The International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO), commonly referred to as INTERPOL, has begun preliminary studies into metaverse crime investigation.
The INTERPOL is an inter-governmental organization with 195 member countries, and it helps the police in these countries to work together to make the world a safer place.
According to a report by BBC News, Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock claimed the agency intends to police criminal activity that occurs in the metaverse. The Secretary-General noted that sophisticated and professional criminals will likely leverage digital spaces as their next target for committing crimes.
Stock said criminals have already begun targeting users on digital platforms similar to the metaverse, and that his agency needed to sufficiently respond to that.
Despite the warning, Interpol has yet to clearly define what constitutes a metaverse crime. Interpol’s executive director of technology and innovation, Madan Oberoni, explained there was some difficulty in applying physical-space criminal precedent to the digital world.
“There are crimes where I don’t know whether they can still be called a crime or not. If you look at the definitions of these crimes in physical space, and you try to apply them in the metaverse, there is a difficulty. “
Oberoni claimed that the organization was working to increase awareness about the possibility of metaverse criminal activity.
Interpol’s decision to police meta spaces comes just months after the organization “unveiled the first ever Metaverse specifically designed for law enforcement worldwide at a surprise session of the 90th INTERPOL General Assembly in New Delhi.
According to the press release INTERPOL issued on 20 October 2022, this new metaverse, which is fully operational already, allows registered users to tour a virtual facsimile of the INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France without any geographical or physical boundaries, interact with other officers via their avatars, and even take immersive training courses in forensic investigation and other policing capabilities.
INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock had this to say:
“For many, the Metaverse seems to herald an abstract future, but the issues it raises are those that have always motivated INTERPOL – supporting our member countries to fight crime and making the world, virtual or not, safer for those who inhabit it. We may be entering a new world, but our commitment remains the same.“
Madan Oberoi, INTERPOL’s Executive Director of Technology and Innovation, stated:
“The Metaverse has the potential to transform every aspect of our daily lives with enormous implications for law enforcement. But in order for police to understand the Metaverse, we need to experience it.“
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