China To Explore Digital ID System for Metaverse
- China Mobile, a state-owned telecommunications company, is reportedly considering the implementation of a digital ID system in the metaverse and online virtual worlds.
- The proposed digital ID would encompass both “natural characteristics” and “social characteristics” of users.
- The proposed digital ID system shares similarities with China’s existing social credit system.
- China Mobile presented the digital ID proposals during discussions with a metaverse focus group convened by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
- Critics express concerns about surveillance, data privacy, and the influence of authorities on virtual experiences.
In a move that mirrors its existing social credit system, China is reportedly considering the introduction of a digital ID system within the metaverse and online virtual worlds.
This proposal, led by state-owned telecommunications company China Mobile, has sparked conversations about the intersection of identity, surveillance, and virtual experiences.
The Digital ID Vision
The concept of a digital ID is poised to bring “natural characteristics” and “social characteristics” of users into the metaverse fold.
China Mobile envisions a system that not only identifies users but also maintains order and safety within these virtual spaces.
The proposed digital ID would store a wide array of personal information, including users’ occupations, providing a comprehensive profile for each individual.
This data would be accessible to relevant authorities, allowing for quick identification and intervention in case of disruptions within the metaverse.
Parallels with the Social Credit System
The resemblance between the proposed digital ID system and China’s existing social credit system is striking.
The social credit system, an ongoing initiative, evaluates citizens based on their behaviors and assigns scores that reflect their conduct.
While initially aimed at promoting positive behaviors, it has also been used as a tool for enforcement.
Instances have emerged where individuals with low social credit scores faced travel restrictions as punitive measures.
China Mobile’s Proposal
China Mobile put forth its digital ID proposals during discussions with a metaverse focus group convened by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a United Nations agency focused on communication technology.
These proposals have implications that could potentially shape the standards for metaverse services.
Contributors from the focus group noted a strategic push by Chinese companies to present a higher number of metaverse proposals compared to their American and European counterparts.
This approach aligns with China’s aspirations to set the benchmark for metaverse protocols should its adoption become widespread.
Critics and Concerns
As with any ambitious proposal, criticisms and concerns have emerged. Critics worry about the potential implications of China’s identity protocols within the metaverse.
Surveillance, data privacy, and the role of authorities in influencing virtual experiences are among the concerns raised.
As the metaverse becomes an increasingly integral part of our digital lives, these questions will demand thoughtful consideration.
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