NEW DELHI (INDIA) – The metaverse is not for tomorrow. He is already there.
At a surprise session at INTERPOL’s 90th General Assembly in New Delhi, the global police organization unveiled the first-ever metaverse specifically designed for law enforcement agencies around the world.
100% operational, INTERPOL metaverse allows registered users to visit a virtual version of the headquarters of the INTERPOL General Secretariat in Lyon without any geographical or physical boundaries, to interact with other agents via avatars and even undergo immersive training in forensics and other police skills .
INTERPOL’s metaverse is accessible through the INTERPOL Secure Cloud, which guarantees its neutrality.
During the interactive session, General Assembly delegates present in New Delhi had the opportunity to enter the Lyon premises 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 driven INTERPOL – helping our member states fight crime and make the world, both virtual and real, safer for the 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 roundtable, INTERPOL also announced the creation of a Metaverse Expert Group to represent law enforcement issues on the global stage and ensure that this new virtual world is secure by design.
The metaverse is not the prerogative of the players
Far from being a simple gadget reserved for gamers, the metaverse is often considered the next possible step in the evolution of the Internet. By 2026, one in 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 INTERPOL’s latest Global Crime Trends Report reveals, crime is keeping up with the global pace and is gradually moving digitally. If the boundaries of our real world are melting more and more into the digital universe (which seems to be freeing itself from boundaries), the roundtable questioned the following question: “How the services responsible for law enforcement continue to protect populations and ensure the rule of law?”.
How can police deepen their understanding of threats while seizing opportunities?
Criminals have already begun 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 scams, violent extremism and disinformation.
As the number of metaverse users increases and technologies improve, the list of possible offenses will continue to grow to include child abuse, data theft, money laundering, financial fraud, counterfeiting, ransomware, phishing, sexual assault and harassment.
Some of these threats are likely to pose major problems for law enforcement agencies, as not all actions criminalized in the real world are considered offenses when committed in the virtual world.
“By identifying these risks early, we can work with others to establish the necessary governance frameworks and keep future criminal markets in check,” 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 agencies, including remote work, matchmaking, crime scene evidence collection and preservation, and training.
Capacity building in the metaverse holds great promise as it increases opportunities for students to collaborate and connect, and increases the level of engagement through immersive experiences and hands-on exercises.
In a live demonstration, experts from INTERPOL’s Capacity Building and Training Directorate delivered a training session on travel document verification and passenger screening using INTERPOL in a classroom in the metaverse. 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,” says Oberoi.
“Police understanding of the metaverse necessarily involves experimentation,” he adds.
Users can visit a virtual version of INTERPOL’s General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon without any geographical or physical boundaries.
The metaverse has many advantages for law enforcement agencies in terms of remote work, networking, and crime scene evidence collection and preservation.
“We may be entering a new era, but our commitment remains the same,” said Jürgen Stock, Secretary General of INTERPOL.
INTERPOL’s metaverse is already 100% operational, allowing officers to interact through avatars.
The police aim to deepen their knowledge of the threats and at the same time seize the opportunities that the metaverse provides.
Criminals have already begun to exploit the metaverse.