Interpol to police crimes in the metaverse

Monday 6 February 2023 14:34 CET | News

Interpol has confirmed it is investigating how it could police crimes in the metaverse, as criminals have started targeting users on similar virtual world platforms.


The announcement details that the International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO) revealed its intent on overseeing criminal activity in the metaverse to the BBC, with Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock having highlighted the ability of ‘sophisticated and professional’ criminals to adapt to new technologies to commit crimes.

To be able to do so, defining a metaverse crime is first needed, which Interpol executives believe brings forth issues.

Crime within the metaverse and Interpol’s plans in addressing it

As detailed in the announcement, the decision to oversee criminal activity within the metaverse follows the October 2022 launch of Interpol’s own metaverse, during which the company stated that with the increase in the number of metaverse users and the further development of the technology, the list of possible crimes is believed to expand.

The virtual environment, which is accessible through secure servers only, enables police officers to experience what the metaverse could be, providing them with a sense of the crimes that might occur and how they could be policed.

Potential crimes that are believed would take place in the metaverse include crimes against children, data theft, money laundering, financial fraud, counterfeiting, ransomware, phishing, and sexual assault and harassment.

Interpol has confirmed it is investigating how it could police crimes in the metaverse, as criminals have started targeting users on similar virtual world platforms.

According to Stock, criminals have begun targeting users on platforms similar to the metaverse, and the organisation believes that they ‘need to sufficiently respond to that’, however, it is found facing issues in defining what a metaverse crime is. 

Madan Oberoi, Interpol’s executive director of technology and innovation, advised that there are situations where an activity is not clear on whether it can be called a crime or not in the metaverse. They exemplified instances where sexual harassment/misconduct has been reported and stated that when looking at definitions of these crimes in the physical space and trying to apply them to the metaverse, there is difficulty in doing so.

What is more, Interpol revealed that it is also facing challenges with raising awareness regarding possible metaverse crimes, with the announcement highlighting that one of its objectives is that of ensuring law enforcement personnel start using the metaverse and become aware of the illicit activity that could take place.

Interpol 2022 developments within the fraud prevention space

As part of its initiatives for fighting crime and corruption, Interpol launched in March 2022 a Financial Crime and Anti-Corruption centre (IFCACC) looking to ensure a coordinated global response against the increase in transnational financial crime.

In the same month, the organisation revealed a strategic partnership with identity verification solution provider IDnow, following which the two were set to collaborate for a one-year period and have IDnow experts deliver various training programmes to local law enforcement and immigration departments to increase the organisation’s focus on cybercrime.

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Keywords: fraud management, fraud detection, cybercrime, metaverse, web3, data breaches, money laundering, financial crime, phishing, regulation, cybersecurity
Categories: Fraud & Financial Crime
Companies: Interpol
Countries: World
This article is part of category

Fraud & Financial Crime


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