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WH Insights: Data Privacy in the Metaverse

In today’s WH Insights video, Senior Associate Patrick Massa discusses important data privacy issues in the metaverse. WH Insights is a video series that covers key legal concepts, trending legal topics, news and legal updates.

What is the Metaverse?

It is a digital environment that challenges the boundaries of our physical world and creates a new and unique digital universe through innovative technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality and blockchain.

Users can participate in this immersive world using avatars that mimic body movements via wearable sensors. Combining physical and virtual elements could improve the performance of everyday activities in the Metaverse, thus changing the way we interact, use services, and do business .

Metaverse and data protection

As with all other transformative technologies, there are various legal concerns surrounding the Metaverse. In particular, many question the protection of users’ personal data.

Operating the Metaverse requires processing an unprecedented amount of personal data, including biometric data such as user movements, physiological responses, and even electroencephalogram patterns, resulting in a much higher level of user profiling. higher. However, this certainly requires careful legal analysis, as the processing of biometric data is only permitted in exceptional cases under the General Data Protection Regulation.

Another issue concerns sharing user data between different entities in the metaverse. The interoperability and seamless nature of the metaverse requires continuous data flow between different entities. However, the GDPR establishes strict rules for transfers of personal data, especially those involving entities located outside his EU. Not surprisingly, complying with these conventions is especially difficult in the context of the metaverse. This is because there are many entities involved and they may be located all over the world.

Finally, there are cybersecurity incidents and personal data breaches that can take more complex forms in the metaverse, such as avatar hacks. Not only can it be difficult to detect and manage, but it can also be difficult to identify the entity responsible for fulfilling legal obligations arising from a data breach, such as notifying affected data subjects and relevant authorities. I have.

The metaverse is still in its infancy, but data privacy is already proving to be a daunting obstacle. Given the notable efforts on the part of data protection authorities to strengthen GDPR enforcement, businesses interested in using the Metaverse should carefully consider how they reconcile data privacy with the Metaverse business model. It is important to

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