Interpol Tackles the Challenges of Policing the Metaverse
The metaverse refers to the theoretical notion that individuals will be embodied by 3D representations of themselves in their digital experiences in the future.
To keep up with technological advancements, Interpol has created its own VR environment, where users can engage in training sessions and participate in virtual gatherings.
Defining Criminal Acts in the Metaverse
According to Mr. Stock, criminals have a knack for quickly adapting to any new technological advancement in order to carry out their illegal activities. He believes that law enforcement agencies, along with lawmakers and society as a whole, must keep pace with these changes.
If they fall behind, trust in the tools used to prevent crime could be impacted, leading to a similar situation as seen in existing virtual platforms where criminals are already active.
To prepare for this future, Interpol has created a secure VR environment for police officers to simulate the metaverse and understand the potential for criminal activities and how they could be addressed.
Dr. Madan Oberoi, the head of technology and innovation at Interpol, acknowledges that there are challenges in determining what constitutes a crime in the metaverse.
He acknowledges cases of reported sexual harassment, but questions whether they can be considered a crime in this virtual space. This is because there are difficulties in applying definitions of crimes in physical reality to the metaverse.
Raising awareness of these issues is a significant challenge for the Interpol; Dr. Oberoi uses the analogy that just like one needs to know how to swim in order to save a drowning person, law enforcement must understand the metaverse to be able to help those who are affected by crimes within it.
Thus, increasing the awareness and involvement of law enforcement personnel in the metaverse is crucial and one of Interpol’s objectives.
Enforcing Laws and investigating in the Virtual World
Nina Jane Patel, co-founder and head of metaverse research organization Kabuni, believes that actions that are illegal and harmful in the physical world should also be prohibited in the virtual synthetic world.
She argues that the merging of the two worlds will lead to confusion and misunderstandings if different standards of behavior are accepted in each world.
On the other hand, Mr. Stock emphasized the critical role of the Interpol in investigating crimes in the metaverse. He noted that cybercrime is inherently international and that no single country can effectively combat it on its own.
He stressed that the Interpol, with its 195 member countries, is crucial in this regard as almost all cybercrime cases have an international dimension.