The Metaverse is a dream that most of us think is only possible in the movies. It is a permanent online virtual world that allows users to experience it using proper VR hardware instead of a regular keyboard and mouse.
However, data privacy concerns often accompany discussions of the metaverse. Hence, solutions are emerging to alleviate these concerns. In this article, we will explain the recently announced Incognito mode in the metaverse.
The concept of using a virtual space in a way that doesn’t track you as much is not revolutionary. You can use private or incognito mode in web browsers on your phone or PC to prevent websites from identifying you and your system from storing your browsing history.
However, incognito mode has its limitations. For example, your ISP can still track you. If you really want to secure your connection, it is better to use other tools in addition to Incognito mode. For example, a Download VPN It is one of the solutions that users choose to protect their activities.
The VPN hides your IP address to hide this identifier. On top of that, it encrypts and redirects your traffic, which makes it more difficult to keep tabs on your browsing. For example, ISPs will not be able to read information about online activities. However, they will see that you are using a VPN.
So, if current stealth has its limits, what can we expect of it in the metaverse?
When you use the Internet through a browser, you only create a few megabytes of data that contains a history of pages visited, click-through rate (CTR) for specific domains, and some behavioral parameters. The metaverse can offer more than that Big privacy concerns. It can pick up the noise from your microphone and analyze your movements to create an accurate body profile.
Therefore, the volume of data from using the metaverse is much more than just browsing the Internet. As such, you need more creative ways to not only hide user data but also to do it in a way that neither the server nor other users can notice. It was a formidable challenge that Don Song (UC Berkeley), Vivek Nair (UC Berkeley) and Gonzalo Monella Garrido (Technical University of Munich) began to overcome. And in the end, they did.
The increase the trio came up with is known as MetaGuard. They are based on the concept differential privacy, where the data set is shared with servers for statistical analysis. However, there is no practical way to redefine the user through it. The group presented its findings in a research paper to the prestigious Arxiv Department of Cryptography and Security, part of Cornell University.
MetaGuard is built using an open source C# extension compatible with the Unity game engine. Since most VR worlds today are created with Unity, this tool is available to anyone who wants to browse the metaverse anonymously.
For initial testing, the group used the initial version of MetaGuard in VRChat, one of today’s most prominent social virtual reality worlds. According to their analysis, the extension can lower the user’s temperature by 85 Hz and raise it by 255 Hz. Users also compensated the geolocation by 500 km (310 miles).
So far, MetaGuard has only been used in a controlled environment, and it has some performance gaps to resolve. There is still some time before it is ready to operate on a large scale. The team expressed concerns about how it could put a heavy load on the mid- and low-end machines.
The paper explains that MetaGuard is meant to be a secure advertising tool that does not allow companies to collect more data about their target audience than they need to. Since the service provider can still track activity and data bandwidth, the extension is more like an incognito mode rather than a VPN.
The development of virtual spaces is in full swing, with many games and social platforms already pushing the boundaries of virtual reality technology. As such, major corporate advertisers and nefarious hacker groups are already preparing to collect user data for their own purposes. In such a scenario, having some tools to practice data privacy can only benefit every user. Although more effort is needed to move the software to more open and unsupervised virtual environments.
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