The metaverse holds promises for digital IDs, risks for biometric data

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    A virtual world where billions of people live, work, shop and interact. This is the vision of the Metaverse, which some experts believe is the next version of the Internet.

    Observers at the World Economic Forum say the Metaverse will need digital identity technology to make all this shopping and interaction possible. It also requires new virtual and augmented reality devices that collect biometric data, potentially exposing users to privacy risks.

    Metaverse could be a solution for people without identities: WEF

    The Metaverse has the potential to give billions of people around the world access to digital identities. But to reach that goal, the world needs to build the necessary digital infrastructure and increase access, argues a new report from the World Economic Forum (WEF).

    “The Metaverse offers new avenues of providing identities to people not currently in identity systems, and could serve as a potential pathway for comprehensive access to education, finance and other services,” said the WEF report.Social Impact of the Metaverse’ was published jointly with Accenture in July.

    The Metaverse is expected to spark a whole new economy with an identity infrastructure, new financial assets and services to serve its customers. Accenture expects generative AI to drive the creation and growth of the Metaverse, which he predicts will reach $1 trillion in value over the next three years. Adoption of this technology will depend on being able to seamlessly combine identity, money and virtual assets, the report notes.

    Also, some applications, such as media and entertainment, may rely on anonymous or pseudonymous identities, while banking, educational, or work-related experiences may require legal identification. Anonymous identities can create risks, but they can be mitigated by facilitating trust networks that allow individuals to request trusted digital identities and certificate exchange protocols to exchange their identities in a privacy-preserving manner.

    “Aside from the data privacy trade-offs to consider, there are also complexities related to cybercrime, financial crime, and other abuses that can arise from users being able to create multiple identities,” the report said.

    The WEF has published additional papers titled: Metaverse privacy and security.

    More Metaverse Means More Biometric Surveillance

    While the metaverse may have some promising solutions for digital identities, experts warn it can also pose unique risks of surveillance.

    Augmented reality (XR) technology, also known as virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR), uses biometric identifiers and measurements, often alongside real-time location information and “always-on” audio and video recording technologies. This raises concerns about user privacy and security, according to Elizabeth Renieris, a senior researcher at the University of Oxford AI Ethics Institute.

    XR devices can capture information such as voice, iris, pupil movement and gaze, gait and other body movements, location information, device information and identifiers, Renieris said in her. Book Beyond Data: Reclaiming Human Rights at the Dawn of the Metaverse, published in February.

    Combining these devices with biometric systems such as facial and voice recognition can also expose individuals in the surrounding area without their knowledge or consent. Currently, there are few laws or regulations covering these scenarios, which could lead to a society of constant surveillance in public or semi-public spaces.

    “Despite the deficiencies in current law relating to personal data and frequently requiring individual identity, the rendering and digitizing of these activities in digital information raises both traditional and emerging data protection concerns,” Renieris said.

    What will happen to KYC in the metaverse?

    Web3 and blockchain technologies are expected to help build the Metaverse by providing immutable identities, tokenized digital identities, and empowering identity holders with digital property and data ownership. But it can also help improve the efficiency and security of Know Your Customer (KYC) data management. write The financial mogul of industry media.

    “KYC data is stored on an immutable blockchain network, reducing the risk of data breaches and unauthorized access. Cryptographic keys grant access to specific data points, giving individuals greater control over who can access their personal information,” the report states.

    Web3 can also eliminate multiple KYC checks by allowing individuals to verify their identity through trusted services and retain their verified identity attributes across various platforms and services. Companies are likely to move to adopting self-sovereign identities (SSIs) for a more efficient and secure KYC process, the report concludes.

    Article topics

    Biometrics | Data Protection | Digital Identity | Identity Verification | Identity Verification | Metaverse |


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