The service that has already changed due to the government’s ‘cough’… Realizing the ‘key’ net function[메타버스 규제 시작되나②]

It’s not legally binding, but domestic companies are ‘strengthening security’
High metaverse avatar self-projection, damage sequelae ↑
“The barriers to entry are borders… Concerns about the tilted playing field must be resolved”

Naver Jet, operator of the metabus platform ‘Zepetto’, recently formed a security advisory committee. [사진 네이버제트]

‘Cough-like announcement.’ This analogy comes from the industry over the ‘Metaverse Ethical Principles’ prepared by the government. This is because the content is dressed up as recommendations. Although not legally binding, companies have already moved quickly to emphasize secure operations within the platform.

According to the industry on the 29th, companies that have entered the domestic metabus industry, such as Naver and SK Telecom, have recently reflected many functions related to security and ethical operation in their platforms. Each of these companies described them as “updates unrelated to government announcements.” However, the security implementation within the platform was strengthened at the time of publication of the final draft of the Metaverse ethical principles. That is why there are interpretations that the change is a reflection of the government’s stance.

In fact, most of the companies that have recently strengthened ethics management in the metaverse have directly participated in discussions in the process of preparing the government on ethical principles in the metaverse. In other words, it was a structure that allowed the government to grasp the content of the regulations in advance.

Naver and SKT implement conceptual ethical principles with ‘technology’

The most dramatic change has occurred in Naver. Naver Jet, a subsidiary of Naver, operates the metaverse platform “Zepetto.” ZEPETO is Korea’s leading metabus platform with 340 million users in around 200 countries worldwide, including the US, France and Japan.

Naver Jet updated the reporting function in the application (app) on the 25th. The Community Guidelines have also been changed to strengthen safe operations. It will launch an official security character and implement a user protection policy based on it.

In particular, it introduced anti-grooming technology and applied technology to scan chat conversations. The aim is to quickly detect early indicators of grooming. The purpose is to prevent ‘online grooming’ in advance, which refers to the act of approaching children and adolescents through non-face-to-face channels, taming victims and sexually exploiting them. Along with this, the company has also completed the use of personnel to detect and eliminate sexual exploitation of children and young people.

On the 27th, when the government announced the ethical principles of Metaverse, the Security Advisory Committee (Advisory Committee) was launched. Naver Jet is continuously reviewed for the safety of ZEPETO’s operation by an independent expert organization. The advisory committee reviews the general suitability of policies and operating technologies, and also advises on strengthening provisions on diversity, equity and inclusion to prevent discrimination within ZEPETO. Noh Jun-young, leader of Naver Jet’s security team, said, “As ZEPETO is rapidly growing into a global metabus platform, we will continue our efforts to protect users through close exchanges with the security advisory committee. ”

The same goes for SK Telecom, which is pushing for global expansion through the metaverse. SK Telecom operates the ‘E-Friend’ metabus platform, which was used by 12.8 million cumulatively in the third quarter of this year. Recently, the company has strengthened its surveillance function to prevent illegal sexual acts from taking place within E-friend. In addition, a function was implemented to prevent complete contact on the screen when avatars collide. This is considered an example of technically realizing ‘respect for privacy’, which the government has set as the eight practical principles within the metaverse ethical principles. An official from SK Telecom said, “We are strengthening basic ethical operation as we recently launched E-Friend in 49 countries simultaneously for the purposes of a global platform.”

Image of 'ifland', a metabus platform operated by SK Telecom. [사진 SK텔레콤]

Image of ‘ifland’, a metabus platform operated by SK Telecom. [사진 SK텔레콤]

The reason why the government took the initiative to create ethical principles

The Metaverse ethical principles were implemented based on the ‘New Metabus Industry Leadership Strategy’ published by the cross-governmental government in January. At the time, the government considered that the preparation of ethical principles along with industrial promotion could help expand the ecosystem. Due to the nature of the metaverse that connects reality and virtuality, the degree of immersion in the ego is evaluated to be higher than other platforms. For this reason, the government saw that if the damage caused by the absence of the norm was serious, it could become an obstacle to the spread of the industry.

This method is common not only in Korea but also abroad, such as the United States. In May, SumOfUs, an online user group in the United States, criticized Horizon World, a metaverse platform run by Meta (formerly Facebook), as “a hotbed of sexual violence, provocative content, and hate speech. ” It is noted that a safety net is urgently needed. Cases of damage have also occurred in the country. A man in his 30s asked 11 children and young people he met in ZEPETO for about a year to take parts of his body, cause sexual exploitation, and he was handed over to the prosecution.

There is also an analysis that the metaverse avatar has a high level of self-projection, and the sequence of damage caused to the character is high. Prosecutors belonging to the Daegu District Prosecutor’s Office published a thesis on “Research on Sexual Violent Crimes and Criminal Legal Regulations in the Metaverse Space” in the summer issue of “New Trends in Criminal Law,” the Supreme Office’s quarterly magazine. Prosecutor, in July There are often crimes of sexual violence that can feel real and unpleasant on the platform,” he said. The National Assembly is also investigating this matter. Independent legislators Min Hyung-bae and Democratic Party legislator Yoon Young-deok have proposed a law banning sexual violence in the metaverse.

The process of negotiating with various stakeholders to prepare the 'Metaverse Ethical Principles' by the Ministry of Science and ICT. [과학기술정보통신부]

The process of negotiating with various stakeholders to prepare the ‘Metaverse Ethical Principles’ by the Ministry of Science and ICT. [과학기술정보통신부]

Reflecting this trend, the Ministry of Science and ICT (The Ministry of Science and ICT) prepared this ethical principle by holding discussions with various stakeholders from last May. An official from the Ministry of Science and ICT said, “Although serious compensation appears and ethical standards are created, the metaverse ethical principles are not cases where discussions have begun because of a special opportunity.” The government began to come out, and the government took the lead in organizing the discussions held in the Jung-gu heating system to prepare standards. Preventing damage in advance and cleaning up the ecosystem is the biggest purpose of this legislation,” he explained.

During the discussion process, the Ministry of Science and ICT also listened to the views of metabus operators such as Naver Jet, Kakao, LG U+, Vernect, and Microsoft. Originally, the ethical principle included ‘guaranteeing the right to choose’, but this background was removed in the final draft. Companies were concerned that the content could be a burden on development and operation.

However, the concern that the spread of ethical principles could be a burden on companies is seen as a task that the government must tackle. An industry insider said, “Huge companies like Naver have a large number of developers, so it is possible to develop services that comply with ethical principles, but small and medium-sized enterprises that have just entered the metaverse industry or are n intending to join the industry. metabus industry finds it difficult to develop services that meet all the standards “It is almost impossible,” he said “I hope that ethical principles do not block access.” “Even if there is no enforcement, domestic companies may feel burdened by this ethical principle,” he said. “The government should make efforts so that foreign companies can reflect the ethical principles well when maintaining domestic services.

He emphasized that the ’tilted playing field’ should not occur in the metaverse.”

Reporter Jung Doo-yong

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