Privacy and Data Collection in Virtual Worlds
STATE OF PLAY - LAW, GAMES AND VIRTUAL WORLDS, Jack M. Balkin and Beth Simone Noveck, eds., NYU Press, 2006
6 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2007
The purpose of this chapter is to explain that virtual worlds generate special and specific privacy concerns. It does so by first explaining that in this setting, players not only strive to keep their online identities and activities secret in the real world, but try and keep their real-world identities hidden in their online communities, where they constructed reputations over time. It then addresses three sources for privacy concerns: the actions of government, other users and the game controllers. In virtual worlds, governments can engage in ongoing surveillance at marginal costs. Other users can abuse players by "leaking" information from the virtual worlds to the real one, and vice versa. Finally, the game controllers are in a unique position to generate privacy concerns, as they are omnipresent and can therefore trace every action players carry out in the virtual world, as well as collate this information with data about the players' real-world identities. This allows them to create digital dossiers on players' preferences much more efficiently than in other internet settings. Thereafter, the game controllers can use these dossiers in ways detrimental to users.
Keywords: Information Privacy, Virtual Worlds, Internet Law and Policy, Online Advertising, Data Mining, Direct Marketing
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K19, K20, K29, K30, K39, K40, K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation