Metaverse Compliance Discussion: The Identity Mapping Challenge of Digital Humans

 

From a regulatory perspective, the biggest challenge in the digital human industry is how to achieve the penetrating mapping between on-chain identities and off-chain identities

Metaverse Compliance Discussion: The Identity Mapping Challenge of Digital Humans

[Editor’s note] According to the recent statistics of the China Digital Economy Hundred People’s Association, in 2021, there will be 2,843 financings of digital human-related enterprises, with a financing amount of 254 billion yuan. In early August, Beijing issued an action plan to promote the innovation and development of the digital human industry to support the development of the digital human industry . The virtual digital human track is enjoying the dual support of venture capital and policy.

Looking back on the history of network technology innovation in the past, it is all verified that “only norms can lead to healthy development”. “Internet Law Review” is authorized to repost an article on the compliance analysis of digital people by Wang Rhen, a professor at Shanghai University of Political Science and Law and director of the Anti-Money Laundering and Financial Security Research Center, for readers.

The article proposes that, from a regulatory perspective, the biggest problem in the digital human industry is how to realize the penetrating mapping of on-chain and off-chain identities, otherwise it will be in a dilemma of no accountability; from a development perspective, the important issue is how to Regulate technology and applications for compliant operations.

Digital Humans in the Metaverse

It is generally believed that the digital human in the Metaverse will have two different forms: the first is the “digital avatar” of the natural person in the virtual space, just like in the movie “Ready Player One”, the natural person relies on the smart wearable device to “another self” Carrying out various activities in the virtual space, there is an identity-identical relationship between the digital human and the natural human; the second is a brand-new “digital human” synthesized by technology companies based on algorithms, rendering and other technologies in the virtual space. The virtual person created by Ruchuangyi Video directly on the Douyin platform, the beauty anchor Liu Yexi [2], is a pure AI product and does not have the same identity as a natural person. According to BOC Securities’ forecast on the market scale of virtual digital human application scenarios [3], by 2030, the entire virtual digital human market will reach 270.3 billion yuan. Perhaps the scene in the movie Ready Player One where the natural person participates in the social, entertainment and business transactions of the virtual world through digital avatars is not too far away.

(1) Intrinsic characteristics of digital people

Digital human, also known as avatar, refers to the creation of virtual characters with digital appearance in the non-physical world by using computer means such as graphics rendering, motion capture, artificial intelligence, deep learning, speech synthesis, etc., with a variety of human characteristics , such as appearance characteristics, human performance capabilities, human interaction capabilities, etc. [4].

Metaverse Compliance Discussion: The Identity Mapping Challenge of Digital Humans

(2) The status quo of classification of digital people

With the continuous development of the underlying technical means involved in digital humans such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality, digital humans have expanded into a variety of uses and types. In addition to the above-mentioned “digital clones” of natural persons on the chain and virtual persons generated by computer technology, according to different classification standards, digital persons can be further divided into seven different types [5]: The first is According to the industry application, it can be divided into two types: identity type and service type. Identity-type virtual people emphasize their identity, and can be further divided into two categories according to whether they correspond to specific natural persons: one is the “alternate” of a specific natural person offline in the virtual world, such as China Mobile Migu ‘s self-developed technology for Gu Ailing The digital avatar created by them—”Meet GU”[6]; the other type does not correspond to specific natural persons in the real world, such as virtual idols such as “Hatsune Miku” and “Luo Tianyi”. The service-oriented virtual human emphasizes its functionality and aims to build a virtual human with both a sense of reality and a sense of caring through technical means, which can achieve the purpose of replacing real people’s services, such as the intelligent host, virtual teacher, etc. jointly released by Sogou and Xinhua News Agency. Virtual AI assistants, etc. The second is based on technology, which is divided into algorithm-driven and human-driven. Among them, the algorithm-driven type refers to the virtual human created by AI real-time calculation or “pinch face” technology; while the real-person-driven type refers to the virtual human obtained through the algorithm after capturing the motion of the natural person.The third type is divided into IP and non-IP categories according to business models. Among them, the IP category is the virtual person with a certain IP such as Liu Yexi, Imma and other KOL types, singing and dancing types, brand types, etc. mentioned above; the non-IP category refers to the purpose of academic research and the realization of specific functions such as character companionship, etc. Created virtual people. The fourth type is divided into digital type and holographic type according to the structure and composition. The division is based on whether the way users watch virtual people is through online viewing or on-site naked-eye viewing. The fifth type is based on the character design, which can be divided into perfect idol type, cutting-edge experimental type, real life type, intelligent assistant type, industry expert type, etc. The sixth is to divide according to the design style. It can be divided into two-dimensional animation, human-like rendering and hyper-realism. The seventh is to divide according to the visual dimension, which can be divided into 2D type and 3D type. The digital person discussed in this article refers to the virtual image of the natural person off-chain in the virtual world through multi-technical means, relying on technical equipment to present, with the characteristics of human appearance, movement and voice, etc., in the virtual world in digital form.

(3) The necessity of penetrating mapping between on-chain identities and off-chain identities

As mentioned above, the main way for off-chain natural persons to participate in the Metaverse is to travel through the virtual world of the Metaverse in the form of “digital clones” through multi-technical means. Like other emerging technologies, the Metaverse opens the door to the darkness of human nature while full of opportunities [7]. Because of this, the focus of the supervision of the Metaverse is to punish and hold accountable off-chain actual actors. In order to achieve the purpose of governing the possible infringements, infringements and even criminal acts in the Metaverse. In the current era of web 2.0, there is already a judicial view of transforming the infringement of virtual personality into the infringement of the legal rights of the natural person behind it in reality. , the court held that: “Internet users register virtual network names and participate in cyberspace activities with virtual personalities in accordance with the law, which can bring spiritual pleasure to the real network users themselves, and sometimes can also create real and realistic experiences for them. Therefore, the infringement of the virtual personality of the network user in cyberspace can also be transformed into the infringement of the personal rights, property rights and other legitimate rights and interests of the network user in reality.” In the Metaverse era, these judicial viewpoints may be extended to apply : Under the blessing of digital human-related industrial technologies, natural persons off-chain participate in activities in the virtual world through “digital avatars” in accordance with laws and regulations, which will bring a greater sense of acquisition, experience, and Pleasure, the infringement of digital people is very likely to cause serious actual impact and infringement on offline natural persons. At this time, it is necessary to penetrate the “digital avatar”, through the mapping of on-chain identities and off-chain identities, to realize the supervision department’s performance of supervision Responsibilities and the purpose of the infringed party claiming the corresponding legal responsibility.

Metaverse Compliance Discussion: The Identity Mapping Challenge of Digital Humans

Discussion on the technical level to realize the penetration mapping between on-chain identity and off-chain identity

(1) Creation technology of digital human

The development history of digital human is also the history of development and change of technologies such as CG, motion capture, and artificial intelligence synthesis. In the 1980s, digital humans began to step into the real world, limited by technology. At that time, the production of digital humans was mainly hand-painted; at the beginning of the 21st century, with the gradual development of CG, motion capture and other technologies, digital human-related technologies began to be used. The field of film and television has gradually become popular, and the birth of Chuyin Miku in 2007 marked that the virtual idol industry has been widely recognized and accepted; in recent years, with the continuous breakthrough of deep learning algorithms, digital people are increasingly developing towards intelligence, refinement and diversification. In the entire industry chain of digital human, generation is mainly divided into three major links: modeling, driving, and rendering. Among them, the modeling and generation of digital human has laid the foundation for future use and is the most core and difficult link. At present, the modeling and generation of digital humans are mainly divided into three types. According to the level of human participation, they are pure manual modeling, modeling with the help of acquisition equipment, and modeling with artificial intelligence. At the same time, related software and hardware are involved, including Modeling software, driver software, rendering engine, shooting and acquisition equipment, optical devices, display equipment, etc. [9]. With the emergence of AI and deep learning algorithms, the production process of digital human has been greatly simplified. In the “White Paper on Digital Human Development in 2020”, based on the general system framework of digital human, the technical architecture of five horizontal and two vertical is extracted. [10] “Five horizontals” refers to the five major technical modules used for digital human production and interaction, namely, character generation, character expression, synthetic display, recognition and perception, and analysis and decision-making modules. Among them, character expression includes voice generation and animation generation, and animation generation includes two parts: driving (action generation) and rendering. “Two verticals” refers to 2D and 3D digital humans. 3D digital humans need to additionally use 3D modeling technology to generate digital images. The information dimension increases and the amount of calculation required is larger.

(2) What is the identity mapping between a digital person and a natural person

The term “identity mapping” originates from the field of computer technology, which refers to the union of identities in one domain to equivalent identities in another domain. For the mapping of on-chain identities and off-chain identities in the Metaverse, reference can be made to the “identity identification” theory. The concept of “identity determination” originates from the field of criminal investigation. It originally refers to the judgment made by a person with specialized knowledge or a person who understands the characteristics of the object, by examining and comparing the characteristics of the object to determine whether the people or things in a case are the same.According to the different objects, the same identification can be divided into the identification of the same person and the identification of the object. Extending into the Metaverse, it refers to the identification of whether offline natural persons and online digital persons have identity identity, which is also known as “individual identification”, “personal identification”, and “identity identification” [11].Using the principle of “identity identification” for identity mapping can solve the problem of judging whether the object on the chain is consistent with the object under the chain. A natural person can manipulate an online digital person, and at the same time, the reputation, praise and criticism of the digital person in the virtual world, and the infringement of rights and interests can directly affect the corresponding natural person.

(3) Reference path to realize identity mapping at the technical level

To achieve the same identification of a digital person and a natural person, the following three aspects can be used to make progressive and joint judgments: First, it directly points to the type of evidence, such as whether the account to which the digital person belongs is registered with the real name of an offline natural person, whether it has passed identity verification, etc.; The second is indirect evidence, such as the combination of the IP address and Mac address of the electronic device used to log in and the space where the natural person is located; Factors such as posture, habits, etc., combined with such characteristics of offline natural persons, continue to narrow the scope until it is oriented to one person. Combined with the technical application of digital human, we can try to explore from the following three points:

1. The same identification of smart wearable devices as a medium

In the Metaverse era, smart wearable devices will undoubtedly become the medium bridge between natural people and the Metaverse. At this time, you can refer to the web2.0 era to use electronic devices as an intermediary to identify the same online and offline. That is, by authenticating, accessing, and collecting the hardware systems of wearable devices used by offline natural persons, such as computing terminals, network equipment, and storage media, and identifying the characteristic information of software systems such as operating systems used by offline natural persons The methods of offline natural persons (actors) are divided into appearance information identification method, system information identification method and address information identification method. [12] The same identification using smart wearable devices as a medium is conducive to the identity penetration of known natural persons and online digital persons, and can intuitively solve the violation of the rights and interests of online digital persons. The issue of people exercising their rights, because smart wearable devices, as a medium, can be recognized as a part of offline society through their entities, and because they can enable offline natural persons to enter the virtual space, they are considered to be an integral part of the network information environment . However, in view of the situation that the rights and interests of digital people have been violated and digital assets have been degraded, the use of this identification method for the “person” of the infringing act is ineffective. The main reason is that this method must rely on the intelligent wearable electronic equipment In general, the offline natural person of the “person” of the infringement is most likely not in the same country. At this time, due to the absence of the anchored electronic equipment and electronic data, this method cannot be used. Because of this, the scope of application of this method is extremely limited.

2. The same identification of data information as a medium [13]

Using digital information as a medium for the identification of online and offline identity can break through the dependence on offline smart wearable devices as a medium, which is of great benefit to locking down virtual digital infringers and identifying the identity of digital actors and offline natural persons. To be more specific, the so-called act of making the same identification through data information as a medium is to realize the purpose of analyzing various code instructions generated by virtual digital actors in the Metaverse, related application programs invoked, and other types of point data information. This identification method can not only collect the electronic data generated on the smart wearable devices and computing devices, but also rely on the data on the platform server, the infringed’s smart wearable devices, and computing devices for analysis. Relying on virtual space services to conduct virtual space data search and special database search for data mining and analysis, collect all data that can be collected under legal circumstances, use specific mathematical models and analysis methods to calculate massive data, and then carry out data collision, data Comprehensive processing and analysis of data including mining, data profiling, hotspot analysis, and criminal network analysis, etc., to obtain the perpetrator information after processing, and complete the identification of online and offline identity identity.

3. The same identification of behavioral traces as a medium

The same identification using behavior traces as a medium can actually be understood as the integration of criminal traces in virtual society and real society. It is through the comprehensive evaluation of virtual space behavior and real space behavior to achieve the same identification of virtual digital actors and offline natural persons. The identified behavior traces can come from the actor himself, the electronic device he uses, or the Metaverse platform. For example, given that virtual digital actors in the Metaverse belong to the “done” of offline natural persons, gait information, as the key feature information of traditional criminal investigation, can still play a role in locking users through its specificity and uniqueness in the Metaverse The account of the virtual digital actor is logged in by the same IP address in a continuous period of time, which can also be regarded as the cross-correlation of behavior traces in time and space. Therefore, in the Metaverse era, it is necessary to break through the barriers between electronic traces and traditional traces, pay attention to electronic traces in virtual space and traditional evidence in physical space, abstract and comprehensively use the evidence of the two spaces, study and analyze electronic traces in virtual space. Traces and the characteristic information contained in traditional evidence can be effectively identified online and offline.

Metaverse Compliance Discussion: The Identity Mapping Challenge of Digital Humans

Implications for compliance development at the platform level of digital people

(1) The current state of supervision on digital human-related industries in my country

The digital human integrates new technologies such as artificial intelligence, deep synthesis, and virtual reality, covering the basic software and hardware layer, platform layer, application layer and other digital industry chains. It touches many industry scenarios and involves a wide range of legal fields. . At present, my country has not yet established a regulatory system for digital humans at the level of laws and regulations, and the regulatory requirements for the creation of operations, development models, and commercial applications have yet to be clarified. However, with the development of the digital human industry ecology, the central and local governments have successively issued relevant policies To promote innovation and development, this paper has sorted out the main documents at the national level in the past three years, which are listed as follows:

Metaverse Compliance Discussion: The Identity Mapping Challenge of Digital Humans

In addition to the support and guidance of macro policies, the regulatory authorities in my country’s Internet and other related industries are gradually regulating compliance supervision at the technical level. For operators at the digital human platform level, the normative documents that need to be focused on include:

Metaverse Compliance Discussion: The Identity Mapping Challenge of Digital Humans

(2) Exploration of judicial practice

In terms of judicial practice, there have been court precedents on the infringement of digital human-related technologies. In April 2022, the Supreme People’s Court announced the “Typical Civil Cases of Judicial Protection of Personality Rights after the Promulgation of the Civil Code”, of which the fourth case, “AI Accompanying” software infringing on personality rights, involves artificial intelligence software using the image of a natural person to create virtual characters without authorization. the issue of infringement. In this case, the Beijing Internet Court held that: “In the software involved in the case, the user used the name and portrait of the plaintiff to create a virtual character, produced interactive materials, and projected the overall image of the plaintiff’s name, portrait, personality characteristics, etc. As for the AI ​​character, the AI ​​character forms the avatar of the plaintiff, and the defendant’s behavior belongs to the use of the overall personality image including the plaintiff’s portrait and name. At the same time, the user can set an identity relationship with the AI ​​character, and set any mutual interaction. Appellation, and ‘training’ the character through the production of materials, thus forming an experience of real interaction with the plaintiff. The above-mentioned functional settings of the defendant for the case also involve the personal freedom and personal dignity of natural persons. Although the specific pictures and texts are uploaded by the user, the defendant’s product design and The application of the algorithm actually encourages and organizes the uploading behavior of users, and directly determines the realization of the core functions of the software. The defendant is no longer just a neutral technical service provider, but should bear the infringement liability as a content service provider. Agreed to use the plaintiff’s name and likeness, and set up system functions involving the plaintiff’s personality freedom and personal dignity, which constituted an infringement of the plaintiff’s right to name, portrait, and general personality rights. The defendant was ordered to apologize to the plaintiff and compensate the loss.”[14]

This case is a beneficial exploration of the evaluation criteria for the application of new technologies and algorithms in virtual reality. In the absence of clear provisions in the current law, this case has certain typical demonstration significance for subsequent judicial practice. With the development of science and technology, the extended applications of digital human beings carrying the personality elements of natural persons will increase day by day. As the operating subject at the digital human platform level, it is necessary to pay attention to the risk of legal rights infringement that may exist in the same identification of digital human and natural person.

(3) Suggestions for compliance development

The digital human and related industries are still in the initial stage of development. How to develop the operating entities at the digital human platform level in compliance with regulations is an issue that needs to be continuously explored. Based on the current regulatory framework and the actual situation of the current digital human industry chain, the author analyzes the The key points are as follows:

1. Qualification compliance

The creation of a digital human involves artificial intelligence, interactive technology, rendering technology, speech recognition, blockchain and other technologies. The operating entity at the digital human platform level shall obtain corresponding qualifications or go through registration and filing procedures according to the nature of the platform and business scope. The main qualifications and licensing obligations that may generally be involved are as follows:

(1) Handle the Internet information service algorithm filing and publicize the information link

According to Article 24 and other relevant provisions of the “Regulations on the Administration of Algorithm Recommendations for Internet Information Services”, algorithm recommendation service providers with public opinion attributes or social mobilization capabilities shall file through the Internet information service algorithm within ten working days from the date of providing the service. The system fills in the name of the service provider, service form, application field, algorithm type, algorithm self-assessment report, content to be announced, and other information, and goes through the filing procedures. Algorithmic recommendation service providers that have completed the filing shall mark their filing numbers and provide links to public information in prominent positions on their websites and applications that provide services to the outside world.

(2) Conduct a blockchain security assessment and handle the filing of blockchain information services

According to Article 9 of the “Regulations on the Administration of Blockchain Information Services” and other relevant regulations, if blockchain information service providers develop and launch new products, new applications, and new functions, they shall report Internet information to the country and provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government in accordance with relevant regulations. The office conducts a security assessment. The blockchain information service provider shall fill in the service provider’s name, service category, service form, application field, and server address through the State Internet Information Office’s blockchain information service filing management system within ten working days from the date of providing the service. and other information, and perform the filing procedures.

(3) Obtain the Internet information service value-added telecommunications business license and go through the registration procedures

In accordance with Article 7 of the Measures for the Administration of Internet Information Services and other relevant provisions, those engaging in commercial Internet information services shall apply to the provincial, autonomous region, or municipal telecommunications management agency or the information industry authority of the State Council for an Internet information service value-added telecommunications business license ( hereinafter referred to as the business license). After obtaining the business license, the applicant shall go through the registration formalities with the enterprise registration authority with the business license.

(4) Obtaining a license for disseminating audio-visual programs through an information network or performing filing procedures

According to Article 7 of the “Regulations on the Administration of Internet Audio-Visual Program Services” and other relevant regulations, those engaging in Internet audio-visual program services shall obtain the “License for Broadcasting Audio-Visual Programs through Information Networks” issued by the competent department of radio, film and television or go through the filing procedures in accordance with these regulations.

(5) Obtain a network culture business license

According to Article 8 of the “Interim Regulations on Internet Culture Management” and other relevant regulations, to apply for engaging in commercial Internet cultural activities, an application shall be submitted to the cultural administrative department of the people’s government of the province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government, and the cultural administrative department of the people’s government of the province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government shall apply. approval.

(6) Handling the filing of network security grade protection

According to Article 21 of the Cybersecurity Law of the People’s Republic of China and other relevant regulations, network operators shall, in accordance with the requirements of the cybersecurity graded protection system, perform cybersecurity protection obligations, and protect the network from interference, damage, or unauthorized access. access to prevent network data from being leaked or stolen or tampered with.

2. Technical Compliance

China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (hereinafter referred to as “China Academy of Information and Communications Technology”) led by the Institute of Cloud Computing and Big Data to formulate two international standards on digital human – ITU-T F.748.15 “Framework and metrics for digital human application system” (Basic framework and evaluation indicators of digital human application system) and ITU-T F.748.14 “Requirements and evaluation methods of non-interactive 2D real-person digital human application system” and evaluation methods) will be released in the near future. It is foreseeable that these two international standards have strong guiding significance for the formulation of national standards for digital human in my country in the future, and also have high reference value for the operating entities at the platform level of digital human in the research and development of digital human application systems and technology evaluation. . [15]

3. Operational Compliance

The “Administrative Regulations on Deep Synthesis of Internet Information Services (Draft for Comment)” proposes to providers and users of technologies such as deep learning and virtual reality that generate and synthesize algorithms to produce information such as text, images, audio, video, and virtual scenes. It has a certain guiding role for the compliance operation of the operating entities at the digital human platform level. Combining with the relevant content of this regulation, the main points of compliance are sorted out from the three dimensions of pre-prevention, in-process management, and post-event processing, as follows:

Metaverse Compliance Discussion: The Identity Mapping Challenge of Digital Humans

Epilogue

At the time of writing this article, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Economy and Information Technology issued the “Beijing Action Plan for Promoting the Innovation and Development of the Digital Human Industry (2022-2025)”. Tourism, finance, government affairs and other fields have blossomed in an all-round way. With the advancement of digital technology and the innovation of application scenarios, the supervision system of the digital human industry will also face more complex legal challenges. We expect that in the future, we will be able to explore the combination of laws, social norms, markets and algorithms. A broader multi-regulation direction.

【Notes】

[1] Hehe: “Roblox: What is the origin of “the first share of the Metaverse”? “, https://baijiahao.baidu.com/s?id=1735510953120131784&wfr=spider&for=pc, last accessed: August 5, 2022

[2] Central Radio Network: “How can “virtual digital people” go out of the circle with “strength”? “, https://baijiahao.baidu.com/s?id=1736237877698260944&wfr=spider&for=pc, last accessed: July 31, 2022

[3] Bank of China Securities: “In-depth Research on Virtual Human Industry”

[4] Head Leopard Research Institute: “2021 Virtual Digital Human Industry Overview Series Report (2): Virtual Digital Human Market Demand and Development Prospects”; Guohai Securities: “Metaverse Series In-depth Report II: Digital Virtual Human—— The intersection of science, technology and humanities, the starting point of empowering industries”

[5] Insight Research Report: “Virtual Human Industry Research Report – Searching for Thousands of Baidu in the Public, That “Human” is Deep in the “Cloud”

[6] NetEase News: “Gu Ailing won the championship! “Meet Gu” Witnesses the History of the Winter Olympics”, https://www.163.com/dy/article/H4OCS3I10552XGK1.html, last accessed: July 31, 2022

[7] The Paper: “Global Digital Governance | The Dark Door of the Metaverse Has Opened, How Can Regulatory Authorities Fortify”, https://baijiahao.baidu.com/s?id=1732969561634689792&wfr=spider&for=pc, last visit: 2022 August 5th.

[8] “Yang Xiaqing v. Beijing Baidu Wangxun Technology Co., Ltd. Civil Case of First Instance Dispute over Reputation Rights”, (2018) Su 0102 Min Chu No. 3400

[9] Essence Securities: “Long and Short-Term Prospects of Digital Humans: IP and Empowerment”

[10] Overall Group of China Artificial Intelligence Industry Development Alliance and Digital Human Working Committee of Zhongguancun Shuzhi Artificial Intelligence Industry Alliance: “2020 White Paper on the Development of Virtual Digital Humans”

[11] He Jiahong, Xie Junze: “Identification of Internet Crime Subjects”, in People’s Procuratorate, No. 19, 2020

[12] Liu Pinxin: “Electronic Evidence Law”, Renmin University of China Press, 2021 edition

[13] He Jiahong, Xie Junze: “Identification of Internet Crime Subjects”, in People’s Procuratorate, 2020, Issue 19

[14] Supreme People’s Court website: “Typical Civil Cases on Judicial Protection of Personality Rights after the Promulgation of the Civil Code”, https://www.court.gov.cn/zixun-xiangqing-354261.html, last accessed: August 2022 3rd

[15] Communication World.com: “The two international standards for digital people led by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology will be released soon”, http://www.cww.net.cn/article?id=08EF9B4D64CC47D9888AB628BD6A44D1, last accessed: August 3, 2022 day

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