Global police organization Interpol unveiled the first-ever Metaverse specifically designed for law enforcement worldwide at a surprise session of the 90th Interpol General Assembly in New Delhi on Thursday.
Fully operational, the Interpol Metaverse allows registered users to tour a virtual facsimile of the Interpol General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, interact with other officers via their avatars, and even take immersive training courses in forensic investigation and other policing capabilities – all from the comfort of their own home or offices.
“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. “But in order for police to understand the Metaverse, we need to experience it,” Oberoi added.
During the interactive session, General Assembly delegates in New Delhi were able to digitally enter the Lyon building using virtual reality headsets and tour the new Interpol metaverse in real time.
Interpol also announced the creation of an Expert Group on the Metaverse to represent the concerns of law enforcement on the global stage – ensuring this new virtual world is secure by design.
Metaverse: Not just for gamers
The metaverse – an idea being actively developed by US tech giants – will be a digital reality that users can access from anywhere in the world. It aims to be a place where you can interact with other people in real-time, regardless of location. You'll be able to shop, play games, work – even buy property or assets – in the metaverse.
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.
As the number of Metaverse users grows and the technology further develops, the risk of virtual crimes – such as data theft, money laundering, financial fraud, counterfeiting, ransomware, phishing, sexual assault/harassment and more. For law enforcement, some of these threats are likely to present significant challenges.
“By identifying these risks from the outset, we can work with stakeholders to shape the necessary governance frameworks and cut off future criminal markets before they are fully formed.”Madan Oberoi, Executive Director of Technology and Innovation, Interpol
“By identifying these risks from the outset, we can work with stakeholders to shape the necessary governance frameworks and cut off future criminal markets before they are fully formed,” Mr. Oberoi said. “Only by having these conversations now can we build an effective response.”
“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. “We may be entering a new world, but our commitment remains the same.”