asked some tough and pointed questions, including about why Rosedale was stepping down as CEO even as Second Life was enjoying such strong growth. Stearns also pressed Rosedale about child predators, and what specific safeguards Linden Lab has to keep such adults out of Teen Second Life. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) also asked about safeguards for children. Both Stupak and Stearns inquired about the concern that some people could become addicted to virtual worlds and whether Second Life limits time spent in-world.

Here are pdf copies of the prepared testimony of each of the witnesses.

These are the prepared testimonies of the witnesses. There is obviously a Q&A exchange that takes place as well that is not captured in these documents.