Social media platforms are increasingly focusing on Virtual Reality (VR) for business purposes. In this article, I’ll discuss a few risks, issues, and challenges in VR which could be of concern to users.
Before we deep dive, let’s understand a few must-know terms of VR –
- Augmented Reality – Enhanced version of the physical world
- Mixed Reality – It’s a combination of the physical and digital world
- Extended Reality – A combination of AR, VR, and MR, it refers to virtual and real environments generated by graphics
- Avatar – Graphic representation of individual users
- Guardian boundary – Boundaries not to be crossed while experiencing the VR
- Teleporting – Instant transportation from one location to another virtually
- Spatial Audio – Manipulated audio replicating real-world sounds
- Presence – Making the user feel physically and spatially present in the virtual world
Even though Metaverse is a Virtual Reality, it is tightly connected to real-world identity data. VRs may target to generate revenues from their users. To achieve this every user could use the real-world personal data starting from the name, address, bank account details, biometrics, location, and even the movements, poses, and multiple other attributes of a user. Let’s have a look at a few challenges, risks, and issues associated with VRs.
- Identity Verification
- Making secure payments
- Data Privacy
- Physical Safety Threats
As Metaverse is planning to introduce Avatars which is the virtual representation of an individual, identification, and verification of VR users are critical considering the strength of the Meta users globally. It is important to identify and verify the users in short intervals to ensure their security in the VR environment and to make Metaverse a reliable and trusted social media platform.
Identification and Verification of the users should be done as per local rules, regulations, and policies. Timely updates on the rules, regulations, and policies should be enforced by Metaverse. In short, there should a strong KYC (Know Your Customer) mandate. Implementing a KYC Mandate when it comes to billions of users spread across the globe with different regulations, is a real challenge. Identification and Verification should be performed directly rather than relying on any third party, which could be a potential gap in security.
Making Secure Payments
Like in the physical world, payments in the metaverse could be made in multiple ways such as Blockchain-based Digital currencies, Cryptocurrencies, Non-Fungible Tokens, and the traditional way of payments using credit and debit cards. One of the biggest challenges for corporates, business owners, and users is the risk of fraud. Since VR is in the early stages, the users should be aware of phishing attacks, and other forms of fraud like false chargebacks, depending on the payment form accepted. A global regulatory board should be created to guide the users, business owners, and others to ensure the financial transactions are totally secured.
Metaverse VR will have a global collection of user data, but currently, the data protection and privacy laws are not consistent for the global market. Technology has to be improvised to secure the data. Even after having regulations like CCPA for California and GDPR for the EU and UK, there is the ultimate need for regulations for managing the data of global users. Companies should work on privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs) to curb the use of personal data through cryptography and statistical techniques, individual companies setting up their own metaverse could start following the common principles for handling the data to ensure data privacy. This will lead to building a safe, privacy-sensitive, and regulated metaverse for users.
Physical Safety threats
In the Virtual Reality world, external hackers could attack the users physically too. Hackers could reset the physical boundaries of the Hardware by manipulating the VR which could misguide the user to unsafe zones. It is possible to design the VR intentionally so that when users click, it could direct users to situations like robberies, motion sickness, etc.
While we are exploring the future Challenges, Risks, and Issues in metaverse which are still evolving, these do exist in current networks too. On top of externally enforced security frameworks, self-awareness is key for securing individuals from threats and attacks, especially on social media platforms.