Back to the list

The Idea of Law Enforcement in the Metaverse 


cryptoknowmics.com 20 June 2022 08:51, UTC
Reading time: ~4 m

The metaverse presents an immersive virtual world where human digital twins interact and mimic everyday social life. Augmented and virtual reality equipment create real-life sensations for the realization of normal stimuli and corresponding responses. However, like any social construct, the potential of experiencing metaverse crime exists, and there is a need to understand what measures need to be in place. First, let us understand why there is crime potential in the metaverse.

Metaverses Mimic Real World Human Experiences

Metaverse platforms such as Meta take user interaction from the webpages where written words, audio-visual and automated reactions define social experiences. They allow users to get first-hand experience by entering the spaces as avatars that see and engage with other users as people do in real life. The digital twins own property in the form of NFTs, which allow them to trade in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). The digital space with such social interactions carries the danger of exposure to criminal activity such as cyberbullying, assault, and theft. The metaverse crime rate can only reach the highest levels given the lack of defined policing measures that keep up with the evolving technology. The role of policing and law enforcement in the metaverse remains an open-ended question where potential policing objectives and outcomes include:

Company-based Monitoring Measures against Aggressive Behavior

The metaverse companies must establish regulations that will ensure the safety of their users in the established digital spaces. The migration from web 2.0 to web 3.0, which supports Metaverses, must not carry the toxicity into the new platforms which seek to improve social engagements. The companies providing such digital environments need to implement protocols that enable safe and inclusive spaces for everyone who wishes to join. Former Disney CEO suggested the implementation of heavy monitoring ideals to help remove toxic internet behavior from the company’s metaverse. The plans must create a family-friendly environment where harassment and assault are intolerable vices punished by exclusion. The measures available on platforms such as Meta include unique safety features such as safety zones. The problem with such features is that they allow users to dictate who gets in their personal spaces without targeting aggressive persons.

Implementation of Data Protection Regulations 

The metaverse is a haven for data harvesting and identity theft. The users create their digital twins by submitting personal data and facial features to create avatars that resemble their physical appearance. The data relies on blockchain-based web 3.0 security provisions. There is a need to set up regulations to ensure data security concerns do not become real threats to user privacy. The metaverse companies must involve state police in identifying malicious actors who violate cyber security regulations to bring them to the book. The rules must consider the anonymity of users on the blockchain to determine how bad entities become visible to law enforcement in the metaverse.

Protection of Users against Property Theft

The ownership of property by users holding non-fungible tokens (NFTs) means that criminals can access such assets and steal value in the metaverse. The actual transfer of value is beyond the digital world, but it can happen if hackers access the blockchain and alter the NFT’s digital certificate. Many tokenized NFTs exist today. Thus, the user can lose value in the real world due to property theft in the metaverse. Challenges regarding intellectual property ownership are evident when NFT creators tokenize items belonging to other people in real life. Property theft prevention in the metaverse requires secondary NFT markets to catch copyright infringers who want to sell stolen value. Law enforcement can target metaverse marketplaces like OpenSea to identify users who wish to resell or exchange stolen NFTs to ensure that they face copyright infringement laws.

What is the Way Forward?

The application of the law in the metaverse is challenging since tracing the identity of criminals is tedious. The argument that harassment, assault, and theft in the virtual world equal real-life crime does not hold a lot of merit in a court. The approach to metaverse legal issues in India enables deliberation on measures that assure safety, privacy, and security. The measures must include a metaverse law course to teach details that improve metaverse experiences. The intention should be to allow user interaction in a protected setup enabling harmless social expressions.

Author's Remarks

The metaverse law enforcement standoff is an exciting element to understand and tackle. Despite being a stumbling block to the innovative virtual world, the quick deliberations offer confidence in finding lasting solutions as soon as possible. Realizing a moral metaverse is impossible, but a swift response to remove harmful elements by law enforcement will make the metaverse experience much more comfortable.

Back to the list