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.


Jannie Funster said...

Good Lord.

I never share my passwords with anyone, not even my Non-cyber husband.

Now if they could only catch (in my opinion) "real" cyber criminals like the ones stealing identities and credit and stuff, I'd be impressed.

Yodood said...

There is no requirement for anyone to go on line as a matter of normal existence. Everyone understands, or should, that in addition to a "series of tubes" the world wide web displays all your junk to a cyberpublic as plain as doin' it in the road. It is the joy of the openminded and the leaky sphincter of too retentive. It is the only place left on earth to "do what thou wilt, that is the whole of the law." Demonstrating ones private insanity through the virtual megaphone of the intertubes is the perfect place for it — I wish wars could be fought so virtually — there can be no cybercrime beyond mistaking the painting for the pipe.

Sue Guiney said...

Yes, I'm pondering....but it's also disturbing that governments/societies feel the need to punish in real life crimes that are not committed in real life. It reminds me of Jimmy Carter's statement about "only lusting in my heart." Real actions have to count for more than just thoughts when it comes to crime -- how scary for it not to be that way. And besides, the prisons are already too crowded.

In any case, enjoy those fabulous-looking dunes.

Anonymous said...

Sueg figured it out!
Cyber Prisons!

And don't be tracking all that sand into the house when you get back.

Liane Spicer said...

I saw the headline for the first and did a double take. Murder? Five years? Curiouser and curiouser, this species of ours. You'd think the law would be too busy dealing with 'real' crime to devote time and energy to this nonsense.

Camber looks like the perfect place for a writer's retreat. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Poverty Crime? over the last year,140,YES 140 Homeless people died on the streets of london alone,when will this end ! there is going to be a service for those who died at St Martins in The Fields Trafalgar Sq on November 6th at 12 o.clock........and in the present climate {credit crunch} with morgage defaults...i let you the reader ponder on this...
37 yrs old
and a streethomeless woman
homeless but not stupid..
hugs and xx to you debi

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

It seems like a 'natural' (you've got me doing it now!) progression from all those people who e.g. send real letters of condolence to fictional soap characters when they are fictionally bereaved. But it's getting silly now. I'm with SueG on the cyberprisons.

Hope you've had a lovely real-life half-term!

Debi said...

You guys have it worked out. Cyber prisons are the obvious answer.

And thank you, dear Homeless Chicken, for pointing out the REAL crimes happening under our noses. 140 homeless people dead on our streets? Shame on us all!