The metaverse is expected to be the immersive version of today’s internet. Metaverse uses data collected from the real world to provide this impressiveness. So, there are a lot of privacy concerns in metaverse and it opens new challenges in this massive virtual world. Some solutions to these privacy concerns of metaverse have been found out but major of them is yet to be found.
In this work, I will analyze and highlight the major privacy concerns in metaverse, its challenges and possible solutions to some of them. First, I will briefly explain about privacy and the life cycle of data. Then, I will briefly highlight the major privacy concerns in metaverse. After that I will discuss 2 major challenges of privacy concerts in metaverse. Finally, I will highlight some possible solutions to it.
- LIFE CYCLE OF DATA
- PRIVACY CONCERNS IN METAVERSE
- CHALLENGES OF PRIVACY CONCERNS IN METAVERSE
In this digital age, our relationship with the internet has reached an unprecedented level of connectedness. It is even more in the age of metaverse. So, In this new environment the state of privacy deserves a closer look.
In simple words, privacy is the barrier that protects your personal and private life. It lets you manage boundaries so that you can filter things you trust and you don’t.
But in this blog post I am talking about data privacy. Because the metaverse will be the largest aggregator of every user data. The data will not be only your personal data but very sensitive data like biometrics, body movement data, health related data, etc. So, let us understand what data privacy is?
WHAT IS DATA PRIVACY?
If you have the ability to determine for yourself when, how and what personal information you are going to share or communicate with others, that is called data privacy. But what falls in the category of personal information.
The personal information can be your name, location, contact information, online behavior and many more. But in the metaverse there is a whole lot of personal and sensitive information you are going to share knowingly or unknowingly.
You can get a list of user information that will be collected by sensors in metaverse form here.
LIFE CYCLE OF DATA
The life cycle of data refers to all the stages of data in the entire period of time when it exists in a matavarse. ofThere are 5 stages of the data life cycle in the metaverse. To list, they are:-
- Data Collection
- Data Processing
- Data Transmission
- Data Governance
- Data Storage
The first phase of the life cycle of data is data collection or data capturing. Data in the metaverse is captured from the hardware device like sensors, IoT, Xtended Reality Devices, etc. The data is also collected from user interaction and communication in the metaverse.
Then data is processed and fed to AI to give meaningful information of build up scenarios based on users preference. During the process data transmission takes from one device to another or from one place to another.
Once data is collected, it needs to be stored and protected with appropriate levels of security in the metaverse. Here data governance comes to play. Data governance compromise includes almost everything related to date from integrity to privacy to security.
Life cycle of data in the metaverse is out of scope in this post. I will create a separate post related to this topic.
PRIVACY CONCERNS IN METAVERSE
During our digital lives in the metaverse, user privacy including location privacy, habit, living styles and so many are offended and put at risk during the life-cycle of data. In this section, I will briefly discuss the privacy concerns in metaverse during the life cycle.
PRIVACY CONCERNS IN METAVERSE IN DATA COLLECTION
Your avatar in metaverse requires a lot of data to be collected for user profiling activities. These activities include facial expression, eye and hand movements, speech and biometric features, brain wave patterns, etc.
All of the above are very sensitive data collected by any metaverse project. The VR/AR headset collects most of this data. For example, the motion sensors and built in cameras in Oculus helmets track our head directions and movements, track our position, etc.
If your AR/VR headset control is taken by attackers, severe crime can be committed using these sensitive data.
PRIVACY CONCERNS IN METAVERSE IN DATA TRANSMISSION
The data collected by VR/AR headset are transmitted to and from from one system to another or one device to another. It can be transferred via wired device or wireless communications. The privacy concerns in metaverse in data transmission is preserving the confidentiality of this data.
Although these communications are encrypted and the information is confidentiality transmitted, someone might get access to raw data. This raw data can be accessed by eavesdropping on specific channels and even track users’ location via differential attacks and advanced inference attacks.
PRIVACY CONCERNS IN METAVERSE IN DATA PROCESSING
Data processing is essential in the metaverse for rendering of avatars and building up the metaverse environment. User sensitive data are collected from your body and from the metaverse environment. This data processing creates privacy concerns in metaverse.
The aggregation of private data belonging to different users to a central storage may pose privacy concerns in metaverse. It may violate existing regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
PRIVACY CONCERNS IN METAVERSE IN DATA GOVERNANCE
Data Governance (DG) in metaverse is the policy, standard and metrics that ensure quality and security of data in the metaverse environment.
Each user in metaverse has a different avatar.To deliver seamless customized avatar appearance in metaverse, different service providers need to access real-time user.avatar profiling activities. Malicious service providers may elevate their right to data access via attacks like buffer overflow.
AN VR/XR device gathers sensitive data such as locations and surroundings of you. The accountability in metaverse is very important to ensure users data are handled with privacy compliance. It is hard to ensure the transparency of regulation compliance during the netrire life cycle of data in metaverse.
PRIVACY CONCERNS IN METAVERSE IN DATA STORAGE
The storage of sensitive users data and private data along with metaverse environnement data is a great privacy concern in metaverse. These metaverse data are usually stored in Cloud or Edge Server.
Other invalid user may deduce users’ privacy information by frequent queries. This is usually done by differential attack. Moreover, attackers can compromise the edge or cloud server via DDoS attacks.
CHALLENGES OF PRIVACY CONCERNS IN METAVERSE
In this section I will discuss 2 challenges of privacy concerns in metaverse. All the challenges are related to enabling technologies of the metaverse.
PRIVACY AT SENSORY LEVEL
Extended Reality (XR) devices enable more immersiveness in the metaverse. These XR devices capture vast amounts of data from your biometrical data to spatial data. The spatial data refereed here is the data of your metaverse surroundings.
XR devices pose a huge challenge of privacy concerns in metaverse.It uses so many sensors to capture users data. These sensors collect information that might be sensible to users. Head Mounted displays (HMDs) used in metaverse collect biometric data such as head movement, eye tracking, etc.
All the data collected are sensitive and pose privacy concerns in metaverse.They put the most personal aspects of you at risk. Therefore, these devices should treat the data according to some principle and policies that protect users’ privacy in metaverse.
PRIVACY OF BEHAVIOR AND COMMUNICATION
Users interact with each other in the metaverse through their avatars. They not only interact and communicate with only avatars but with other virtual assets. The relations and social interaction is valuable to infer users’ habit, activities and choices.
Similarly, the biometric data of you can reveal your psyches. The metadata generated in any metaverse like conversation and reactions etc present a privacy concerns in metaverse. These information could be helpful to track and regulate the behavior of you in metaverse.
This post presented an overview of privacy concerns in metaverse. I have started with basics of privacy and the life cycle of data in metaverse. Then I explained in details about the 5 major privacy concerns in metaverse. I ended with discussing 2 major challenges of privacy in metaverse.