Monday, April 7, 2014
An Approach to Identity and Privacy in the Transition from Web 2.0 to Web 3D
There are a wide range of questions that come to mind when imagining a transition from Web 2.0 to Web 3D. Identity management and privacy are two of the most important.
Just a simple scenario of shopping at a single site brings up a lot of alternative possibilities. For instance, when I’m shopping today on Amazon.com, other people browsing don’t know I’m there or what items I’m viewing. But if I’m shopping at an Amazon 3D virtual store, will I be visible to other shoppers as if I were walking through a mall in the physical world? Will they see what I’m browsing? Will my avatar be visible publicly, but my identity cloaked? If my avatar isn’t generic, might it be recognizable or searchable even if my user name is hidden? Will I even see other people or will I be alone in the store? If I'm alone, doesn't that undermine the social aspect of the virtual environment experience?
Here’s one possible solution: What if there was an identity management feature that lets me represent myself differently in real-time to different groups of people. So if I’m walking around a 3D version of Amazon.com, strangers might see me as J.Doe1001 in a generic avatar, virtual world friends would see me as Botgirl Questi in her form, and my RL friends and family would see me my wallet name with an avatar matching my physical form.
What do you think?