Part3: Several Available Strategies to Deal With Privacy Threats in Metaverse
As the last article in this series, we attempt to provide some recommendations for metaverse privacy protection from the perspective of service providers and general users.
Recommendations for Providers
Providers of metaverse services will need to ensure that people’s data are protected, e.g., adequately encrypted at all times during storing, exchanging and using. Providers will need to demonstrate that they will protect their users from government prying. Permitting users to access the data held about them and delete it would help users trust the providers. More specifically, service providers can provide clear privacy policies, store information securely, avoid releasing information about others, and minimize the amount of personal data in possession of metaverse corporations. Beyond this, there may be economic opportunities for providers to create means of protecting people’s privacy and securing their information  (at least if people begin to take their online privacy more seriously).
The transparency of services and interactions can increase the user’s credibility to the platform, which in turn can increase the subscriber flow and expand the volume of the metaverse . Metaverse service should include settings that allow users to determine who they wish to contain and exclude from certain social circles. Providers (including designers) of online environments will also need to be aware of the potential to include unconscious biases in their designs.
There may be economic opportunities for providers to create means of protecting people’s privacy and securing their information, e.g., selling technological means to allow people to encrypt data. End-to-end encryption that protects people’s correspondence and cloud services that encrypt all data with individual keys might become desirable for companies and citizens wishing to protect their privacy . Though, there is a risk that with end-to-end encryption, if users lose their keys, they will lose the ability to access all their data.
Recommendations for Users
Minimize privacy-related activities
Many online activities are at risk of collecting user privacy information illegally. However, such activities are generally easier to identify. One simple and efficient way to avoid these problems is to minimize interaction with these privacy-related activities. Users interested in privacy could also use software that blocks cookies, trackers, and so on. Citizens who value privacy — both personally and for its social importance — are obliged to avoid using services that undermine these values. If autonomy is utterly undermined, people will not be free to pursue any other goals they might typically have valued, however, unless most users avoid allowing their data to be accessed. Even those who value their privacy will be at risk due to associational privacy and big data gathering.
Citizens need to be aware of the potential to be manipulated and misinformed. Given that many privacy changes are unlikely to be halted, with consequent impacts on autonomy, people need to be informed about what others can know about their future actions. People should carefully analyze the contracts they sign when joining metaverse, examine changes to terms and conditions, and take care of what personal information they reveal .
If governments and corporations neglect their responsibilities for protecting privacy and autonomy, this responsibility for protecting privacy might fall on users. Those who wish to avoid invasions of physical privacy can resort to technological solutions, both low and high tech. Low-tech solutions might mean physically blocking cameras on phones or computers to ensure privacy. In contrast, high-tech solutions would involve using hardware or software to stop potential invasions of physical privacy . Users might also consider paying for services currently provided by large tech companies, i.e., buying encrypted metaverse services similar to choosing encrypted email services. For instance, mailbox.org houses its servers in Berlin and thus is subject to the strict German laws on data protection. In short, citizens can reward companies and services that value the protection of privacy and autonomy and punish those that do not.
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