Major Victory for Privacy Rights?

Law enforcement agents need a search warrant before they can seize a person’s historical location data stored by his cellular service provider, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled on June 22, 2018. The ruling was hailed as “the most consequential privacy decision of the digital age” by the American Civil Liberties Union. Read on to learn why…

4th Amendment Lives, says Supreme Court

The case before the Court, Carpenter v. U.S., involved a suspected burglar who was convicted based upon months’ worth of location data obtained from his phone company without a warrant. The data gave the FBI nearly perfect knowledge of where Timothy Carpenter went, what he did, who he associated with, and more. Indeed, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority’s decision,

“(W)hen the Government tracks the location of a cell phone it achieves near perfect surveillance, as if it had attached an ankle monitor to the phone’s user.”

The Court rejected the government’s long-successful argument that when a person voluntarily lets a third party store data about him, the 4th Amendment does not protect him from the warrant less seizure of that data from the third party. This legal doctrine was established in the mid-70s. Today’s ruling, the details of which can be read at SCOTUSBlog, recognized that times and tech have changed dramatically.

“There is a world of difference between the limited types of personal information addressed” by the old dogma, “and the exhaustive chronicle of location information casually collected by wireless carriers today,” the decision reads. Forty years ago, “few could have imagined a society in which a phone goes wherever its owner goes, conveying to the wireless carrier not just dialed digits, but a detailed and comprehensive record of the person’s movements.”

The Court ruled that the vast amount of location data the FBI collected from Carpenter’s phone company – over 13,000 data points spanning several months of his activities – painted such an intimate and extensive picture of his personal life that it deserved the 4th Amendment’s protection against warrant less seizure. Therefor the location data could not be used to prosecute Carpenter.

The Carpenter ruling applies only to location data collected and stored by a cellular service provider. But the Court’s reasoning will be applied to a virtually limitless range of cases in which third parties collect and store any type of data about an individual. Armed with this decision, privacy advocates can argue that all the personal data that Facebook, Google, credit agencies, banks, et. al., collect about you is now off-limits to law enforcement unless it is obtained pursuant to a valid warrant issued by a court.

The 4th Amendment and Limiting Factors

The 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Note that the Court did not overturn the third-party doctrine outright. Instead, the Court decided that there must be a limit to the scope of personal data obtainable without a warrant, and that it was clearly exceeded in Carpenter’s case. Future rulings may decide that the government can use one data point, or a day’s worth of data points, or some other measure of data’s scope, without obtaining a warrant.

The limiting factor seems to be, “Does the scope of data collected amount to invasion of the person’s privacy?” If, for example, Carpenter’s location data revealed that he (or his phone, at least) was regularly at a particular place at the same times a drug rehabilitation group held its meetings at the same place, it would be reasonable to infer that Carpenter was a drug addict in recovery. That inference, arguably, would be a private matter deserving of the 4th Amendment’s protection, so data which supports the inference would have to be seized pursuant to a court order that complies with the 4th Amendment’s requirements.

Yes, it’s complicated, and there are many wrinkles to be ironed out case by case. But the government’s long-standing position that “all your data are belong to us” is no longer acceptable in court. This a huge victory for privacy rights in the United States!

As for Timothy Carpenter, he may be a hero to privacy advocates, but it seems he’s no angel. A description of his role as ringleader of a gang of armed robbers can be found on this page from Carpenter was convicted and sentenced in April of 2014 to 116 years in prison, and even though he won his case at the Supreme Court, he will likely remain incarcerated.

That’s because of the “Good Faith Exception to Exclusionary Rule.” According to the Legal Information Institute, The Exclusionary Rule bars the use at trial of evidence obtained pursuant to an unlawful search. If officers had reasonable, good faith belief that they were acting according to legal authority, such as by relying on a search warrant that is later found to have been legally defective, the illegally seized evidence is still admissible under this rule.

The ACLU argued Carpenter’s case before the SCOTUS, and deserves much of the credit for this victory.

We Are Not Out Of The Woods Folks.


Is this limited to just your cellphone? NO!

This will take time. We need to remember our computers and tablets are vulnerable and use various Hot spot Wi-Fi /cell signals and are not protected through this act, and are open for anyone to see with the right hack or so called Court Ordered Warrant! Be careful how you share your information be secure. But in the mean time, A followup story on how to make sure your privacy is secure thru your router and electronic devices coming soon.

Have a great week

Zi Staff

ZI Business District Renovations to Begin!

Hello ZoHa Islands Business District Renters,

I’d like to start off by thanking you for being a great addition to the community we have here at ZI over the years. Its been awhile since the Business District has been set, and its time for a makeover! The 12 region estate there will be undergoing some construction, new roads systems, landscaping, teraforming, and completely redone to attract more businesses, homes, etc by giving it more dimension and appeal. In addition to this we will be monitoring the regions for quality builds and ensure the regions maintain a quality standard we envision for our business district with an end product resulting in a place that people want to be, see and explore! …Thus leading more prospective patrons to your establishments.

We would love as we move forward with the project (which is to be completely overhauled by mid July 2018) to see you all get creative and add to the beauty of the project, each location will have foot traffic access and we also have a wonderful array of new exciting projects coming your way. Events, Showcases and other traffic boosting elements will be added in addition to our business directory.

Please note. This will NOT affect any land tiers.

These 12 sims will be included ONLY:
Business District Alpha
Business District Bravo
Business District Charlie
Business District Delta
Business District Echo
Business District Foxtrot
Business District Golf
Business District Hotel
Business District Indigo
Business District Juliet
Business District Kilo
Business District Lima

So please pardon our dust and be patient while we are under construction!

Thank you Kindly!

ZoHa Islands Support

ZoHa Islands – Request Form

Linden Lab 15 Week Gift Hunt/Grab

The Big 15th Birthday Weekly Gift Grab

Credit from Second Life Blog

Fifteen years is a tremendous achievement for any community, and we’ve been hard at work on a fun and interactive gift hunting series to thank our Residents. The Big 15th Birthday Weekly Gift Grab starts today – June 18th, 2018!

For the next 15 weeks, we’ll be releasing a different crystal-themed gift each week. All you have to do is find and collect the gifts. Each fabulous gift is available for one week only, and in one Region only. The Region will change each week, and we’ll be publishing clues each week to help you find the Region to search for that week’s gift – watch the Second Life social media channels and the Blog at for the clues.

How to get started:

  • Visit the Swaginator HUD kiosk here to grab your Swaginator HUD
  • Attach your Swaginator HUD
  • Investigate the clue for the week by checking our Blog or social media channels ( This week’s clue is already up so go check it out now!)
  • Find the Region and start searching

Remember, each gift is available for one week only, and then it’s gone. You can collect as many, or as few gifts as you want, but if you want to collect the final super-special Birthday Gift in the final week you will need to have collected all 14 of the previous gifts.

Don’t forget to check the Blog each week for updates.

VPNFilter: The Russians Really Are Coming For Your Data

A deadly serious threat is on the loose: a virus called VPNFilter that infects business and consumer-grade routers to steal passwords and other sensitive data from any device on a network served by an infected router. Here’s what you need to know now…

What is VPNFilter Malware?

In addition to stealing passwords, VPNFilter also degrades (decrypts) secure HTTPS connections to steal data from them and pass along new infections to the HTTPS connections’ destinations. Part of VPNFilter can survive a router reboot and then download other malware modules. It even has a “kill switch” that can destroy the firmware of its host router.

Already, VPNFilter has infected an estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 routers worldwide, according to Cisco Systems’ Talos Intelligence threat research division.

The FBI attributes VPNFilter to the “Fancy Bear” Russian hacker group, which is implicated in the 2016 hack of the U.S. Democratic National Committee’s network and other political and industrial espionage campaigns. Political news site, The Daily Beast, reported on May 23rd that the FBI seized a key server used by the VPNFilter botnet. But that hardly slowed the havoc being wrought by VPNfilter because of the diabolically ingenious way it is designed.

VPNFilter consists of three modules or stages. The first module is a worm, a virus that rapidly slithers from one router to another, infecting each and replicating itself for further infections. Stage One also writes itself into a list of tasks that are performed by vulnerable routers each time they are rebooted, thereby ensuring that it will survive a reboot. Stage One’s next function is to facilitate other modules’ infection of the host router.

Stage Two is downloaded by Stage One if the former is not already present. Stage Two contains the “routine” spying functions that VPNFilter performs on each device connected to an infected router. It sniffs out passwords and other account credentials, contact lists, calendars with birthdays and other sensitive personal info. Stage Two can also execute any special instructions given to it by optional Stage Three modules, which may also be downloaded by Stage One.

Many Stage Three modules have been discovered since Talos Intelligence started tracking VPNFilter in 2016. For most of that time, it appeared that VPNFilter targeted relatively few but critically important industrial control systems. The infection of consumer routers was thought to be recruitment for a botnet whose primary target was the control systems.

Plenty of Fish

But recent modules show that VPNFilter’s masters are after many more and smaller prey, including your little home network.

One new module can alter incoming data before it’s displayed to users; for example, it can make your bank account balance look normal when in reality the account is being drained dry. Others can steal PGP encryption keys, SSL certificates, and other authentication credentials. Still others can inject malicious payloads into streams of outgoing data to spread VPNFilter and its custom payloads to destination devices.

Libraries of Stage Three modules are scattered all over the Internet. A clever clue to the IP addresses of such libraries was found hidden in the metadata of image files stored on Photobucket. When that resource was removed, Stage One moved on to backup sources.

If Stage One cannot find a library of Stage Three Modules it can go into “listening mode,” passively awaiting new instructions from its human masters. Those instructions may include the locations of libraries, or malicious payloads themselves, or a “kill switch” instruction that causes Stage One to erase itself and the entire file system of its host, effectively turning the router into a brick.

Who Is Vulnerable?

Only routers that run specific Linux-based firmware are vulnerable to VPNFilter. The bad news is that a lot of manufacturers use such firmware on many consumer-grade routers. Note that this vulnerability has nothing to do with the operating system on your computer. It’s the code running inside your router that’s at issue here.

I was going to include a list of vulnerable devices from vendors including Asus, D-Link, Huawei, Linksys, Mikrotik, Netgear, QNAP, TP-Link, Ubiquiti, Upvel, and ZTE, but there are over 100 known so far, and the list is growing. At this point, it seems better to assume that your router is on the list of vulnerable devices.

There’s one important caveat, though. VPNFilter is lazy, so it only tries to break into routers that have the default (factory-supplied) login credentials. If you are certain that you’ve secured your router with a password of your own choosing, then VPNFilter will move on to other targets.

I want to remind readers that your WiFi password (the one you use to connect your computer, tablet or phone to your router) is not the same as your router’s admin password. They are distinct; the router password is used to login to the router’s setup screens, where one can configure wifi passwords, and other settings.

What To Do About VPNFilter

Some security experts recommend that all router owners, not just owners of routers on this list, perform a factory reset on their routers. A reset restores a router’s firmware to the version that was shipped with it; so VPNFilter wlll be erased for certain, if it was present.

Most routers have a RESET button on the device. Depressing that button for 10 (or sometimes 30) seconds will reset the router’s login credentials, but may or may not affect the firmware. Because there are so many different router vendors and models, I recommend that you search online for instructions on how to reset your router’s firmware, if you decide to do so.

Next, change that default admin password! The Stage One worm works at lightning speed. It knocks on a router’s door just once, with the default password. If the worm gets no answer, it is vanquished. VPNFilter has gotten as far as it has by relying on the laziness of consumers and of professional IT workers who should know better. Change the router’s password, dang it! If you don’t know how to do that search online, or ask your Internet provider for help.

If your router is more than 4-5 years old, consider replacing it rather than resetting its firmware. The value of an antique router is negligible, a new one can be had for less than $50, and you will have peace of mind knowing that it’s factory-fresh. Your internet provider may even swap out your old router for a new one upon request.

Bottom line: VPNFilter is powerfully malicious; highly resilient; and spreading like wildfire. This is not a drill. Take all the precautions you can.

Have a Great Week From all of us on the ZI Staff.

NVIDIA 1180 Rumors


The release date is the big rumor. It ranges from July to September 2018.

It also looks like NVIDIA may be the only manufacturer releasing a major video card in 2018. The collection of information available as of June 2nd, 2018 is in this nerdy video.

The TL:DR take away is it will be the best card of 2018 (…is that because it is the ONLY card?), pricy, somewhat faster but no one is for sure, will use the newest GDDR6 VRAM which is in short supply… But, this is only speculation even when based on educated guesses.

From an earlier video we get more specific details and for the visually oriented (aren’t all SL peeps visually oriented?) it is in an easier to compare format.

The take away from this video is the new 1180 will outperform the 1080 Titan, which is the pentacle of the 10xx series of cards.

The big thing in the new cards is their design for raytracing light and shadows. Raytracing is literally calculating the path of light from the source to the camera/eye (actually for each pixel on your screen) and all the things that happen to it along the way. This is WAY math intense and time consuming. So, all sorts of alternative systems are used to fake lighting in games and improve performance. Building fast ray trace engines into the video card is about getting more photorealistic images in less time. Meaning the card will provide enough performance games needing performance for VR will likely be able to start using raytracing.

What will the new cards do for Second Life peeps? Not a lot. Expect them to be faster. The total number of polygons they can render per second is like 10 million to 16 billion, depending on who you read. For SL that means about 352,000,000 polygons per frame in an SL viewer. At the Cosmopolitan even I only need to render 700k to 900k polys per second, 33k per frame actual from Viewer Stats. It isn’t the polygons that are choking the system. So, faster video cards won’t provide enough muscle to turn our unoptimized content into something that renders like Unreal, Cry, or Unity games.

We also have the challenge of OpenGL limits. In January 2018 OpenGL Version: 4.6.0 was released. My NVIDIA driver uses that version in its driver. But, OpenGL and Second Life use of it are not at parity. Only recently did a software engineer with in depth rendering knowledge come over to the SL product. There is a lot to fix in the SL render engine. That work is just starting. How much can be done or will be done is unknown. But, I don’t expect to see the Lab attempting to adopt the new NVIDIA features any time soon. Improving and using performance features, yes. But, adding raytraced reflections and shadows… no.

I don’t see US$700± of possible improvement from a new GTX 1150, 60, 70, or 80 video card for Second Life users. But, the new cards will give a bit more performance. Of course, some will have to have the latest and greatest.

I think our gains in performance will be from changes in the SL system. The move to the cloud and the Bakes-On-Mesh project reducing our texture count have the most likelihood of improving performance.

Mad Pea’s “Mad World” Coming Soon to Commemorate Made Pea’s 10th Anniversary in SL – Come be a V.I.Pea!

Mad Pea games in Second Life are a wonderful fun filled immersion into creative worlds and brilliant story lines.  They’ve taken us on dangerous adventures, horrors, and puzzles that boggle the senses!  I’m sure this will be of no exception to the quality we’ve all come to know and love from the wonderful crew over at Mad Pea Productions.  The excerpt below was featured on Mad Pea’s website, I am so excited to see what madness Queen Pea, Kiana Writer and her crew of Peas have come up with us for this adventure!



Over at MadPea we are literally bursting with excitement over the impending release of our new and unique 10th Anniversary interactive experience Mad World, and we can’t wait to share it with all our lovely Peas! Unless you have been locked in a dark room listening to heavy metal music, you will have seen all the articles and notices on our exclusive Mad World VIP tickets, which are available to buy NOW! With a nod to MadPea games of old, plus the mysterious story of the abandoned theme park and the tragic tale of the Washington family, this really is an experience not to be missed. But what does it mean to be a VIPea, you ask – well read on and find out!

Mad World Golden Ticket

If you are one of the lucky VIP ticket holders you can look forward to the following:

  • 24 hours of exclusive game play to hunt, explore, play, discover and enjoy Mad World;
  • Personal guidance by Queen Pea Kiana Writer and the MadPea Crew;
  • An exclusive VIP Souvenir;
  • MadPea 10th Birthday Goodie Bag;
  • Due to early access, the sims will be almost completely lag free;
  • Exclusive Group VIP Peas throughout June 2018 with special attention and help;
  • 1000 MadPoints.

All our Peas are important to us, but as a VIPea you will obtain something very few people in SL will get to experience, so this opportunity is not to be missed! With only 15 VIP tickets going on sale, you will be one of the first in hundreds, possibly thousands, who will get to see this amazing place and experience the magic. On top of all that, we are offering an exclusive VIP gift, only available for the handful of lucky Peas with a ticket. Plus the fun never ends! Mad World is a fantastic ‘work-in-progress’, which means the theme park will never be complete; we will be adding content, twists and turns every month! It will without a doubt be the most unique experience MadPea have created to date.

Mad World sneak peek!

Mad World Golden VIP tickets are ONLY on sale on the Second Life Marketplace and cost 5,000L each. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on one of them you will be told the date your exclusive entry begins. Once you log in on this day, send an instant message to Queen Pea, Kiana Writer so that you can be transported to the start of Mad World. Golden VIP tickets CAN be given to others or re-sold, but only one person can enter Mad World with each golden ticket. Finally, on the day of entry make sure you have your ticket with you, otherwise our Pea Bouncers will not allow you inside.

Good luck to all those that seek to purchase a ticket and we at MadPea look forward to sharing this experience with you.

Mad World is here!


For more information click on the links below: