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, 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, 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?


Garry Beaumont said...

Wait while Amazon start posting things to you, you don't even know you want yet.
Sound ridiculous?
Its already been worked on.

Garry Beaumont said...

Amazon is developing a system to send items to buyers before they have even decided they want it.
The technique could mean deliveries arrive within minutes - or could even be waiting for buyers when they decide to buy.
A patent filed by Amazon reveals the plan for 'anticipatory package shipping'.

According to the patent, the packages could wait at the shippers’ hubs, on trucks or even in an apartment building until an order arrives.
Packages would be shipped without an exact address, which could be added once an order is made.
This would allow Amazon to ship copies of items such a popular book on the day it is published, for instance.
Using its vast data stores, the firm could target those most likely to buy - and begin the delivery process even without a firm order.
A delivery address could be completed while the package is in transit,' the patent says.
It also discusses a system for delivery firms like UPS, who could hold packages of popular items on board then simply deliver when an order is placed.
To minimize returns, Amazon said it might even consider giving customers discounts, or convert the unwanted delivery into a gift.
'Delivering the package to the given customer as a promotional gift may be used to build goodwill,' the patent said.
In deciding what to ship, Amazon's patent reveals it will consider previous orders, product searches, wish lists, shopping-cart contents, returns and even how long an Internet user’s cursor hovers over an item.

Will Burns said...

Actually, this is a good idea. Identity management systems already let you do such a thing, even if not as robust.

For instance, your About information on G+ can have a visibility set to it for who can see what portions. This would just be a logical extension and actually might be a good solution for Nyms in the real world.

Have a Pseudonym visible to most, Wallet Info visible only to close friends and family. But the identity service has both available to it internally.

A good compromise and middle ground in the coming transition.

Botgirl Questi said...

Gary: Yeah, I read about that. All I can say is that they don't do a great job with me for recommended purchases and I often have to hunt to keep tabs on new releases I'm interested in.

Will: There will likely be multiple vendors with competing platforms and identity management concepts, so I'm looking forward to seeing what emerges.

Cecil Hirvi said...

Whatever # of identities you use to "browse" in a 3D store, you will still be accosted by human looking Amazo-bots that will say, "Hi! Did you know you can buy this x product at a discount today? Let me tell you about it..."

My solution to that annoyance would be if Amazon allowed avatars to shoot these bots dead, their digital entrails splattering all over the hardwood floors.

Garry Beaumont said...

Another Oscar Pistorius in the making here, I think. :-0