Proceed With Caution
The Emerald Viewer saga, or Emeraldgate is not resolved. Linden Labs has not reinstated it.
What is happening right now with Modular system's Emerald presents Linden Labs with its biggest crisis since gambling was banned overnight in the Summer of 2007.
My strong advice to you is not violate TOS, which clearly states your account can be suspended if you are using Emerald or any other non-approved viewer. Linden Labs does not play games. And this is a very bad mess right now.
I will be surprised if reinstatement happens quickly, since Linden Labs may be liable for privacy invasion or other damages from someone using Emerald. Legal staff is going to have to approve this reinstatement, and no one likes a potential law suit.
But there is another reason not to use Emerald right now, especially if you are concerned about privacy issues.
What some key managers at Modular Labs have done is simply outrageous. It may even be criminal.
According to Douglas Green who writes for the Harrisburg Second Life Examiner, on August 22, with information that was given to him in confidence,
"Information has come forward that a key employee had been 'mining data' on SL users' information, from a period approximately January through early April 2010. This 'datamine' data base includes over 39,000 entries, tracking 16,740 Second Life players, detailing avatar IP address, avatar name and key.
With a total of around 21,000 unique IP addresses 'mined' from this database, it shows that approximately 10% of the IP addresses are used by more than one avatar, aka alt accounts. At best case, this is embarrassing, especially if you are 'married' in SL on one av, and have a second 'relationship' going on with another alt. It would not take too much research to track that data to the source, and putting 2 and 2 together could spell a lot of lost love with secret affairs coming to life, or let your RL wife know you are shacking up virtually".
Reading into the article, this information was made available to other Modular Lab Employees. And not only that, this information may have been to intimidate people inworld.
If this is true, we very well may be looking at a criminal investigation for extortion or intimidation over state lines done by electronic wire, a very serious U.S. federal crime.
The story gets better.
It has been reported and confirmed that a Denial of Service attack, in other words making your computer an accomplice to shutting down a web site by bombarding it with messages, against Hazim Gavov, a prominent critic of Emerald, was uncovered in the past several days. Code was buried in the viewer that caused it to attack Mr. Gavov's site with the intent of shutting it down.
This is another matter that may attract the attention of legal authorities.When you are speaking of thousands of computers who were using Emerald, you are speaking of a mess.
You can rest assured that Linden Labs right now is going to make sure that something like this will never happen again. In the meantime, comply with TOS and do not use Emerald unless it is reinstated.