Rep. Mark Kirk, who is seeking re-election this year, staged a press conference at a library in his suburban Chicago district on Tuesday to highlight what he called the “dangers” of the virtual world to children. Flanked by local officials, he also released a letter asking Federal Trade Commission Chairman William E. Kovacic to “take action to warn parents of the similar dangers and sexually explicit content found on Second Life.”
Kirk said he was appalled that Second Life has no age verification features built into its registration process, and he claimed that there are “countless locations” outside of the service’s teen-designated area where virtual prostitution, drug deals, and “other wholly inappropriate activities” occur.
According to a Chicago Tribune report, Kirk recounted an aide’s failed attempt to create an avatar on the site as a 10-year-old–and a subsequently successful attempt to log in as an 18-year-old.
“Sites like Second Life offer no protections to keep kids from virtual “rape rooms,” brothels, and drug stores,” Kirk said, according to a press release. “If sites like Second Life won’t protect kids from obviously inappropriate content, the Congress will.” (link)