Interpol said it will offer training in its own online world for policing the metaverse.
The Interpol metaverse will allow registered users to tour a virtual copy of the Interpol General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France, it said in a news release. Users will be able to interact with other officers via their avatars and take immersive training courses in forensic investigation and other policing capabilities.
It has formed an expert metaverse group to "represent the concerns of law enforcement on the global stage — ensuring this new virtual world is secure by design."
Interpol's commitment demonstrates a growing anxiety about the policing of online spaces, which are increasing in popularity as technology develops. By 2026, one in every four people will spend at least an hour a day in the metaverse to work, study, shop and socialize, according to technology research firm Gartner.
“The metaverse has the potential to transform every aspect of our daily lives with enormous implications for law enforcement,” said Madan Oberoi, Interpol’s executive director of technology and innovation, in a statement. “But in order for police to understand the Metaverse, we need to experience it."
Interpol said that a list of possible offenses may include crimes against children, data theft, money laundering, financial fraud, counterfeiting, ransomware, phishing and sexual assault and harassment. It added that these may present challenges as not all acts that are criminalized in the physical world are considered crimes in the virtual world.
“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,” said Interpol Secretary General Jürgen Stock in a statement. “We may be entering a new world, but our commitment remains the same."
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