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The “Metapolice” will be a thing of the not too distant future with Interpol looking at how the organisation could police crime in the Metaverse – reported in a BBC News article a couple of weeks ago. Following my last two blog posts about the Metaverse and security – “My Virtual Selfie – Avatars and Identity Security” and “Multiple Metaverse“, this is a timely topic

The thought of a Metapolice brings to my mind the novel “Halting State” by Charles Stross – a cybercrime has been committed in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) Avalon Four. A robbery of several thousand euros worth of “prestige items” occurs in the game’s central bank, led by a band of orcs and a “dragon for fire support. (extract from Wikipedia)”

The Metaverse is an ever-expanding virtual space that will and is becoming integrated with our daily lives. As it grows, there are many concerns about the regulation and policing of this virtual world, so what is needed to make the topic of policing the Metaverse effective and why it is essential to create a safe and secure virtual space.

The Metaverse is a set of multiple platforms/virtual worlds that is made up of other multiple interconnected virtual worlds, where users can interact with each other in a simulated environment. Many tech companies are investing in the Metaverse and envision it as the next stage of the internet, where people can shop, play, and interact with each other in a virtual world.

As with any social platform/system there are concerns about privacy, security, and the potential for criminal activity. Just as in the physical world, there is a need for policing and regulation in the virtual world to maintain order and ensure the safety of its inhabitants.

One of the biggest challenges in policing the Metaverse is jurisdiction. As the Metaverse is not confined to any one country, it can be challenging to define who has the legal authority to regulate it. Interpol have the ability to span these borders and makes it a good move that they are looking into how to police the Metaverse. With many platforms, many standards and governance arise and with these a single set of laws will be hard to put into place. Better agreements internationally are needed on how to govern the Metaverse and establish a set of standards and laws that all users and platforms must adhere to. The speed of the technology adoption though will move faster than any legislation/regulation can.

Another challenge for policing is the sheer volume of data that is created in the Metaverse. Platforms collect vast amounts of personal data from users, including their online activity and location. This data can be used for targeted advertising or sold to third parties. There needs to be regulation to ensure that users are aware of the data being collected and have the ability to control how it is used. Tracking users is one of the norms of using the internet and the Metaverse won’t be any different.

When it comes to criminal activity in the Metaverse, there are concerns about cyberbullying, online harassment, and cybercrime. There have already been instances of fraud, identity theft, and virtual theft in the Metaverse and it is important to have a system in place to identify offenders so law enforcement can deal with them and to deter others from committing similar crimes.

To address these challenges, there needs to be a collaborative effort between tech companies, governments, and law enforcement agencies. Tech companies need to take responsibility for the data they collect and ensure that they have robust security measures in place to protect their users. Governments need to work together to establish a set of international standards and laws that can be enforced across different jurisdictions. Law enforcement agencies need to be trained to operate in the Metaverse and have the necessary tools to investigate and prosecute criminal activity.

All that aside, though, the Metaverse is becoming an increasingly interesting place to do business.