موقع إخباري يهتم بفضائح و انتهاكات دولة الامارات

A human rights center warns that the UAE is tightening its restrictions on freedoms online

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Human rights activists are concerned that the United Arab Emirates may begin applying severe regulations to netizens’ behaviour in the Metaverse, curtailing free speech in the virtual world.

Omar Sultan al-Olama, the UAE’s minister for artificial intelligence, issued a warning about “cyber-murders” at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which prompted the fears.

“If I come into the Metaverse and it’s a realistic world that we’re talking about in the future, and I actually murder you, and you see it… it actually takes you to a certain extreme where you need to enforce aggressively across the world because everyone agrees that certain things are unacceptable,” he added.

The Metaverse is a highly interactive, three-dimensional virtual world that has revolutionised, among other fields, the gaming and virtual reality industries.

Human rights activists questioned whether Abu Dhabi was attempting to extend its control over the actual world, including criminalising dissent, to the virtual realm.

Lina al-Hathloul, communications director of the Saudi human rights organisation ALQST, told the Middle East Eye (MEE) news and analysis website on Wednesday, “It is ironic that they (the UAE) use vague cyber-crime laws to punish human rights defenders, but they want to use real laws to punish Metaverse crimes.”

Olama’s comments revealed the UAE’s hypocrisy, she said, adding, “They should first think about how they treat people in the real world and make sure that the cyber-crime laws are not used to prosecute human rights defenders. Human rights should be first applied in the real world”.

Khalid Ibrahim, co-founder and executive director of the Persian Gulf Centre for Human Rights, concurred that the remarks were hypocritical. The UAE called for legislation prohibiting murder in the Metaverse while imprisoning activists in harsh prison circumstances.

“Legislations, such as the cyber-crime law, and other laws, are used to imprison activists,” he told MEE. “In prison, they’re really treated so badly, just because they called for a bit of respect, as well as civic and human rights of citizens,” he added.

Hamad Alshamsi, executive director of the Emirates Detainees Advocacy Center, stated, “The prohibition of ‘virtual murder’ in the Metaverse will allow the UAE to monitor the Metaverse.”

“The purpose of this statement is not to combat crime, but [is] an introduction to the censorship of Metaverses. They use spyware under the pretext of combating terrorism,” he added, saying, “They are obsessed with controlling and watching everything.”