Research Paper Examines Virtual Crimes

February 25, 2010 -

As part of its reporting on trends and issues in crime and criminal justice, the Australian Government’s Institute of Criminology has issued a research paper that takes a look at transgressions that occur in virtual worlds.

Crime Risks of Three-Dimensional Virtual Environments was written by Ian Warren and Darren Palmer and kicks off with a mention of what may have been the first case of its kind—the “rape” of an avatar in the text-based game LambdaMoo. The incident resulted in a Village Voice piece on the incident, and eventually a book, and brought the issue of crime in virtual worlds to light.

A similar incident took place in Second Life in 2007 and actually caused Belgian police to patrol the online community to prevent rapes.

While virtual crimes such as money laundering or fraud can usually be handled by real-world laws, the grey area of harassment-type assaults online seems to continually confound authorities.

A few thoughts put forth by the paper:

The question of whether real-world notions of interpersonal harm apply to virtual assault or sexual assault is unresolved. This complicates the question of regulation within virtual worlds.

While civil redress for psychological harm is conceivable, the 'disembodied' character of such an incident would invariably bar liability for any crime against the person.

The paper notes that under Australian federal criminal law, a maximum penalty of three years could be levied on someone who menaces, harasses or causes offense to another user, though whether this law has ever been applied to virtual worlds is unclear.

Thanks to multinational users, jurisdictional uncertainties and technology that continues to evolve, “there is considerable uncertainty surrounding the role of criminal law in these multi-user categories.” The paper suggests that, “Formal criminal intervention would only have a place if an appreciable and measurable effect on the real-world victim could be established.”

Since so much is unknown or untested about this subject  as of yet, the paper suggest research directions for the future, which include “enhancing our understanding of the nature of harm within multi-user 3dve (three-dimensional virtual environments) platforms,” and more collaborative research on how to protect children in virtual worlds.

The report concludes:

Clearly, Australian 3dve users require more knowledge to identify, manage and prevent harm. Developing a systematic approach to harmonise current knowledge on these emerging issues is perhaps the greatest research priority.


Thanks Anthony!


Comments

Re: Research Paper Examines Virtual Crimes

How about 2dve or 2.5dve?

Re: Research Paper Examines Virtual Crimes

"I put on my robe and wizard hat"

Somehow i just don't understand how that can be considered a sexual violation.

Re: Research Paper Examines Virtual Crimes

wait what?  Huh?  How is it possible to rape somebody in Second Life?  Was this programmed?  I'm sorry, I'm not up to date on this kinda stuff.  Do you see a fuzzed out algamation of limbs while they do the horizontal monkey mambo?  And why the hell were the police involved?  Did they create avatars?  What bout mods?  Why not just report the guy to them and have him punished, although I don't see why he should if it's part of the programming of the game.  An in game punishment such as being chased by NPCs. And how much harm can this cause...I mean really....REALLLY.  It's a freaking game, nobody died from a game....

 

I'm waiting patiently for the obligatory saw reference.

---

I once had a dream about God. In it, he was looking down upon the planet and the havoc we recked and he said unto us, "Damn Kids get off my lawn!"

I once had a dream about God. In it, he was looking down upon the planet and the havoc we recked and he said unto us, "Damn Kids get off my lawn!"

Re: Research Paper Examines Virtual Crimes

 The muu rape they're talking about was actually pretty well thought out and could indeed be considered a rape, except that it was 100% virtual.

The included wikipedia link has a good description of what happened.

Re: Research Paper Examines Virtual Crimes

In order for rape to happen it needs to be roleplayed, simple as that. There are some scripts, either meant for RP for genuinely malicious, that can incite it too, though in that case reportign would be the wiser options.

 
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Matthew Wilsonthe issue is when is doesn't work it can screw over millions in new york city's case. more often than not it is better to let the free market run its course without market distortion.04/16/2014 - 9:36am
NeenekoTrue, and overdone stagnation is a problem. It is a tricky balance. It does not help that when it does work, no one notices. Most people here have benifited from rent controls and not even realized it.04/16/2014 - 9:23am
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2014/04/15/riaa_files_civil_suit_against_megaupload04/16/2014 - 8:48am
ZippyDSMleeEither way you get stagnation as people can not afford the prices they set.04/16/2014 - 8:47am
Neenekowell, specifically it helps people already living there and hurts people who want to live there instead. As for 'way more hurt', majorities generally need less legal protection. yes it hurt more people then it helped, it was written for a minority04/16/2014 - 8:30am
MaskedPixelantehttp://torrentfreak.com/square-enix-drm-boosts-profits-and-its-here-to-stay-140415/ Square proves how incredibly out of touch they are by saying that DRM is the way of the future, and is here to stay.04/16/2014 - 8:29am
james_fudgeUnwinnable Weekly Telethon playing Metal Gear http://www.twitch.tv/rainydayletsplay04/16/2014 - 8:06am
ConsterTo be fair, there's so little left of the middle class that those numbers are skewing.04/16/2014 - 7:42am
Matthew Wilsonyes it help a sub section of the poor, but hurt both the middle and upper class. in the end way more people were hurt than helped. also, it hurt most poor people as well.04/16/2014 - 12:13am
SeanBJust goes to show what I have said for years. Your ability to have sex does not qualify you for parenthood.04/15/2014 - 9:21pm
NeenekoSo "worked" vs "failed" really comes down to who you think is more important and deserving04/15/2014 - 7:04pm
NeenekoThough I am also not sure we can say NYC failed. Rent control helped the people it was intended for and is considered a failure by the people it was designed to protect them from.04/15/2014 - 7:04pm
NeenekoIf they change the rules, demand will plummet. Though yeah, rent control probably would not help much in the SF case. I doubt anything will.04/15/2014 - 1:35pm
TheSmokeyOnline gamer accused of murdering son to keep playing - http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Crime/2014/04/15/21604921.html04/15/2014 - 11:50am
Matthew Wilsonyup, but curent city rules do not allow for that.04/15/2014 - 11:00am
ZippyDSMleeIf SF dose not start building upwards then they will price people out of the aera.04/15/2014 - 10:59am
Matthew Wilsonthe issue rent control has it reduces supply, and in SF case they already has a supply problem. rent control ofen puts rent below cost, or below profit of selling it. rent control would not fix this issue.04/15/2014 - 10:56am
NeenekoRent control is useful in moderation, NYC took it way to far and tends to be held up as an example of them not working, but in most cases they are more subtle and positive.04/15/2014 - 10:24am
PHX CorpBeating Cancer with Video Games http://mashable.com/2014/04/14/steven-gonzalez-survivor-games/04/15/2014 - 9:21am
Matthew Wilsonwhat are you saying SF should do rent control, that has never worked every time it has been tried. the issue here is a self inflicted supply problem imposed by stupid laws.04/15/2014 - 8:52am
 

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