At the 90th Interpol Generally Assemble in New Delhi, Interpol officially launched the “first ever Metaverse specifically designed for law enforcement worldwide”, That’s right. If you thought you could get away with stealing virtual candy from a virtual baby in the metaverse–think again. Interpol will stop you in your tracks.
According to interpol, “Criminals are already starting to exploit the Metaverse”—It’s hard to see how, when the metaverse doesn’t exist yet, but we can safely say they’re referring to virtual worlds–which have existed since 1973’s Maze War, a 3D multiplayer First-Person shooter game–the first internet-based virtual world, MUDs, was later created in ‘78.
Keeping the Metaverse Safe
Perhaps, interpol thinks, the added elements of decentralization and increased user anonymity through virtual avatars have expanded the surface of attack for cybercriminals. Their recent announcement cited the World Economic Forum: “social engineering scams, violent extremism and misinformation could be particular challenges” in the metaverse. And this seems to have spurred Interpol to create their own virtual base of operations for conducting international criminal investigations.
But cybercrime has also become a global issue and one that is difficult to monitor. Coordination between the ECI, NIC, and IIT Kota will help officials conduct their work more easily, and Interpol aims to make use of their new virtual world to better collaborate and crack down on digital crime.
With the usage of virtual worlds expected to increase, the potential for not just cybercriminals but any criminals to accomplish illicit tasks privately will also increase. Just recently, a South Korean man has been sentenced to 4 years in prison for sexual solicitation of minors—and he used VR worlds to approach and befriend them.
Interpol—The Crypto Crime Crew
Interpol has also tasked itself with the responsibility of cracking down on crypto crimes. Interpol secretary general Jürgen Stock highlighted the need for a specialized division. Being a nascent industry, many law enforcement agencies are not equipped enough to deal with the complexities of the rapidly-growing crypto sector, and with crypto expected to grow with metaverse adoption, this only doubles the need.
The Interpol virtual world will feature a 360-degree, immersive tour through the General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France. Registration is currently open to the public. Interpol has said that in the future their metaverse will provide a streamlined and more efficient way of communicating and working with each other throughout the globe. However, education and training for students is a first priority.