The U.S. Government is More Wired than Ever. But Is It Secure?

PH2008121903097 Over the past few years, the U.S. government has led the way in integrating virtual world technology in to the physical workspace.

From the Department of Energy to the Marines, government is a major consumer of cutting-edge virtual world and simulation technology. But is Uncle Sam getting too dependent on virtual platforms?

Pixels and Policy takes a look at our government's avatar addiction, and the potential downsides of the habit.

 

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Liberalizing and Stabilizing Developing Nations Through Broadband Accessibility

A few weeks ago we reported on how Brazil is positioning itself to become the Internet and virtual world development hub of South America.

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Now a report just released by
market research firm Strategy Analytics has the data that shows
developing nations are likely in for a telecommunications boom over the
next year, with Brazil leading the way.

Pixels and Policy takes a
look at the report and what a mass expansion of broadband Internet
means for the developing half of the world.

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Khalistan: Analyzing the Secessionist Indian State that Only Exists Online

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The foreign policy community has always been troubled by the legal dilemmas created when breakaway regions of existing countries clamor for international recognition. Former President George W. Bush provoked outrage in Serbia after acknowledging the independence of Kosovo, long a bitter and controversial subject in the Balkans. The entire region seemed headed for conflict until timely threats and deals prevented widespread bloodshed.

The border disputes provoked by secessionist movements like those in Kosovo often provoke bloodshed. But what happens when a secessionist group urges for the formation of an ethnic or religious homeland without possessing any physical territory? Pixels and Policy investigates the interesting case of Khalistan, the Sikh homeland that exists only in the virtual world.

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Why So Many Organizations Struggle for Success in Virtual Worlds

Palomar_002-712712One of the most interesting and
controversial discussions currently taking place amongst the virtual
world cognoscenti is also one of the most vexing for the companies and
government agencies hoping to capitalize on the growing communication
power of virtual worlds.

Despite the best efforts of
developers like Cisco, the Department of Energy and a mix of other
public and private organizations, many more corporate/government Second
Life installations fail than survive and thrive.

Pixels and Policy takes a look at why.

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How the Intelligence Community Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Virtual Worlds

DNI-seal_small Social media and virtual worlds have nabbed headlines as potential game-changers in every field from business to political discourse, and most of that praise is well-deserved. But there is one community of experts consistently skeptical of the utility of virtual worlds.

Can recent improvements in the privacy and information security of virtual worlds win over the government intelligence community? According to some recent reporting by The Economist and Security Director News, even covert agents are warming to the potential communication power of firewalled worlds.

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Can Virtual Medical Consultations Expand and Improve Health Care?

For 44 million people, health care is a luxury beyond reach. No wonder, then, that health care reform is the topic du jure across the country this year.

As Washington politicians debate an expansive and expensive universal health care bill, many are looking for ways to bring the cost of health care within reach of those left behind. How many are looking at the ways virtual world technology is evolving to lower the cost of physician consultations and medical screening?

Pixels and Policy investigates.

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New Book Studies How Virtual Worlds Can Help Fight Terrorism

Pixels and Policy reported a few months ago on how the Department of Homeland Security was looking into the effectiveness of terrorism response simulators in Second Life.

Now an academic with an interest in both the War on Terror and the virtual world has written a book outlining the growing relationship between counterterrorism efforts and virtual worlds.

Pixels and Policy takes a look.

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Dubai Hosts Conference on Promoting Online Gaming in the Emirates

DubaiMap The Orc you partner with in Razorfen Kraul could soon be an Arab Prince.

Al Bawaba, a Middle Eastern news service, announced Dubai's plan to host a special conference with a focus on licensing online games through major companies in an effort to create a new generation of gamers in the Middle East.

Looks like the open range of the Metaverse may be getting a culture shock.

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China Bans All Foreign Investment in its Virtual Worlds

Gold-farming-china-wow7go-530 This morning's policy report is a depressing follow-up to our recent story on how Brazil is aiming to join the ranks of major virtual world hubs.

China's General Administration of Press and Publication, the state's official video game regulatory body, announced today its intent to bar all foreign investment and partnership in Chinese virtual worlds and online games.

It appears Chinese gamers will be seeing Red for the forseeable future.

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Can the Rise of Virtual Worlds Promote Social Reform in the Middle East?

Virtual worlds have proven applications in fields as diverse as business marketing, classroom education, and political campaigning. But what if Western governments rolled out the virtual welcome mat as a means of engaging Islamic governments and citizens in the Middle East?

Pixels and Policy looks at some emerging research and a bit of industry prognostication to see whether online games could revolutionize one of the world's hardest-to-reach populations.

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