Metaverse, society and cyber security – Internet defense

I have been thinking of writing something about this for a long time. As I thought, time has passed and the web has now reached version 3. and will soon change to 4.0.

Among the innovations of web 3.0 you can include anything that has to do with “Metaverse”.

Some time ago Federica Maria Rita Levelli and Alberto Monici wrote a nice article (“The metaverse is now a reality, what challenges await us?”) That I invite you to review if you can, before continuing to read.

In this short article, however, I will try to highlight problems that are not yet fully addressed and that we rarely hear about, because I think it is appropriate to raise awareness of a “virtual world”, which, however, has many implications for the world.real.

It seems to me that society needs time to study, to analyze and, if necessary, to prevent or prohibit behaviors that could become problematic, to avoid being found, as often happened, to manage awkward rather than familiar situations.

I start with a question, as I often do, which I will try to answer, if possible. Do not take it if there is no answer from me, but rather try to find one.

My first question is: Should there be rules in the post-universe, for those immersed in it or for their avatars?

It may seem like a stupid question, the answer to which is trivial, but I do not think so.

To show what I mean, I will try to clarify the question. For example, in metaverse can one avatar offend another avatar? Can you threaten him? Can he steal? He can commit acts that are considered crimes in the real world, such as assault, rape, pedophilia?

As I told you at the beginning, seemingly trivial questions may seem trivial, but that may not always be the case.

Someone may answer me that it does not make sense to ban transactions performed from avatar to avatar. These are not people! However, avatars are chosen with the similarity of those who create them, they often have their characteristics, their main psychological characteristics, they imitate their behavior …

But that is not enough reason, they tell me from the wings. Agree.

But what about the fact that there is a real person behind an avatar? With his fears, his weaknesses, his instincts and above all a brain dedicated to processing what is happening around him, whether it is the real world or the virtual one in which his “other self” is, his avatar.

Now, suppose a particularly fragile person in the real world attacks his or her avatar in the virtual world, and when he or she “re-enters the real world” he or she decides to commit suicide.

Does anyone have to answer for his death or was it just a accident?

Some may say that these things do not happen, avatars perform well. For those who are thinking, I invite you to read this article about an avatar abduction in metaverse, committed against the avatar of a researcher studying human behavior in the virtual environment … the good thing is that the researcher did not commit suicide, but this does not mean that this can not happen to highly fragile people.

But let us take another example: what will happen if political propaganda in the post-universe takes place on the day before the elections? Is it a crime? And if it is a crime, who commits it, his avatar or his human “double”? And if the person behind the avatar does not exist, perhaps because it is an avatar produced by an artificial intelligence, then who is the possible culprit? The owner of the virtual platform? As I said earlier I have no answer.

Another example: what if a person with a disability, perhaps without legs due to an accident, finds it more interesting to stay attached to a console, with a helmet, that allows him to live a “virtual life” having both legs? Is it a good or bad thing? Honestly, I can not tell you, but what do we want?

What if an avatar decides to sell his property, perhaps a digital work of art to another avatar? For the exchange he can use an electronic money which man can then convert into real currency. None of you see the possibility of laundering dirty money? Am I the only one?

Let’s move on to another, last example. What if you use the meta-universe and therefore environments and images to carry out espionage operations? Imagine how many opportunities to exchange information can exist in addition to those that already exist today.

If you think about it, we can find as many similar situations as we want.

I have tried to give simple examples of situations that could be considered borderline, but I remind you that today there are few users of these virtual worlds for whom there is little chance of accidents, but one day, at least according to investors, there will be many to use metaverse, as today there are many who use social networks.

That is why it is necessary to start thinking about which behaviors are allowed and which are not, and to try to prevent potentially harmful effects on the individual and society.

And we have not yet talked about the dangers of cyberspace!

The post-universe is a space created by man, in which man, through his avatar, will have the opportunity to move, to live, to perform actions of all kinds. Actions that will undoubtedly have an impact on both the virtual world and the real world. That is why it is important to understand what these interactions are and what the potential dangers are for the individual and for society as a whole.

Think that people think!

To learn more:

Researcher says her Avatar was raped on Meta’s Metaverse platform (businessinsider.com)

Metaverse is now a reality: what challenges await us? – Internet defense

Cisco Talos Intelligence Group – Comprehensive Threat Intelligence: On the Radar: Securing Web 3.0, Metaverse and beyond

e-privacy XXX – Suspension of privacy (winstonsmith.org)

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