Global police consortium INTERPOL is anticipating never-before-seen crimes in the metaverse and believes some existing crimes will be “taken to a new level” in the virtual realm, Madan Oberoi, INTERPOL’s Executive Director for Technology and Innovation, told Reuters on Thursday.
INTERPOL is looking at ways to tackle crimes in the metaverse even before it becomes a central part of our lives.
“By identifying these risks from the outset, we can work with stakeholders to shape the necessary governance frameworks and cut off future criminal markets before they are fully formed,” Oberoi said last week during the launch of INTERPOL’s Metaverse space.
The metaverse will open up new avenues for cybercrime, and INTERPOL said its member countries are concerned about this.
Cybercrime in the Metaverse
In its Technology Assessment Report on the Metaverse, INTERPOL created a new term for crimes in the metaverse — metacrimes. The organization said its law enforcement partners have already started receiving reports of metacrimes.
These crimes include hacking, fraud, child grooming, sexual harassment, and stalking. INTERPOL anticipates that this list will continue to grow and will include crimes like financial fraud, crimes against children, social engineering and other scams, ransomware, data theft, terrorism, cyber-physical attacks, and more.
Criminals could use virtual reality technology to support their malicious schemes in the physical world, Oberoi told Reuters. For example, they could plan and simulate crimes in the metaverse before committing them in real life.
“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,” INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock said.
Immersive Tech Is the Future
While it comes with its fair share of cybersecurity and privacy issues, immersive tech is the next frontier and has a lot of potential uses.
According to INTERPOL, “it has the potential to be a complete game changer for societies across the world, including for crime and law enforcement.”
The INTERPOL Metaverse shows how immersive environments can benefit law enforcement.
At the 90th INTERPOL General Assembly in New Delhi last week, where it was unveiled, INTERPOL demonstrated how virtual reality technology can be used to provide more immersive training to recruits.
INTERPOL’s report on the metaverse also highlights the potential for virtual reality to support policing in various ways, like building partnerships and digitizing crime scenes.