EFF, in partnership with Access Now and the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ECNL), has responded to the European Commission's consultation, "Virtual Worlds (Metaverses) – A Vision for Openness, Safety, and Respect." This follows our joint statement on International Human Rights Day in 2021, "Virtual Worlds, Real People: Human Rights in the Metaverse," which called for governments and corporations to uphold human rights within Extended Reality (XR), which include Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). We are now submitting an updated version of this statement.
The term "metaverse" is elusive, and open to many interpretations. It has evolved into an umbrella term encompassing numerous concepts, often influenced by the perspectives of those utilizing it. Given this broad and vague scope that can even extend beyond Extended Reality (XR), our submission neither endorses nor critiques the EU Commission's initiative.
However, EFF strongly urges the EU Commission to consider historical digital rights lessons learned. People need principles that safeguard them from undue state and corporate overreach, which should be the focus of any measures introduced by the EU Commission about the metaverse.
The metaverse does not need to be a single platform, nor does any metaverse need to be owned or controlled by a single entity. Instead, it is more beneficial to consider the metaverse as a generic term for a vast and interoperable network of different VR, AR, and "other services."
XR presents enormous potential for entertainment, education, connectivity, and human rights advocacy. Yet, it also poses risks to these human rights. Our joint statement emphasizes the importance of past experiences in securing human rights within XR, and extending the protection of our rights. We also propose several principles to prevent state and corporate overreach in XR.
You can read the full submission here: