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Law & Order in the Metaverse

“As technology develops, the metaverse will probably mimic the real world and we will be able to do anything that we can already do in real life and much more. Anything we can imagine, we will eventually be able to experience. It will basically add a new environment for human interactions. More so, there will be activities that can only be done in the metaverse, since technology will give us the possibility of more types of interactions than in real life. This is why a comprehensive legal framework is not only necessary, but should be mandated as soon as possible by regulatory entities.” — Roxy Pistolea, NFT and Metaverse Legal Expert at Humans.ai.

Imagine you are enjoying a glass of <insert favorite drink> after an exhausting day of work. Maybe you are getting ready to read that book you were excited to start or maybe just enjoying a nice movie or catching up with one of your friends on FaceTime. All is set for a cozy evening. You are relaxed. Suddenly, you hear a noise. A doorknob turns, you hear some steps. You come to the dreadful realization: there’s someone inside your house.

Now let’s change the scenario a bit. All of the above did not actually happen in real life, it happened while you were wearing a VR headset and relaxing in a virtual space. It still happened; someone trespassed your virtual space. Is it the same as the first scenario, though? Yes and no.

Trespassing involves being on someone else’s property without permission. Depending on the applicable law, trespassing can be treated as a civil or criminal offense. While trespassing your home, your safe place, is a serious offense, should cyber trespassing be judged by the same standards, given that it’s committed in a virtual space? There are no actual perpetrators in your real life home. But can it be considered an actual invasion of your space, irrespective of its virtual or nonvirtual nature, given that there are certainly implications for your emotional (and, if we may speculate, perhaps even implications for your physical) well-being? This is something to think about.

Cyber trespassing can be compared to cybersecurity attacks, i.e. when an individual or an organization deliberately and maliciously attempts to breach the information system of another individual or organization. Only, in this case, we are talking about an attempt to “breach” your virtual space.

In the following article, Roxy Pistolea analyzes the legal framework that needs to be created around metaverse interactions, to ensure that all users enjoy a safe virtual experience. The focus will not solely be on criminal offenses, but instead on painting a larger picture, reviewing some areas of the law which should also be tackled in the legal framework governing the metaverse, such as data protection law, competition law, land law and tax law.

Read the full opinion article here.

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