The challenges of protecting data and rights in the metaverse

Article by Urvashi Aneja: “Virtual reality systems work by capturing extensive biological data about a user’s body, including pupil dilation, eye movement, facial expressions, skin temperature, and emotional responses to stimuli. Spending just 20 minutes in a VR simulation leaves nearly 2 million unique recordings of body language.

Existing data protection frameworks are woefully inadequate for dealing with the privacy implications of these technologies. Data collection is involuntary and continuous, rendering the notion of consent almost impossible. Research also shows that five minutes of VR data, with all personally identifiable information stripped, could be correctly identified using a machine learning algorithm with 95% accuracy. This type of data isn’t covered by most biometrics laws.

But a lot more than individual privacy is at stake. Such data will enable what human rights lawyer Brittan Heller has called “biometric psychography” referring to the gathering and use of biological data to reveal intimate details about a user’s likes, dislikes, preferences, and interests. In VR experiences, it is not only a user’s outward behavior that is captured, but also their emotional reactions to specific situations, through features such as pupil dilation or change in facial expressions….(More)”