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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Andrew EisenZip - And yet, you can't cite a single, solitary example. (And no one said you hated anyone. Along those lines, no one claimed Sarkeesian was perfect either.)08/29/2014 - 3:51pm
Andrew EisenSaint's Row: Gat Out of Hell was just announced for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One making it the 150th game For Everything But Wii U! Congratulations Deep Silver!08/29/2014 - 3:49pm
ZippyDSMleeI do not hate them jsut think its mostly hyperlobe.08/29/2014 - 3:40pm
Andrew EisenSleaker - I'd say that's likely. From my experience, most who have a problem with Sarkeesian's videos either want to hate them in the first place (for whatever reason) or honestly misunderstand what they're about and what they're saying.08/29/2014 - 3:16pm
james_fudgeWe appreciate your support :)08/29/2014 - 2:55pm
TechnogeekIt gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, the gaming community is not statistically indistinguishable from consisting entirely of people that your average Xbox Live caricature would look at and go "maybe you should tone it down a little bit".08/29/2014 - 2:49pm
TechnogeekI just want to say that while I've disagreed with the staff of this site on several occasions, it's still good to see that they're not automatically dismissing Anita's videos as a "misandrist scam" or whatever the preferred dismissive term is these days.08/29/2014 - 2:49pm
E. Zachary KnightZippy, So you can't find even one?08/29/2014 - 1:04pm
ZippyDSMleeAndrew Eisen:Right because shes prefect and never exaggerates... *rolls eyes*08/29/2014 - 12:53pm
SleakerAnd honestly, nearly all of the games she references, or images she depicts I've always cringed at and wondered why they were included in games to begin with, from pinups through explicit sexual depictions or direct abuse. I think it's cheap storytelling.08/29/2014 - 12:35pm
Sleaker@AE - aren't most people fundamentally misunderstanding her at this point? haha.. On a related note I think a lot of the backlash is coming from males that think she is telling them their 'Generic Male Fantasy' is bad and wrong.08/29/2014 - 12:33pm
Andrew EisenAnd no, I don't think the female community would be upset over the performance of a case study in and of itself. Possibly the mostivations behind such a study, the methodology or conclusions but not the mere idea of a case study.08/29/2014 - 12:29pm
Andrew EisenAmusingly, these videos aren't saying you can't/shouldn't use tropes or that sexual representations are inherently problematic so those are very silly things to have a problem with and indicate a fundamental misunderstanding of the series.08/29/2014 - 12:29pm
SleakerDo you think the female community would get extremely angry over a male doing a case study on the negative impact of sex-novels and their unrealistic depiction of males and how widespread they are in american culture?08/29/2014 - 12:25pm
SleakerThe other thing that people might find problematic is that they see no problem with sexual representations of females (or males) in games. And realistically, why is there anything wrong with sexual representations in fiction?08/29/2014 - 12:24pm
SleakerTo even discuss or bring up these issues at a cultural level to begin with. Going straight for games to many probably feels like a huge overstepping given that it's interactive story in many cases, and when you're telling a story why can't you use tropes.08/29/2014 - 12:21pm
SleakerI think a large part of the controversy stems from the idea that games aren't culture setters, but culture reactors, and simply depict what is already in culture. So people don't care that games use tropes or are blind to them because we've failed ...08/29/2014 - 12:20pm
AvalongodBesides, what better way to make her point for her than to respond to her opinion by behaving like a misogynistic asshole. Sure, it may be a troll account, but that doesn't make it "ok"08/29/2014 - 12:19pm
AvalongodWhether Sarkeesian is "right" or "wrong" is not relevant, neither she nor any other woman should have to expect that her opinion will be met with death threats or even just sexist language.08/29/2014 - 12:18pm
Andrew EisenOh, may as well. Zip, I challenge you to cite three specific examples from the TvW videos (use direct quotes and time stamps) and explain how/why they ring hollow or are over exaggerated.08/29/2014 - 11:56am
 

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