Lolz, Cyber Furniture Robbery

November 15th, 2007 at 12:00 am

This one’s interesting.

Habbo Hotel is a virtual world where users have their individual rooms and they decorate them by buying items with real money over their credit cards (or any payment service). For example, I sign up for an account at Habbo then I get a room. Now, I can decorate my room with any of the items up for sale on the Habbo shop. Of course, the fun is in the social networking features of the site where other users can view your room and you can view theirs.

I guess up to this point nothing is interesting yet. Get this, some kids were arrested in Europe for a furniture heist in the Habbo hotel. Arrested! Wow, I ‘ve heard of arrest for copyright infringement before but not for virtual furniture heists. A 17-year-old boy was arrested by the Dutch police for stealing some couches, charis and tables in the 3d virtual hotel. Also, 5 younger teenagers are also being questioned by the police for similar charges.

Right now I’m still getting over some snickering I got when I first read this article but all kidding aside, according to the BBC report , which takes this incident al ot more seriously, the perpetrators got caught moving stolen furniture into their rooms. Seriously now, it is indeed theft to scam other users into giving up their user ID’s and passwords according to Habbo’s spokesman. Furthermore, "In Habbo, as in many other virtual worlds, scamming for other people’s personal information such as user names has been problematic for quite a while. We have had much of this scamming going on in many countries but this is the first case where the police have taken legal action," he says.

As for the arrests, I do think that virtual theft for paid virtual goods qualifies as a crime, but it’s that whole virtual issue that makes me wonder what kind of sanctions will be charged upon the thieves.