Seeking to define generally accepted principles of Metaverse technologies operation, China proposed introducing digital IDs of virtual space users and real punishments for actions committed in the Metaverse.

China Seeks to Establish Control Over Metaverse

During the discussion of Metaverse technologies by the participants of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), representatives of the Chinese state-owned telecoms company China Mobile put forward several recommendations to ensure user control in virtual space. This is reported by POLITICO.

In particular, they proposed establishing a system of digital IDs for all Metaverse users, which will include social characteristics and natural ones. Thus, according to Chinese experts, the user’s digital ID should include such personal data as age, gender, occupation, etc. Moreover, this data should be stored and constantly updated, and access to it, if necessary, will be available to representatives of law enforcement agencies “to keep the order and safety of the virtual world.”

However, members of the international ITU consortium didn’t appreciate the proposed initiative. Chris Kremidas-Courtney, Senior Fellow at Brussels think tank Friends of Europe, said that the approach of Chinese representatives to virtual space is very similar to the local social rating system, which doesn’t consider citizens’ privacy and freedoms. This violates the basic principles of online space, which for Western citizens are a priority.

For example, the trust rating mechanism that is at the center of China’s social credit system can lead to citizens being placed on blocklists that identify users to be denied certain public services. If this approach is transferred to virtual space, it could restrict entry into the Metaverse. And this goes against one of the basic principles of the Metaverse, namely accessibility.

Even though the majority of ITU members negatively assessed the proposal of China Mobile representatives, it was still put to an official vote, scheduled to be held at the next meeting of the Union in October this year in Geneva. 

The Chinese government is actively developing the VR technology market, planning to ensure the growth of the industry in the Sichuan region alone to $34 billion by 2025.

Author: Nataly Antonenko
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