Interpol will investigate possible crimes in the metaverse: How will it do it?
The global police agency built its virtual reality (VR) space to get an idea of the crimes that could take place in the metaverse.
Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock said the global police agency is investigating how the organization could police crime in the metaverse, the new virtual three-dimensional (3D) ecosystem in which users can interact with work, play, study, and carry out economic transactions, among many other things.
Although the metaverse is a concept that is currently widely debated, the global law enforcement agency needs to recognize the ecosystem to prevent future crimes. “Criminals are very sophisticated and professional in quickly adapting to any new technological tool available to commit crimes. We have to respond to it. Sometimes legislators, the police, and our societies are a bit behind,” Stock said.
For this reason, Interpol decided to build its own virtual reality (VR) space, where users can take training courses and attend virtual meetings. Additionally, the platform allows police officers to experience what the metaverse could be. That gives them an idea of the crimes that could occur and how they could be policed.
“There is not only national cybercrime almost all cases have an international dimension. That makes Interpol’s role, almost 100 years after its creation, so important in today’s world because no country can fight this type of crime in isolation,” Stock said.
What is the Metaverse?
According to Binance Academy, the center for learning about cryptocurrencies and blockchains, the metaverse is a virtual reality universe where the user has an immersive experience. In it, people can do the same things they normally do, but in a virtual ecosystem.
For Facebook and other companies, the idea of the metaverse is based on the creation of a parallel and completely virtual universe, which can be accessed with virtual reality and augmented reality devices.
The term metaverse comes from a 1992 novel called “Snow Crash” and is a term that has taken hold to describe visions of three-dimensional or virtual workspaces.
What is a metaverse crime?
According to Madan Oberoi, Interpol’s executive director of Technology and Innovation, there are problems when it comes to defining a metaverse crime, “for example, cases of sexual harassment have been reported. If we look at the definitions of these crimes in physical space and try to apply them in the metaverse, a difficulty arises. We don’t know if we can classify them as a crime or not, but those threats are there, so those issues are yet to be resolved”, he explains.
In 2022, a BBC investigation found issues of verbal and sexual harassment within virtual reality games. That same year, activists claimed that the avatar of a 21-year-old researcher had been sexually assaulted in Horizon Worlds, Meta’s virtual reality platform.
For her part, Nina Jane Patel, co-founder and director of the metaverse research organization Kabuni, points out that “what is illegal and harmful in the physical world should also be illegal in the virtual synthetic world.”