China seeks to expand its social credit system into the metaverse

By: Michael Wilson

China seeks to expand its social credit system into the metaverse

August 21, 2023 7:25 AM

China apparently proposed digital IDs and real-world consequences for activities in the Metaverse to the United Nations commission.

The Chinese government reportedly has designs on introducing a social credit system–like their current one–into the Metaverse and other online virtual worlds.

According to documents→ obtained by POLITICO on August 20th, the state-owned telecommunications firm China Mobile has proposed a digital ID for all users of the metaverse and online virtual worlds that utilizes "natural characteristics" and "social characteristics."

It is proposed that "to keep the order and safety of the virtual world," authorities have permanent access to the ID and its contents, which would include the user's work title and other identifying information.

A problematic user who "spreads rumors and makes chaos in the metaverse" is used to illustrate the advantages of the system, with the digital ID facilitating the speedy identification and punishment of the offender by law enforcement.

The plan is modeled after China's social credit system, which is a developing infrastructure to encourage better behavior through the scoring and ranking of residents on a variety of parameters and has also been used as an enforcement tool.

The Associated Press reported→ in 2019 that 17.5 million times in 2018, police prevented social offenders from buying plane tickets. Other social offenders were punished by having 5.5 million ticket purchases denied.

The recommendations were presented by China Mobile on July 5 as part of discussions with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the communications technology body of the United Nations.

In October, members of the Metaverse working group will get together to discuss and maybe vote on the suggestions.

New standards for metaverse services are being developed by the ITU's Metaverse group, and if approved, they might have a significant impact on the telecommunications and technology industries.

According to one focus group contributor who talked with POLITICO, Chinese enterprises participating in the focus group are reportedly shooting off far more metaverse concepts than those from the United States and Europe.

It was stated that China is "trying to play the long game" in the hopes that its recommendations will become universally adopted once the metaverse catches on.

Envision a virtual world where your identification protocols are determined and tracked by the Chinese government. 'Is it the kind of immersive world we want to live in?' the person urged all governments to ask.