Incognito Mode Explained in Metaverse – The Coin Republic | Jewelry Dukan

Metaverse represents a dream that most of us only thought possible in movies. It is a persistent online virtual world that users can experience with proper VR hardware instead of the regular keyboard and mouse.

However, privacy concerns often accompany discussions about Metaverse. This is how solutions are created to alleviate such worries. In this article we explain the recently announced incognito mode in the Metaverse.

What is incognito mode?

The concept of using a virtual space in a way that doesn’t haunt you so much isn’t revolutionary. You can use a private or incognito mode in your phone or PC web browser to prevent websites from identifying you and your system from storing your browsing history.

Still, incognito mode has its limitations. For example, your internet service provider can still track you. If you really want to secure your connection, it’s best to use other tools in addition to incognito mode. For example, a VPN download is a solution that users choose to protect their activities.

A virtual private network masks your IP address to hide this identifier. In addition, it encrypts and redirects traffic, making it much harder to keep track of your browsing behavior. For example, internet service providers cannot read information about online activity. However, you will see that you are using a VPN.

So if the current incognito has its limitations, what can we expect from it in the metaverse?

How is it different for the Metaverse?

When you surf the Internet through a browser, you generate just a few MB of data, which includes the history of pages visited, your click-through rate (CTR) for specific domains, and some behavioral parameters. The Metaverse can raise even greater privacy concerns. It can pick up the sounds from your microphone and analyze your movements to create an accurate body profile.

Therefore, the data volume by using the Metaverse is much more than just surfing the Internet. Therefore, you need more creative ways to not only hide the user’s data, but also to pretend that neither the server nor the other users can notice it. It was a daunting challenge that Dawn Song (UC Berkeley), Vivek Nair (UC Berkeley) and Gonzalo Munilla Garrido (Technical University of Munich) wanted to master. And finally they did.

Process of going incognito in the metaverse

The extension the trio developed is known as MetaGuard. They are based on the concept of differential data protection, in which a data set is shared with the servers for statistical analysis. However, there is no practical way to use this to re-identify the user. The group has presented their findings in a research paper by the renowned Arxiv Department of Cryptography and Security, part of Cornell University.

MetaGuard is based on an open source C# extension compatible with the Unity game engine. Since most VR worlds today are built with Unity, this tool is accessible to anyone willing to search the metaverse anonymously.

For preliminary testing, the group used the prototype version of MetaGuard in VRChat, one of the most popular VR social worlds today. According to their analysis, the extension could lower the user’s pitch by 85 Hz and raise it by 255 Hz. Users also had their geolocation offset by 500 kilometers (310 miles).

Can MetaGuard be deployed on a large scale?

So far, MetaGuard has only been used in a controlled environment and has some performance issues to address. It will still be some time before large-scale commissioning. The team has raised concerns about how it can be extremely taxing on mid-range and low-end machines.

The paper explains that MetaGuard aims to be a secure advertising tool that does not allow companies to collect more data about their target audience than they need. Because the service provider can still track activity and data bandwidth, the extension is more like an incognito mode than a VPN.

Conclusion

The development of virtual spaces is in full swing, with multiple games and social platforms already pushing the boundaries of VR technology. Therefore, advertisers of large corporations and sinister hacker groups are already preparing to collect user data for their own purposes. In such a scenario, having a few tools to exercise privacy can only be beneficial for any user. However, more effort is required to move the software into more open and uncontrolled virtual environments.

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