Project Liberty’s McCourt Institute put forward in a recent public consultation, led by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the benefits of an open and public social graph, to ensure the future developments of Metaverses are ethical and respect users’ privacy and agency. The McCourt Institute recommends the development of protocols such as the Decentralized Social Networking Protocol (DSNP), to allow users to control their data.
Members of the ITU-T focus group on the Metaverse among with McCourt Institute will meet on March 8-9th to further discuss the proposition.
Currently, most users’ social graphs are privately owned and controlled by a small number of large technology companies. These same companies are building today new digital environments such as the Metaverses. How these environments are built is critical. If they are centralized and fragmented, solely driven by for-profit considerations, users’ experience will be limited. If they are open and decentralized, they could on the contrary benefit humanity.
“Open” or “decentralized” metaverses should be interconnected through a common set of protocols and standards. Indeed, users should be able to swiftly move from one digital platform to another with their digital identity and social graphs.
The Decentralized Social Networking Protocol (DSNP) can help ensure the Metaverses, and possibly other emerging digital environments, are open and decentralized. The DSNP builds on top of TCP/IP and HTTPS to enable a secure, open source, universally accessible social graph.
The Metaverse offers a unique opportunity to break the current centralization of the web and to make it more user-centric. Implementing the DSNP, or similar technical protocols, would ensure interoperability and consistency across different Metaverses environments. It would also provide a framework for developers to innovate and build on, while reinforcing users’ privacy, and control over their data.
View the full consultation here.