Metaverse: Protecting Your Privacy Online
Explore potential privacy protection issues within the metaverse.
It looks like the metaverse is here to stay. According to Emergen Research, the metaverse market value will reach $1.607 billion by 2030, and will achieve a record compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 43.3%. You simply can’t escape it, and with more crypto projects branching out and claiming digital real estate we can expect to see wider adoption online. Industries like fashion, music, retail, and even dating have already started making noise in the metaverse. As it shapes up to emulate the real world, and with so much of our information and data required, this calls into question how much protection there actually is in the metaverse and how users can best protect themselves.
How is the metaverse regulated? Metaverse has a promising future, with endless possibilities for users and developers alike. However, right now, there isn’t a set-in-stone privacy and data protection policy—with decentralization the name of the game. There’s no single owner of the metaverse, and, in fact, there are many metaverses hosted by different parties. Unlike the internet, metaverses are stand-alone platforms. For the metaverse to work successfully, and for its users to be able to roam safely within the digital world, there needs to be clear boundaries set. As the internet has proven, it’s incredibly difficult to regulate content online.
Scrutinizing governance gaps With no set-in-stone protocols, the metaverse faces several privacy protection challenges. These challenges stem from the fact that there is currently little to no governance or laws over the volumes of personal data being collected, and that each metaverse needs to be self-regulated for best security measures.
Collection of unprecedented personal data volumes Metaverse will transform social interaction and enhance the digital world for thousands of users. However, it also collects more information about users than any other platform ever has previously. To create an accurate digital version of yourself within the metaverse, applications need to track your body movements through VR and stream this data to a server. This includes details like your age and height. If making purchases in the metaverse you’ll also likely have payment details (like a crypto wallet) attached to your avatar. Additionally, companies in the metaverse use cloud data to collect personal information for identification and targeted advertisement purposes—similar to how the internet requests data through cookies and permissions. That’s a whole lot of information in one place.
Who controls the data? The metaverse shares a flow of data between users and entities. However, as there’s no one single body controlling this relationship, it’s difficult to confirm how this information is being held or protected. As there are multiple metaverses, ranging from Axie Infinity to Decentraland, each metaverse needs to come with its own regulation. With the businesses who own each individual metaverse also requiring specific data sets, does this mean users will be inundated with pop-ups every time they interact online? What is for sure, is that it’s still early days for the metaverse, and there’s plenty of time for successful and definitive privacy policies to be developed.
Potential shape of metaverse privacy policies Privacy and data regulation needs to be carefully considered by metaverse developers to best protect users. The internet, for example, is currently monitored independently depending on the user’s location. America has several agencies set up, such as the Federal Trade Commission, to regulate intellectual property. All of the challenges faced by the metaverse can be remedied under the right conditions. There needs to be a safe solution for protecting personal data and privacy obligations implemented to protect its users. The future looks promising. VR applications have faced similar issues in the past, such as those posed by Unity. Data issues, in this instance, were overcome through the use of the MetaGuard plugin. Created to act as an incognito mode for VR, this plugin protects user data and ensures that no information is accessible. This sounds like something that could work for the metaverse too.
MetaLOX: the LOX metaverse At LOX we value the protection of data and privacy. Our hybrid blockchain houses a unique dual-NFT model that combines both SmartNFT and SmartLOX NFTs to bridge users’ digital and physical ownership. It also ensures that private data stays private. Next up, we’re bringing extended reality to the blockchain. Starting with a digital recreation of London, you can register your home or business in the MetaLOX metaverse. Registration opened on 16 September 2022 and you can claim your free land NFT with your digital property. For more metaverse updates check out MetaLOX’s Twitter page and be sure to read our weekly LOX ecosystem blog.