China is reportedly looking to implement a system with digital IDs and real-world punishments for actions in the Metaverse
According to the POLITICO report published on Aug. 20, the state-owned telco China Mobile proposed introducing a digital ID for all metaverse and online virtual world users that would function similarly to the national social credit system.
The social credit system in China is a project allowing total government surveillance over most aspects of its citizens’ lives. It presupposes aggregating and scoring loads of personal data, from financial transactions to behavioural patterns or social connections.
The new proposal aims to extend that system to the virtual world and rate users’ natural and social characteristics. The proposed digital ID would bear lots of information about an individual as well, including a person’s job and behaviour in the metaverse. This data should be permanently stored and shared with authorities.
Furthermore, the owners of such digital IDs would be held accountable for their actions in the virtual world. An example provided in the proposal is a user that “spreads rumors and makes chaos in the metaverse” quickly found and punished by the police with the help of a digital ID system.
The proposal was part of discussions with a focus group on the Metaverse put together by the United Nations’ communications technology agency the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) which sets global technology rules. In October, the focus group will vote on this and other proposed ideas.
Metaverse is a persistent immersive digital space which creates a sense of presence in a realistic environment. It is facilitated by blockchain, AR and VR technologies. Leading Asian countries, in particular, have embraced the opportunities of the metaverse.
Thus, major Japanese banks and tech companies joined a “Japan Metaverse Economic Zone” metaverse infrastructure project to provide payments, authentication, and insurance services for users across platforms in February. The companies involved will integrate their respective technologies and services, such as gamification, FinTech, and ICT, to build an enterprise-grade interoperable open metaverse system.
At the same time, if the proposals from Chinese state organizations described above are accepted by ITU and applied globally, that would influence the state of a new Internet iteration and its possible use cases.