Sunday, October 26, 2008
Virtual crime, real time
The line between Virtuality and Reality is becoming ever more blurred.
(You will note the number of '.....' used in this post.)
In Japan, a woman has been arrested this week for virtually 'murdering' her virtual 'ex-husband'.
Are you following this?
The woman had 'married' a man (who lives 600 real miles away) in an online game, MapleStory.
The game originated in South Korea and now has approx 50 million subscribers worldwide.
When the 'husband' announced to his 'wife' that he wanted a 'divorce', she was enraged.
Using his password and ID (which he'd shared with her while they'd been happily 'married') she hacked into his computer and erased his digital character, making him virtually 'dead' - or worse - as if he'd 'never existed' (virtually speaking, since the character had never 'really' existed in the first place).
Confusing, isn't it?
Was this a computer crime?
Or a virtual 'murder'?
What's not so confusing is the Real Life sentence she faces if found guilty ...
Up to 5 years in prison or £3,200 fine.
Meanwhile, recently in Holland, 2 teenagers were sentenced to 360 hours community service for virtually beating up another boy and stealing his digital goods.
The court described the crime as theft, which I find weird.
I can understand if the offense was cyberbullying, a very real and destructive phenomenon, but theft???
It's bad enough when material possessions are valued above people in the Real World ...
So what do you think?
Where should the line be drawn?
Should it be a case of, 'If you can't do the Real Time, don't do the Cyber Crime'?
Dunno about you, but I think the real crime here is that some people's real lives are so empty and sad that they spend them buried deep in a facile fantasy world.
I'll leave you to ponder that one for the next few days, while I'm playing on the sand dunes here.