Mick Keelty, Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police is quoted in today’s Sydney Morning Herald as saying that the AFP are aware of online scams in virtual worlds, including Second Life. Nothing particularly surprising there. Keelty is also realistic about the challenges of policing virtual worlds, admitting it will be “difficult”.
There’d be widespread support for their involvement with the Virtual Global Taskforce which has a strong child protection focus and comprises the Australian Federal Police, the Australian High Tech Crime Centre, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in the UK, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the US Department of Homeland Security, Interpol and the Italian National Police. The test for the AFP will be drawing the line between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in a way that protects innocent parties whilst maintaining freedom of expression.
One thing is certain – any Australian believing their activities in Second Life are beyond scrutiny are deluding themselves to the highest degree.