Who will the board hit in the first “rape case” in the Metaverse?

A few days ago, on a foreign online social platform, a netizen accused himself of being ” VR raped ” while he was doing “VR sleep” in a Metaverse virtual space . Then a new term “VR rape” that seems to be beyond the times has occupied the first place on the platform’s hot search list, and countless netizens have been watching it for a while.

Starting with a VR “rape”

This VR “rape case” occurred in a popular online VR social game. The game’s design company was established in 2014. At the end of June 2021, the company completed a $80 million Series D financing. Benchmarking presence in the field of social games. This VR social game has a very high degree of freedom (the so-called “sandbox world”). By wearing VR equipment, players can even achieve physical performance in this game that is almost indistinguishable from reality, such as blinking and mouth movements. , gestures, etc.

The problem is precisely in the high degree of freedom of the game experience. In order to allow players to experience the freedom of the “sandbox world” as much as possible, the game allows players to perform “VR sleep”, that is, the player wears a VR headset to sleep while entering the game . This “VR rape case” happened during the “VR sleep” process. In short, when the “victim” wears a VR headset and sleeps in reality, the game characters it controls are also sleeping in the virtual world. During this process, other players used the game characters they controlled to swing their waists on the game characters controlled by the “victim” and made some indecent actions . This is the whole case of this VR “rape case”. The “victim” said afterwards that he was forced to experience a very “real” sexual assault-was awakened in his sleep, opened his eyes and saw an unfamiliar game character on his virtual body in the headset Indecent action, it’s all very realistic.

Such “sexual assault” incidents in cyberspace are not new. Back in 1993, in the ancient days of the Internet, journalist Julian Dibbell published an article titled “a Rape in Cyberspace.” This article records a series of inappropriate behaviors by a player in a virtual community by controlling the virtual characters, voices and other characteristics of other players . This is probably the earliest record of an online “sexual assault” incident.

In 2016, when VR applications exploded, the “Belamire sexual assault incident” also caused extensive discussion in the VR game industry. According to the description of Belamire, the “victim” of the incident, after he made a voice on the public chat channel of a VR game and revealed his female identity, another VR player began to “touch” Belamire’s avatar in the game. After Belamire’s explicit refusal, the player not only did not stop the inappropriate behavior, but intensified stroking Belamire’s in-game avatar . At that time, there were voices on the Internet that “such obscene behavior would be enough to constitute a crime of forced obscene if placed in the real world.”

Who will the board hit in the first "rape case" in the Metaverse?

Maybe it’s not the “violators” who are in trouble, but the game designers and operators

The above-mentioned “VR rape case” or “Belamire sexual assault case” are all so-called ” virtual sexual violence ” incidents. To put it simply, “virtual sexual violence” occurs in virtual digital spaces such as the Metaverse, online games, etc., and the “sexual violence” behaviors carried out by virtual characters controlled by players to virtual characters controlled by other players are similar to reality. Is there an equivalence of sexual violence in the context of a criminal law?The answer seems to be no.

Taking Japan, where the “VR rape case” occurred, as an example, the Japanese criminal law and several special criminal laws have extremely detailed provisions on sexual crimes. Articles 176 to 179 of the Japanese Criminal Code respectively stipulate the crimes of forced indecency, rape, quasi-compulsory indecency, quasi-rape, gang rape and the corresponding attempted crimes. Law and other special criminal laws stipulate the penalties for voyeurism and online seduction of children, but despite such detailed regulations, it is difficult for the “violators” in the “VR rape case” to meet the elements of the above-mentioned crimes .

First of all, as far as the crime of rape is concerned, the Japanese criminal law requires that sexual relations must be carried out by means of violence or coercion, or by taking advantage of the loss of other people’s minds or the inability to resist.Obviously, the “rape” of virtual characters in the game cannot be evaluated as coercion and coercion. The player behind the avatar has sex . Otherwise, wouldn’t “killing” other players in a VR game constitute intentional homicide? This is obviously ridiculous.

Secondly, as far as the crime of compulsory indecency is concerned, the Japanese criminal law requires that acts as a means of indecency must be compulsory , that is, either by means of violence or coercion, or by indecency when the victim is asleep, in a coma, etc., otherwise it does not constitute a relevant Forced indecency. In this case, the victim can barely be evaluated as “in a state of loss of mind such as deep sleep”, but the obscene behavior must be performed on the victim himself, rather than his virtual avatar in the game, and Japan’s precedents so far have affirmed that obscene behavior must be performed. Physical contact, or at least the possibility of physical contact , is clearly impossible in this case.

Once again, in terms of the most basic jurisprudence, one of the most notable achievements of modern criminal jurisprudence is the establishment of the theory of legal interests, which completely excludes behaviors that are objectively impossible to infringe on or threaten people’s interests in life from the scope of criminal law. outside. Taking sexual crimes (such as rape, forced indecency) as an example, the legal interest protected by criminal law is people’s “sexual self-determination”, that is, criminal law protects us “to decide who to have sexual contact with, when to have sexual contact and how to freedom of how to have sexual contact”. Obviously, “obscene” behavior in VR games, while objectionable, is unlikely to threaten the player’s sexual freedom in any way.

Of course, if the “victim” in this case is a minor, and the “perpetrator” has seduced the minor to meet offline in the process of “indecent” behavior on the virtual character controlled by the player , it is possible in Japan It is regulated criminally according to the special criminal law of the Law on Regulation of Internet Lure of Children.

Who will the board hit in the first "rape case" in the Metaverse?

If the case happened in China, the legal evaluation of the “violator” would be similar to that in Japan, and there is no possibility that it would constitute a related crime .

In addition to sexual crimes, it is difficult for my country to constitute insults and defamation by insulting actions and abuse in VR games. Although Article 4(1) of the Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Maintaining Internet Security stipulates that “whoever uses the Internet to insult others or fabricate facts to slander others shall be investigated for criminal responsibility in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Criminal Law”, but in VR games and other networks In the game, the objects of insult and abuse are directed at the virtual characters in the game, not the players behind them . Even if the abuser intends to abuse the player behind the avatar, due to the anonymous and random matching characteristics of online games, the abuser does not know the real name of the player behind the avatar, and their abuse and insults are difficult to tell the truth of the player. Social relationships have an impact . Therefore, such abuse and insults are almost impossible to be regulated by the criminal law.

As a result, we have to face an embarrassing proposition: it may not be the “violators” of virtual violence that have legal risks, but the designers and operators of VR games . In the field of philosophy of science and technology, there is a term called “technological alienation”, which originally refers to that technology, as a creation of human beings to improve life and promote social progress, has produced negative effects that are contrary to people’s expectations. The phenomenon of technological alienation abounds in the Internet age, and even some Internet entrepreneurs end up in jail.

A few years ago, the Internet sensation of ” a broadcast case “, the original intention of the designer of the network player was to design a network player with cloud playback function, but it was used by countless online obscene video disseminators. He was sentenced to three years and six months in prison for the crime of distributing obscene materials for profit.

A well-known social software in China once had a ” Drift Bottle ” function, which was originally designed to provide users with anonymous social needs and facilitate users to express their heartfelt words on the Internet. Illegal information, and finally the operator of the social software had to completely ban the function of the drift bottle to avoid falling into the legal net of helping information network criminal activities .

Recently, the deep synthesis technology , which is famous for its AI face changing, has also been pushed to the forefront due to the phenomenon of technological alienation. At the beginning of its birth, AI face changing was only to entertain the public, but it has gradually become a means of “porn revenge”, that is, the use of deep synthesis technology to Faces appearing in porn are replaced with faces of celebrities. Nearly 90% of AI face-changing videos on the Internet around 2020 involve pornographic content. Not only AI face-changing, but deep synthesis technology is also widely used in fake news synthesis. At present, it is a typical representative of technological alienation in the Metaverse era.

The “VR rape” incident may become the fuse of technological alienation in the field of VR applications. There have been precedents of using VR games to make obscene videos of virtual game characters before. The widespread dissemination of these illegal contents has to attract the designers and operators of virtual reality games and deep synthesis technology applications to pay attention to their own criminal risks.

Who will the board hit in the first "rape case" in the Metaverse?

Compliance advice to relevant application designers and operators

Do a good job in disclosing virtual content information

The criminal risk caused by technological alienation has attracted widespread attention outside the territory. The United States is one of the first countries to govern deep synthesis technology and virtual reality technology. Malicious Deep Fake Prohibition Act of 2018, Deep Fake Prohibition Act of 2018 The Deep Fakes Accountability Act is a typical example. The latter requires anyone who uses virtual reality technology and deep synthesis technology to create video media files to disclose that the relevant files are AI-generated or tampered with. Related Designers and operators of applications must also use appropriate means to indicate that these media contents are generated or tampered with by AI.

China has also promulgated a series of relevant regulations, such as the “Regulations on the Administration of Online Audio and Video Information Services” jointly issued by the State Internet Information Office, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and the State Administration of Radio and Television, which states that “the use of deep learning, virtual reality and other new technology applications to produce and publish. , when disseminating non-real audio and video information, it should be marked in a prominent way .”

Fulfilling web content governance obligations

Technological alienation has certain unpredictability in the Internet age. For example, the application of drifting bottles in the dissemination of obscene information, the application of deep synthesis technology in the production of pornographic videos and fake news, and various types of “sexual harassment” in VR games are typical examples. Operators of relevant applications are required to keep in mind their own network information content governance obligations.

China’s “Regulations on the Ecological Governance of Network Information Content” requires that online information content service platforms should perform the main responsibility for information content management and strengthen the information content management of their platforms . Lenovo’s information is bad information, and producers of online information content should take corresponding measures to prevent, resist the production, copying, and release of the above information .

Perform relevant application security assessments

The virtual reality games involved in this “VR rape” incident have strong social attributes, which is also a major feature of current virtual reality applications. Such applications generally have public opinion attributes or certain social mobilization capabilities. Regulations on the Administration of Audio and Video Information Services, Regulations on the Administration of Network Data Security and other legal regulations require operators of relevant Internet platforms to conduct security assessments in accordance with relevant national regulations for such virtual reality applications, in order to examine possible issues related to national security . , Social and public interest risks .

Establish an effective complaint mechanism for platform users

Another major means to deal with the alienation of virtual reality application technology is to strengthen the self-management and correction mechanism of the platform. China’s “Mobile Internet Application Information Service Management Regulations” and other relevant laws and regulations also require operators and designers of relevant applications to build effective public complaints and reporting portals in their applications to strengthen the platform’s self-management and correction.

Who will the board hit in the first "rape case" in the Metaverse?

write at the end

Since ancient times, the duality of technology is nothing new. Kitchen knives can be used to cook as well as to kill people. Einstein’s E=MC² formula for mass-energy conversion not only laid the foundation for us to use nuclear energy, but also The atomic bombs used to make countless killings…the same goes for the technologies of the Metaverse and its aggregation.

At present, virtual violence has a particularly serious impact on women, and even to a certain extent has constituted an obstacle for women to freely use VR technology. However, since the number of female users is significantly less than that of male users, virtual violence has not attracted due attention. In the face of the rapid development of new technologies, it is not only necessary for the legislature to issue relevant laws and regulations as soon as possible for regulation, but also for the developers and users of the technology to investigate and consider in detail with a kind and considerate heart as much as possible. and eliminate the adverse effects new technologies may have on users .

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/who-will-the-board-hit-in-the-first-rape-case-in-the-metaverse/
Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.

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