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How vulnerable is metaverse about consumers’ privacy?

Today, we live in a digital world. We operate our house appliances, purchase goods, order services and do many more such activities all with a digital touch in it. As consumers we have become much more conscious with our choices. Whenever we visit a website to purchase any product, we cautiously measure each possibility, compare the product with other brands, all of this to fulfil our desire of what we want and how we want it. On the part of the company, it is important to provide a good customer experience to the person who visits our virtual store or site. As a provider they need to understand the wants of their customer, eliminating the need to continuously bombard them with questions about the goods and services they would require.

When we visit any site, it asks various information from us, it may be our name, age, email address or even phone numbers, and we as a customer willingly provide the same to these websites. However, a core aspect which we often ignore here is that the personal information which we give away so easily is always prone to falling into wrong hands. The term metaverse is not new to us anymore, the possibility of creating a virtual world which has all the amenities is yet to be unlocked completely. This idea of a single, shared, immersive experience has made many consumers curious about what more will metaverse bring along. While the positive rush is completely being acknowledged, there is also a grave concern regarding how these companies are going to keep our information safe?

Let us understand the concern which metaverse raises, by taking example of TELUS International, a Canadian technology company. In the survey conducted by this digital customer experience company, it was found that metaverse has created great concern for people in regard with their safety and security of the personal data. Among the respondents, 60% cited privacy and data security concerns as a reason for why they’d be uncomfortable completing various tasks in this emerging digital world. The study also found that as the metaverse continues to gain traction among brands and consumers alike, more than one-third, i.e., 34% of respondents believed that their top concern was that their personal data will be compromised. Additionally, 56% stated that it will be easier for hackers to steal their identity or data in this new digital space. Not just this, even a study conducted at the University of California Berkley revealed the privacy will be impossible in the metaverse unless new innovative strategies are laid to safeguard and protect the users.

It is true that metaverse is unlocking an exciting way for consumers to interact with their favourite brands. But we cannot ignore the fact that emergence of new technologies and platforms always bring opportunities for bad actors to deploy new and often at times more sophisticated forms of identity theft. As of now, metaverse is still in its infancy, making it easier for fraudsters to impersonate an individual and carry out unauthorised activity without any real-world implications. As a result of this, it is important for companies to prioritize embedding trust and safety measures in the foundation of their metaverse strategy, while also ensuring that these measures are seamlessly integrated so they do not overly complicate the customer journey.

Metaverse will only work efficiently if the customers will be able to put their trust in the brands they’ll reach. As customers a lot will be asked from us in terms of data and privacy. This will begin as soon as we will put on the VR headset to enter the metaverse that will capture and process massive amounts of biometric data, such as iris scans, pupil dilation, heart rate and voice analysis. Customers will also need to put new faith in the financial mechanisms that will power the metaverse. They will need wallets linked to global institutions governed by opaque regulations, or foreign exchange markets they may be unaware of. That is a completely new level of trust that must be earned. To gain the trust of these customers, it is important for governments around the globe to invest in transparent governance standards for data acquisition, storage and security.




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