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Crime risks of three-dimensional virtual environments

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journal contribution
posted on 2010-02-01, 00:00 authored by Ian WarrenIan Warren, Darren Palmer
Three-dimensional virtual environments (3dves) are the new generation of digital multi-user social networking platforms. Their immersive character allows users to create a digital humanised representation or avatar, enabling a degree of virtual interaction not possible through conventional text-based internet technologies. As recent international experience demonstrates, in addition to the conventional range of cybercrimes (including economic fraud, the dissemination of child pornography and copyright violations), the 'virtual-reality' promoted by 3dves is the source of great speculation and concern over a range of specific and emerging forms of crime and harm to users. This paper provides some examples of the types of harm currently emerging in 3dves and suggests internal regulation by user groups, terms of service, or end-user licensing agreements, possibly linked to real-world criminological principles. This paper also provides some directions for future research aimed at understanding the role of Australian criminal law and the justice system more broadly in this emerging field.



Trends and issues in crime and criminal justice




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Australian Institute of Criminology


Canberra, A. C. T.





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2010, Australian Institute of Criminology