There Are “Unprecedented” Privacy Risks in the Metaverse, a Research Claims

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Last Updated on September 19, 2023 by Bitfinsider

The next generation of the internet, with all its advantages, carries “unprecedented” hazards of “potential erosion of privacy” and “proliferation of abuse in virtual environments.”

A study published by NYU’s Stern Centre for Business and Human Rights (CBHR) claims that virtual reality (VR) encounters have the potential to cause severe and long-lasting psychological harm.

The major concern, according to the paper, is not the functionality of new gadgets like virtual reality headsets, but rather how they utilise user data that is gathered. Researchers at Unanimous AI and the University of California, Berkeley, for example, have discovered that even the most basic VR headgear with a motion tracker can gather a lot of information from a user, such as their identity, demographics, and even health.

Lawless virtual areas present countless chances for abusers, in addition to privacy concerns. Psychologically speaking, even physical attack in the metaverse can be harmful since, according to the paper, those who are fully involved in a virtual reality environment tend to believe that “what they are experiencing is real.”

The majority of the metaverse’s existing iterations, according to research by Mariana Olaizola Rosenblat, a policy advisor at NYU Stern CBHR on technology and law, remain underdeveloped. Rosenblat observes that Meta’s Code of Conduct for Virtual Experiences is still “ambiguous and under-inclusive.”

Congress should enact a “comprehensive privacy law,” according to the report, to safeguard consumer privacy and restrict the use of body-based data. Additionally, it calls for the creation of a federal agency charged with upholding the Federal Trade Commission’s authority to defend consumers against “unfair and deceptive practises by technology companies.”

On the other hand, Meta sees no reason to give up on creating its metaverse. Sept. 14: The Menlo Park, California-based social media behemoth revealed that early access to Horizon Worlds, its collaborative virtual reality platform, would be available on mobile devices and the web.

At the same time, Meta introduced a brand-new initiative for American educators to encourage students to investigate the possibilities presented by the metaverse. According to a report, the company works with fifteen American universities that are actively using immersive learning. Stanford University, Arizona State University, New Mexico State University, and other universities are among them.

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