Virtual environments are becoming more and more accepted, and part of the everyday online experience for many users. This offers new potential for both surveillance and data mining. Some of the techniques used are discussed in this paper.
However, such activities may in many countries conflict with the legal framework in place, for example with the German Federal Data Protection Act (Datenschutzgesetz). This point is illustrated by means of comparisons with real-world collection of personal data scenarios such as telephone tapping or video surveillance.