Going incognito: How we can protect our privacy in the metaverse

by | Sep 17, 2022 | Technology

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The image below shows me standing in a “Virtual Escape Room” that was created by academic researchers at U.C. Berkeley’s Center for Responsible Decentralized Intelligence. The simulated world requires me to complete a series of tasks, each one unlocking a door. My goal is to move from virtual room to virtual room, unlocking doors by solving puzzles that involve creative thinking, memory skills and physical movements, all naturally integrated into the experience.  

Louis Rosenberg inside a Virtual Escape Room created by researchers at U.C. Berkeley (2022)I am proud to say I made it out of the virtual labyrinth and back to reality. Of course, this was created by a research lab, so you might expect the experience was more than it seems. And you’d be right — it was designed to demonstrate the significant privacy concerns in the metaverse. It turns out that while I was solving the puzzles, moving from room to room, the researchers were using my actions and reactions to determine a wide range of information about me. I’m talking about deeply personal data that any third party could have ascertained from my participation in a simple virtual application. 

As I have been involved in virtual and augmented reality for decades and have been warning about the hidden dangers for many years, you’d think the data collected would not have surprised me. But you’d be wrong. It’s one thing to warn about the risks in the abstract; it’s something else to experience the privacy issues firsthand. It was quite shocking, actually.  

That said, let’s get into the personal data they were abl …

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