Bileta 2012   virtual criminality - rights and wrongs
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Bileta 2012 virtual criminality - rights and wrongs



Slides of 'Virtual Criminality: Rights and Wrongs' presented by Kim Barker at BILETA 2012, Centre for Life, Newcastle.

Slides of 'Virtual Criminality: Rights and Wrongs' presented by Kim Barker at BILETA 2012, Centre for Life, Newcastle.




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  • Cybercrime = a singular concept of crime that could encompass new criminal offences perpetrated in new ways Cyber crime = a descriptive term for a type of crime involving conventional crimes perpetrated using new technologies Classification?The concept of cyber crime has been derived from common law and legislation so that it: - involves the use of digital technologies in commission of the offence e.g. Online fraud, misleading adverts, financial crime, fraud, deception. - is directed at computing and communications e.g. Hacking, cracking, cyber stalking theft of internet services - is incidental to the commission of other crimes e.g. Encryption, steganography (embedding info in seemingly harmless data like pictures)I disagree with the last element of Graborsky’s definition and the classifications of cybercrime – I think there is an element that is ignored within this.
  • Need to mention LambdaMOO, Bragg v Linden, Habbo case in Europe, Zynga case in UK last year. There is also potential for acts committed within virtual worlds and online games to have repercussions within the physical world i.e. Chinese gamers have been stabbed and killed for committing virtual theft of precious and rare game swords!

Bileta 2012   virtual criminality - rights and wrongs Bileta 2012 virtual criminality - rights and wrongs Presentation Transcript

  • Kim Barker
  • Virtual Criminality Criminal law is well developed – although not without its flaws / weaknesses / controversies Cyberspace has no such ‘law’  ‘the value in cyberspace lies in its ability to resist singular interpretation and it would be a mistake to try to impose one’ (Chaterjee)  Cyberspace works in a different way... Applying our non-virtual law to cyber wrongs is problematic. But why?
  • Cyber crime or Cybercrime? Cyber crime is a term used to generically describe a range of criminal offences  Only some of these relate to computers! However, legislation refers to Cybercrime  Australian Cybercrime Act (2001)  Council of Europe’s Convention on Cybercrime Smith, Graborsky and Urbas suggest there is a distinction between cyber crime and cybercrime
  • Online Games & Virtual Worlds What are online games (MMORPGs) and VirtualWorlds? What do they have to do with cybercrime? Bell (2008): “A synchronous, persistent network of people, represented as avatars, facilitated by networked computers” Online games and virtual worlds are massively multiplayer and interactive spaces They encourage creativity and trade of game items
  • What ‘crime’? The classifications of cyber crime focus predominantly on similar classifications adopted by criminal law in the physical world In Online Games and Virtual Worlds, there are different types of ‘crime’  The definitions and categorisations of cybercrime do not take into account games and gaming activities  E.g. Nerfing and Griefing
  • The Connection? Online games and virtual worlds do not give rise to proprietary rights for users But they do encourage ideas of ‘ownership’ There are opportunities for:  Virtual theft / robbery  Virtual ‘murder’ and offences against the person  Cyberstalking  Cyber prostitution  Cyber sex offences  Virtual fraud and deception ALL within virtual spaces and gaming platforms...why do these not fall within the categorisations?
  • Criminality & Wrongs 1 There are multiple uses for online games and virtual worlds; socialising, trade, income generation, escapism! In games, rules set out what users can and cannot do within a particular environment – EULA regulation  E.g. In some games for example, it is acceptable to actively seek to kill other avatars and steal their items  In others, such activities are prohibited and are known as griefing!
  • Criminality and Wrongs 2 Theft of virtual items e.g. Swords, gold, costumes  Habbo case  Zynga hacker  Final Fantasy player Geoff Lurrs claimed theft of $4000 – no help  Bragg v Linden Lab  Volkov v John Doe – Second Life sex bed theft Murder  Second Life wife ‘murders husband’ Money laundering  In 2008 a Korean group were arrested after laundering $38m into China from virtual currencies GBH (of an avatar!) Virtual sex offences  LambdaMOO and Bungle
  • Regulatory Systems? VWs and MMORPGs are regulated by End User License Agreements Everything is regulated at least in part by a contractual agreement Usually also includes Codes of Conduct, Rules of Play etc e.g. The Habbo Way Social Norms also play a part e.g. LambdaMOO or Second Life (to an extent)
  •  No virtual police force Many police forces do not consider things happening within virtual worlds or games to be their concern South Korea is one example of this being the opposite – they have their own dedicated police team for dealing with issues in virtual worlds BUT none of this is in-game or in-world Second Life have a reporting system, World of Warcraft and EVE Online have GameMasters
  • Cyber Wrongs? The UK Fraud Advisory Panel called for the government to extend laws into virtual worlds in 2007 The current classifications and examinations of cyber crimes do not take into account the specifics of criminality in virtual worlds There are difficulties in using the same models of criminal law in virtual spaces – how do you determine the actus reus and mens rea of an avatar? Cyber crime could be better addressed as cyber wrongs in virtual spaces Cyber space users could therefore have greater cyber rights because they will be protected from cyber wrongs!
  • Questions? Thank Kim Barker