The EU Mulling About the Best Way to Regulate the Metaverse at the Back of the UK’s OSB

The EU’s Margrethe Vestager says the economic bloc is analysing the metaverse ahead of possible regulatory action at the back of the UK’s Online Safety Bill.
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Quick take:

  • The EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager says the Bloc is analysing the metaverse ahead of possible regulatory action.
  • The statement comes at the back of the UK’s strong stance on the immersive 3D world.
  • Meta recently added a personal boundary feature in its metaverse after facing backlash following metaverse assault complaints.

The metaverse has been marketed as the next iteration of the web, dubbed Web3, which is expected to replace the smartphone web. However, as more people hop into the next frontier of user interactions, it seems like the perennial cybersecurity and privacy issues are hitch-hiking into the immersive 3D environment.

Facebook, now Meta, recently added a new personal boundary feature to its metaverse platforms after facing backlash following metaverse sexual assault complaints. The global social media giant has already crossed paths with the EU antitrust commission over data sharing disputes. The social networking corporation recently said it may shut down Facebook and Instagram in Europe.

The new security measures come just days after the UK introduced a new Online Safety Bill (OSB) to protect its residents when browsing the internet. Legal experts say, after analysing the contents of the new rules, they believe the metaverse is well covered. 

And on Tuesday, the EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager told an audience during an online press conference that the Bloc was analysing the metaverse ahead of possible regulatory action.

The EU antitrust Chief told an online event organised by a group of German newspaper publishers that with the metaverse already here, the bloc will start by analysing the roles the regulator and the legislature will play in the digital world.

“Everything we do must be fact-based and based on the information that we can get… We need to understand it before we can decide what actions would be appropriate,” said Vestager, who is also Denmark’s representative on the EU’s executive Commission.

Vestager’s statement comes hot on the heels of the UK’s OSB, which experts think will also protect users in the metaverse. 

In a recent blog post published by the Co-authors of the OSB, Professor Lorna Woods, Professor of Internet Law, the University of Essex and William Perrin, Trustee, Carnegie UK wrote, “our broad conclusion is that the OSB regime will roughly work, with some tweaks. Or to put it another way that technology companies can’t use the metaverse to escape regulation.”

The UK government wants its online safety bill to make the United Kingdom the safest place in the world to be online.

Woods and Perrin told the FT that they feel that Meta (Facebook) has moved the debate to a new service to evade regulation. “But that isn’t the case at all in our view. The Online Safety regime applies,” they said.

Blockchain industry experts also seem to agree with Woods and Perrin views. TimeChain CEO Louis Cleroux exclusively told NFTgators that the Web3 infrastructure model prevents established technology companies from monetizing user data.

“I expect data privacy to be one of the cornerstones in the future EU safety bill. Established players will try to monetize users behaviours, intents and desires in the metaverse through ads and referrals,” he added.

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