NEW DELHI (INDIA) – The metaverse is not for tomorrow. He’s already there.
At a surprise session of the 90th INTERPOL General Assembly in New Delhi, the global police organization unveiled the first-ever metaverse designed specifically for law enforcement agencies around the world.
Fully operational, the INTERPOL metaverse allows registered users to visit a virtual version of the headquarters of the INTERPOL General Secretariat in Lyon without geographical or physical boundaries, interact with other agents via avatars and even undergo immersive training in investigations forensics and other police skills.
The INTERPOL metaverse is accessible via the INTERPOL Secure Cloud, which guarantees its neutrality.
During the interactive session, the General Assembly delegates present in New Delhi had the opportunity to enter the premises of Lyon through avatars using virtual reality headsets.
“For many, the metaverse is synonymous with the distant future, but the questions it raises are the ones that have always guided INTERPOL: to help our member countries fight crime and make the world, both virtual and real, safer for people who live there”, explains Jürgen Stock, Secretary General of INTERPOL.
“We may be entering a new era, but our commitment remains the same. »
In a follow-up panel discussion, INTERPOL also announced the creation of a Metaverse expert panel to represent law enforcement issues on the global stage and ensure that this new virtual world is safe by design.
The metaverse is not the preserve of gamers
Far from being a simple gadget reserved for gamers, the metaverse is often regarded as the next possible stage in the development of the Internet. According to technology research firm Gartner, by 2026, one in four people will spend at least an hour a day in the metaverse to work, study, shop and socialize.
As INTERPOL’s latest Global Crime Trends Report reveals, crime is keeping pace with the global pace and is gradually moving towards digital. If the borders of our real world are increasingly merging into the digital universe (which seems to be freeing itself from borders), the roundtable questioned the following question: “How do law enforcement services continue to protect populations and guarantee the rule of law?”.
How can police deepen their understanding of threats while seizing opportunities?
Criminals are already starting to exploit the metaverse. The World Economic Forum, which has partnered with INTERPOL, Meta, Microsoft and others in an initiative to define and govern the metaverse, has warned of major threats, such as social engineering fraud, violent extremism and disinformation.
As the number of metaverse users increases and technologies improve, the list of possible crimes will continue to grow to include juvenile crime, data theft, money laundering, financial fraud, forgery, ransomware, phishing, sexual assault, and harassment .
Some of these threats are likely to create serious problems for law enforcement, as not all acts criminalized in the real world are considered crimes when committed in the virtual world.
“By identifying these risks early, we can work with others to establish the necessary governance frameworks and nip future criminal markets in the bud,” said Madan Oberoi, executive director of technology and innovation at INTERPOL. “It is by discussing these issues now that we can intervene effectively. »
New era, same commitment
The metaverse has many benefits for law enforcement, including telecommuting, matchmaking, crime scene evidence collection and preservation, and training.
The development of skills in the metaverse holds great promise, as it increases opportunities for students to collaborate and connect, and increases levels of engagement through engaging experiences and hands-on exercises.
In a live demonstration, experts from INTERPOL’s Directorate of Capacity Building and Training conducted a training session on verifying travel documents and screening passengers using INTERPOL in a classroom in the metaverse. The participants were then teleported to an airport, where they could practice their new skills at a virtual border crossing.
“The metaverse can transform every aspect of our daily lives, with huge implications for law enforcement,” Oberoi says.
“Police understanding of the metaverse necessarily involves experimentation,” he adds.
Users can visit a virtual version of the headquarters of the INTERPOL General Secretariat in Lyon without geographical or physical borders.
The metaverse has many benefits for law enforcement in terms of telecommuting, networking, and gathering and preserving evidence from crime scenes.
“We may be entering a new era, but our commitment remains the same,” said Jürgen Stock, Secretary General of INTERPOL.
The INTERPOL metaverse is already 100% operational and allows agents to interact via avatars.
Police aims to deepen their knowledge of threats while seizing the opportunities offered by the metaverse.
Criminals are already starting to exploit the metaverse.