In a bold move that has sparked controversy around the world, China under consideration Extending the real-world social credit system into the realm of virtual online worlds and the Metaverse.
Entitled “Digital Identity System,” the controversial proposal, created by state-owned telecoms giant China Mobile and being reviewed by experts, has raised concerns among digital privacy advocates.
In the proposed system, each individual using a virtual online platform or metaverse will be assigned a unique digital identity. This ID includes “identifiable signs, natural and social characteristics” and personal details to form a comprehensive profile of the user.
Under this proposal, such information would be stored indefinitely and made accessible to law enforcement agencies, facilitating rapid response to instances of misconduct within these virtual territories.
A relevant example is outlined in the proposal to show how the system works in practice.
This example assumes that a user named Tom has acted destructively within the metaverse. With a digital ID, Tom’s behavior can be quickly identified, appropriate action taken against him, and effective regulation of his behavior in the virtual space.
The effort may seem reminiscent of China’s infamous social credit system operating in the physical world.
Implemented nationwide, this dystopian system assesses the credibility of individuals, businesses, and government agencies based on their actions and actions. Various versions of this system are currently in use within China, but plans are underway for a unified nationwide version.
A proposal by China Mobile sparked discussion at an international conference. International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is a United Nations agency dedicated to global communications standards.
In December, the ITU established the Metaverse Focus Group to discuss emerging concepts of virtual worlds. This group of regulators, academics, tech companies and non-governmental organizations evaluates and votes on novel ideas.
China Mobile’s proposal was presented at the 2nd Metaverse Focus Group Meeting in Shanghai on July 5th and will be voted on at the next General Assembly in October.
But there are growing concerns about data privacy and personal freedoms.
Critics argue that the concept of unique identifiers and long-term storage of personal data can violate online privacy rights. Such measures may be seen as acceptable within a single-party state, but in a democratic society they may be seen as invasive and intrusive.
As expected, this proposal is expected to face significant opposition within the ITU. Nevertheless, global law enforcement agencies Interpol advocates early adoption of virtual reality technology to stay ahead of potential lawbreakers, scammers, and terrorists who might exploit the Metaverse.
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https://www.iottechnews.com/news/2023/aug/22/china-wants-metaverse-users-traceable-ids/ China wants Metaverse users to have traceable IDs