14 January 2015: Lecture Theatre G.03 – 5.30 pm
A talk by:
Professor of Computational Legal Theory
Director, SCRIPT Centre for IT and IP University of Edinburgh
School of Law
The creation of virtual worlds such as the popular MMOPRGs is sometimes trivialised as a mere pastime, game playing that is explicitly juxtaposed with “serious” or “real” activity. So when the Snowden leaks also revealed that security services had been systematically infiltrating virtual gaming environments, public reaction was minimal. Surveillance of virtual worlds however, when looked at through the lenses of data protection law, raises interesting conceptual issues about identity, personality and the way we relate to our creations and creative outputs. In previous works, we analysed the legal concept of “personal information” in online game at the intersection between law and the psychological and anthropological analysis of game playing. Central to the discussion became the notion of “world creator” that balances homo ludens and homo faber. This notion also evokes concepts traditionally confined to theological discourse. This talk then build on these past studies to analyse a particular type of personal information, information about religious beliefs, within the context of online games. We look at the broad spectrum of online spirituality, from traditional religions using the online medium to “born digital” religions to deities and religions that only ever exist within virtual gaming environments, and ask what legal issues they raise – to what extend does the law care about, or even protect, the creation of creators?