Play on the Metaverse – POLITICO

Roblox, the online gaming platform which has a user base largely made up of children under the age of 13 and numbering in the hundreds of millions, tries to grow with its audience.

The Roblox Corporation announced during its developer conference this month that it will soon allow brands to buy in-game advertising directly, creating a huge opportunity for companies keen to appeal to young, tech-savvy audiences – and sending shivers down the spines of many parents. .

Gaming will be central to building a metaverse, which raises glaring questions about security, privacy, and content moderation. Games like Roblox, Fortnite, and Minecraft are the finest examples of what the architects of the metaverse envision for an immersive online world; Fortnite developer Epic Games has raised billions largely on the back of its metaverse ambitions.

Some politicians have already taken notice and asked federal consumer watchdogs to keep an eye out. In February this year, a group of lawmakers led by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is a letter to the FTC urging him to use his “full authority” to protect minors from both “manipulation” and breaches of privacy or security. FTC Commissioner Lina Khan responded to Markey in a letter saying children’s use of VR gaming platforms poses “serious risks,” including the use of “dark patterns” meant to manipulate algorithmically users in purchases or other decisions.

Washington keeping a wary eye on the gambling industry is nothing new. In the early 1990s, the US Senate held hearings on the rise of increasingly violent video games, leading to the creation of the Entertainment Software Rating Board which still classifies games by age group today. America has now largely made peace with beheadings, dismemberments and other forms of mock horror, but how online play spaces can materially affect children’s health and privacy is still relatively unknown. – policed ​​and understood. (Last week, the Department of Homeland Security awarded a $700,000 grant to researchers investigating political extremism in online gaming spaces.)

Each of these issues will only become more significant in a virtual space like the Metaverse, where not only are interactions more unpredictable and intimate than they appear on our current screens, but the devices that allow them to collect voluminous amounts of data that make smartphones look inconspicuous in comparison. Child protection is, at least theoretically, a rare point of unanimous bipartisan agreement. This makes video games an unexpected frontline for early debates about what exactly the Metaverse should be, who should be allowed to use it, and how.

“In a digital society, it’s impossible to completely isolate children from the internet and expect them to succeed,” said Will Duffield, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute who focuses on online discourse. “It must be more about how children are educated in healthy, responsible and safe use of the internet, rather than how best to isolate them.”

Colorado Governor Jared Polis, America’s ‘self-proclaimed’ firstgovernor playerannounced this week that residents of his state will now be able to pay their state taxes in cryptocurrency.

Polis, who was think about the idea for a while, the development announced yesterday. A state spokesperson confirmed today the system is now operational. The states income site now lists “cryptocurrency” under its accepted payment methods, including specifying that payments can only be made through personal PayPal accounts, and that only one type of cryptocurrency can be used per invoice (that’s i.e., no mixing and matching of the four cryptocurrencies currently accepted by PayPal: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin).

The only two other states that have moved decisively towards paying crypto taxes are Utah, which pass a law ordering it to be accepted by early next year, and Ohio, where a crypto portal set up by former state treasurer (and Republican Senate primary candidate) Josh Mandel was close in 2019 amid questions about its legality.

It hasn’t really been a good media cycle for Clearview AI, the facial recognition software company whose signature product is now restricted or banned in a laundry list of country.

Now the European Parliament could be preparing to ban it on a large scale. POLITICO’s Clothide Goujard reported this morning for Pro subscribers that Renew Europe, a liberal group which is one of the largest in Parliament, now broadly supports such a ban, putting it in line with members on the left who have long called for it.

As in the United States, this puts them at odds with law enforcement willing to use its surveillance and apprehension tools. (The center-right European People’s Party, writes Clothilde, is now virtually isolated in its efforts to allow increased use of facial recognition by police.) In the United States, Vermont has become the first state to ban facial recognition. facial in 2020, and 17 localities (including one county, King in Washington) They succeeded similar laws

Stay in touch with the whole team: Ben Schrecker ([email protected]); Derek Robertson ([email protected]); Constantin Kakaes ([email protected]); and Heidi Vogt ([email protected]). Follow us @DigitalFuture on Twitter.

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