A glimpse at privacy and the metaverse

by | Oct 5, 2022 | Blog, Technology

A recent report by McKinsey found that the Metaverse has the potential to generate up to $5 trillion in value by 2030.

The term metaverse has its origins in futurism and science fiction, and describes a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection. This new parallel VR world is connected to the idea of Web 3, encompassing concepts such as decentralization, blockchain technology, and token-based economics.

Put simply, the metaverse is a blend of online and offline experiences. It is a world where we can interact, socialize, shop, work, research, and contract services, all through an avatar created for use in the digital environment. The metaverse presents massive opportunities and possible applications across many industries (e-commerce, live sports, entertainment, online learning, telehealth, and so on).

Nonetheless, important questions remain on how the metaverse will adapt to national and international laws. One area of interest is the question of privacy and data protection in the metaverse, which will be discussed further below.

Types of Data in the metaverse

In addition to basic user information, metaverse technologies will collect more detailed data to facilitate interaction (for example, details of avatars, names, interactions, purchases, and perhaps even sensitive data concerning gender, ethnicity, health, political opinions, etc.).

To cater for this new augmented and virtual reality experience, the metaverse will also require even more types of data, which make us unique. These may include for example our voice, body postures, and movements.

Once such data is collected, further questions arise as to how it can be used and monetized by metaverse companies in future.

Privacy and Data protection in Brazil

Today, data protection standards still vary considerably from country to country. In Brazil, metaverse companies will need to observe the national data protection law (Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados Pessoais, or LGPD).

This law is heavily inspired by the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, and amongst other things, regulates the manner that personal data may be collected, processed, and retained in the country. The law includes important references to data security and privacy by design principles.

In addition to the LGPD, other Brazilian laws will need to be considered in respect of the metaverse. Examples include Brazil’s Civil Rights Framework for the Internet (covering topics such as freedom of expression, net neutrality, data protection, intermediary liability, and connectivity), as well as various other cybersecurity laws and regulations.

Further, it will be necessary to stay on top of the developments regarding the regulation of AI in the country (e.g., the recently proposed Brazilian Artificial Intelligence Act – Bill No. 21/2020, proposes to establish principles, duties and guidelines for developing and applying AI in Brazil).

For now, with so many questions still remaining unanswered regarding the regulation of the metaverse, it is important to study and debate the diverse challenges that lie ahead regarding the regulation of this promising new virtual reality world.

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