Virtual worlds, but real risks: navigating metaverses as a next generation of digital platforms – TOPIC 03 Sub 01 2023

From EuroDIG Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

21 June 2023 | 10:30 - 11:15 EEST | Main auditorium | Live streaming
Consolidated programme 2023 overview / Main Topic 3

To join this session, please register for EuroDIG 2023.

Proposals:#12 #25 #26 #27 #33 #36 #49 #53 #59 #61

You are invited to become a member of the Session Org Team by simply subscribing to the mailing list. By doing so, you agree that your name and affiliation will be published at the relevant session wiki page. Please reply to the email send to you to confirm your subscription.

Kindly note that it may take a while until the Org Team is formed and starts working.

To follow the current discussion on this topic, see the discussion tab on the upper left side of this page.

Session teaser

Immersive technologies, including extended reality, augmented reality and virtual reality, commonly referred to as the “metaverses”, have long history of uses in research, military training and gaming. However, the new phase of commercializing technologies in the “metaverse” poses new interesting opportunities and challenges, ranging from  novel creative ways to connect with people across the world to potential adverse impacts on user wellbeing and safety.  This session will explore the current state of affairs of these emerging technologies, focusing on  their potential impacts.

Session description

Metaverses –immersive virtual worlds – gradually evolve into the next generation of digital platforms. And the history of development teaches us that the inherent companion to progress invites not only new opportunities but also new risks, potentially reshaping our societies, economies, and governments. With all the intriguing possibilities the metaverses create, they also open up space for the continuation and amplification of existing threats well-known from the digital platforms. Moreover, the specific technical nature of metaverses and extended/augmented reality means that other unfamiliar dangers may emerge and grow in unprecedented directions.

In this session, participants will have an opportunity to engage in the debate on how the landscape of risks is shaping up in metaverses. It will oscillate around several main areas:

  • cybersecurity threats;
  • lack of interoperability between different spaces;
  • violations of human rights and freedoms, such as the right to privacy or freedom of speech;
  • other risks of harm to users - harassment, bullying, discrimination hate speech, addictions etc.;
  • challenges to introduce multi-governance models.

Participants of the session are welcomed to introduce other issues they find relevant to the topic.


To ensure an interactive format of the session, at the beginning, a poll will be used to ask online and onsite participants to share their opinion on what threats could be observed in metaverses. Then, based on their answers, key participants will share 3-minute insights on the topic from their fields of expertise. This would lead to a further, more informed debate between the audience and key participants, including an exchange of comments and Q&A.

Further reading

Links to relevant websites, declarations, books, documents:


Please provide name and institution for all people you list here.


  • Meri Baghdasaryan

The Subject Matter Experts (SME) support the programme planning process throughout the year and work closely with the Secretariat. They give advice on the topics that correspond to their expertise, cluster the proposals and assist session organisers in their work. They also ensure that session principles are followed and monitor the complete programme to avoid repetition.

Focal Point

A lawyer, working for the National Research Institute NASK as a specialist for Strategic Analysis in Cybersecurity. Her main fields of interest are security in the area of digital platforms and emerging technologies like AI.
Emilia is also a co-founder and coordinator of Youth IGF Poland – an initiative that aims to bring young Polish people closer to the topic of the Internet and digital technologies. Last year, she served the role of Eastern Europe Representative at the Youth Coalition on Internet Governance steering committee.
She graduated from the University of Warsaw in two faculties: Law and Applied Animal Psychology.

Focal Points take over the responsibility and lead of the session organisation. They work in close cooperation with the respective Subject Matter Expert (SME) and the EuroDIG Secretariat.

Organising Team (Org Team) List Org Team members here as they sign up.

  • Tapani Tarvainen
  • Amali De Silva-Mitchell
  • Hubert Romaniec
  • Romy Mans
  • Maria Lipinska
  • Sarah Nicole
  • Thomas Slätis
  • Zhenye Pan
  • Silvia Crocitta
  • Simone Barszczak
  • Xinyi Tu

The Org Team is a group of people shaping the session. Org Teams are open and every interested individual can become a member by subscribing to the mailing list.

Key Participants

  • Fabrizia Benini - Head of Unit at DG CNECT - CNECT.E.3 - Next - Generation Internet
A lawyer by training, Fabrizia BENINI joined the European Commission in 1995.
Throughout her career, she worked on the intersection between regulatory frameworks and technological developments taking into account the users’ perspective notably as regards data privacy, data sharing and information exchanges between competitors in the internal market, competition, industry and digital departments of the European Commission.
At present, she heads the Next Generation Internet Unit in the Commission’s Directorate-General for communications networks, content and technology. Her work focuses on the internet governance, European Blockchain Partnership and Next Generation Internet initiative.
  • Sarah Nicole - Policy and Research Associate, McCourt Institute
Sarah Nicole has expertise in emerging technologies and cybersecurity as well as in policy and technical governance. Previously, she worked for Huawei and Microsoft on these issues at the European level.
As an emerging technologies analyst, she published reports on the future of cyberspace for the CyberPeace Institute, including one on the metaverse, and has written on the geopolitical race driven by quantum computing for France Digitale and Banque de France.
She is a policy and research associate at the McCourt Institute, an interdisciplinary and action oriented institute advancing ethical governance for responsible technology. Through this role, Sarah is an active contributor to the ITU Focus Group on the Metaverse - Security, Data & Personally Identifiable Information (PII) Protection. She also takes part in the AFNOR Metaverse commission of standardization.
Sarah has a strong international background, having worked in Paris, Washington D.C, Brussels, Geneva and studied in Shanghai. She speaks almost 4 languages. She holds a European Affairs, Digital New Technologies and Public Policy Master from SciencesPo.
  • Fabien Benetou - European Parliament Innovation Lab WebXR Consultant, Independent
Fabien Benetou is a prototypist, working on proof of concepts at the European Parliament Innovation team as an external consultant for nearly 5 years, formally UNICEF Innovation Fund WebXR technical advisor, startup technical co-founder and overall convinced that technological innovation, when done for equality, can be a positive societal force for change. Fabien's work focuses on answering questions like "What if..." or "Could we build..." thanks to actual software to realistically explore new possibilities, both in terms of technical feasability, user experience but also consequences. Fabien has built numerous virtual worlds, or metaverse, relying on open-source components over the least few years, in particular with a focus on knowledge management.


Student of two MA faculties at University of Warsaw: Digital Sociology and Language & Society. She received many scholarships for her scientific and journalistic achievements, for instance Student's Nobel in Journalism and Literature, Google News Initiative Scholarship, INMA scholarship. She took part in many research projects connected with new technologies such as VR, social media and disinformation. She was a technical assistant from Poland on Global Deliberative Poll on the Metaverse that was hosted by Stanford University.

Remote Moderator

Trained remote moderators will be assigned on the spot by the EuroDIG secretariat to each session.


Reporters will be assigned by the EuroDIG secretariat in cooperation with the Geneva Internet Platform. The Reporter takes notes during the session and formulates 3 (max. 5) bullet points at the end of each session that:

  • are summarised on a slide and presented to the audience at the end of each session
  • relate to the particular session and to European Internet governance policy
  • are forward looking and propose goals and activities that can be initiated after EuroDIG (recommendations)
  • are in (rough) consensus with the audience

Current discussion, conference calls, schedules and minutes

See the discussion tab on the upper left side of this page. Please use this page to publish:

  • dates for virtual meetings or coordination calls
  • short summary of calls or email exchange

Please be as open and transparent as possible in order to allow others to get involved and contact you. Use the wiki not only as the place to publish results but also to summarize the discussion process.


A short summary of the session will be provided by the Reporter.

Video record

Will be provided here after the event.


Will be provided here after the event.