Addressing Metaverse Activities in Online Safety Bill
Members of the House of Lords in the United Kingdom are advocating for the inclusion of regulations covering activities in the metaverse within the Online Safety Bill. The bill, designed to regulate certain internet services, has sparked concerns about the potential harm children might encounter in virtual environments. Lawmakers stressed the importance of not overlooking the metaverse's impact, emphasizing the need to protect children and vulnerable individuals.
Extending the Scope to Virtual Environments
The discussion revolves around the bill's reach, which pertains to "anything communicated by means of an internet service." Lawmakers like Timothy Clement-Jones argue that excluding virtual environments and providers from this scope would be a disservice to protecting users. This encompasses not only text and images but also virtual objects and avatars.
Global Landscape of Online Oversight
The approach to regulating online activities varies from nation to nation, and many countries are still refining their legislation to address the evolving digital landscape. In the United States, advocacy groups have already pressured Meta to implement safeguards against harassment and privacy loss for minors on their metaverse platform, Horizon Worlds.
The Path Forward for the Online Safety Bill
The UK's Online Safety Bill is set for further discussions in the House of Lords on July 17. Following this, the bill will undergo a third reading before final amendments and formal enactment. This legislative effort reflects the ongoing endeavors to adapt regulatory frameworks to the challenges presented by emerging technologies and virtual spaces.