UAE Tech Minister Presses for International Criminal Standards in the Coming Metaverse

As tech corporations like Facebook and Microsoft focus their energy and resources on developing a “metaverse,” digital landscapes are evolving into immersive experiences that are only becoming more realistic. And though many organizations are working to monetize this potential virtual marketplace, some officials are expressing a need to treat digital crime as harshly as its real-world counterpart. At the 2022 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Omar Sultan Al Olama — the Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence in the United Arab Emirates — expressed a need to police acts such as virtual murder within the metaverse.

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Al Olama implored the International Telecommunication Union, the U.N.’s specialized agency for information and communication technologies, to set international safety standards for the metaverse that people must comply with regardless of where they live. The minister compares the murder of one’s digital avatar to other crimes that are heavily policed online, such as drug trafficking and child abuse materials. He also noted the need for users to be able to easily move from one metaverse platform to another, as well as other necessary international standards.

At the same panel, Chris Cox, the Chief Product Officer at Meta (formerly Facebook), echoed Al Olama’s sentiment, noting the need for unified standards across the board.