The International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO), better known as Interpol, is making arrangements to chase crime in the metaverse. The task is tough since the metaverse hasn't yet come to be in any consistent shape and form. The organization seems undeterred by that fact, though. Interpol secretary general Jurgen Stock, who disclosed the plans in an interview with the BBC, said that it was important for the agency to keep up with the changing technological environment.
"Criminals are sophisticated and professional in very quickly adapting to any new technological tool that is available to commit crime. We need to sufficiently respond to that. Sometimes lawmakers, police, and our societies are running a little bit behind," said Stock. "We have seen if we are doing it too late, it already impacts trust in the tools we are using, and therefore the metaverse. In similar platforms that already exist, criminals are using it," he explained.
Currently, Interpol is at the stage of considering options to decide on the right approach. The organization has already made forays into the metaverse. It launched the virtual replica of its Lyon-based headquarters in October last year, advertising it as "the first-ever metaverse specifically designed for law enforcement worldwide."
Dealing with a new environment in the early phase of its evolution, Interpol will have to rely on composite data from disparate sources to derive insights and hunches about how virtual worlds may evolve along with metaverse-specific crime. Potential issues include felonies and delinquencies already committed on or through various digital platforms, with particular regard to VR games.
One example is the last year's BBC News investigation that found numerous safety risks for children in a VR app age-rated 13+. They included grooming, sexual material, racist insults, and rape threat. Another investigative venture revealed the risk of sexual assaults on board Meta's Horizon World.