August 22, 2023

China Eyes Implementing Its Social Credit System in Metaverse

Chinese Metaverse

Chinese Metaverse

Recent reports revealed that China plans to introduce a system similar to their social credit system, but specifically for the metaverse and other online virtual worlds.

On August 20, Politico shared details of proposals put forward by state-owned telecommunications company China Mobile. These proposals suggest the creation of a digital ID for all users of virtual worlds that uses both “natural characteristics” and “social characteristics.”

According to the proposals, to maintain order and safety in the virtual world, personal information and identifiable details such as a person’s profession would be collected and stored permanently in the ID system. This information would also be shared with authorities.

To illustrate the advantages of this system, an example was given of a troublesome user who spreads rumors and creates chaos in the metaverse. With the help of the digital ID, law enforcement could swiftly locate and penalize the individual.

The proposal put forward by China Mobile shares similarities with the country’s social credit system, which is still under development. This infrastructure aims to encourage positive behavior and assign scores and rankings to citizens based on various metrics. However, it has also been used as a means of enforcement.

According to a 2019 report by the Associated Press, authorities prevented social offenders from buying plane tickets 17.5 million times in 2018, while others were barred from purchasing train tickets 5.5 million times.

China Mobile presented the proposals during a meeting with a focus group on the metaverse organized by the International Telecommunication Union, a United Nations communications technology agency. The Metaverse focus group meets again in October, where the proposals could be voted on.

According to a group contributor who spoke to POLITICO, Chinese companies participating in a focus group are reportedly submitting significantly more proposals related to the metaverse compared to those from the United States and Europe.

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