Google To Help Take On Mexican Drug Cartels
from the do-no-evil dept
"Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, has taken a keen interest in Mexico, where more than 47,500 people have been killed in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against the cartels in 2006. Schmidt recently visited most of Mexico's most violent cities, Ciudad Juarez, where civic leaders asked if he could help.At the conference in California, put on by both Google and the Council on Foreign Relations, a variety of ways technology and Google could help the Mexican authorities tackle their drug cartel problem were discussed. Some of the strategies may raise eyebrows for privacy-minded citizens of any country: sharing real-time intelligence with police, identifying through Google's data how individuals are connected with one another, and even showing links between criminals or corrupt politicians and potentially implicated bank accounts.
"Defeated, helpless, these people have been so hardened in their experience with cartels that they have lost battles and they have lost hope," Schmidt told a conference on international crime this week. "They were looking for a universal hammer to protect them. For me the answer was obvious. It was technology.""
But, in my mind, the real winning ideas probably won't raise any of those privacy concerns: creating an anonymous network through which anyone can report drug cartel information or activity, so as to avoid reprisal, and creating community web platforms so citizens can share information about the criminals and publicly chastise them.
If I had to guess, that's where you're going to have the most success. Using technology to empower the police can be a good thing, but using technology to empower the citizenry, that's how you can really have an impact.
Of course, it will take more than Google's help to take down drug cartels, something Eric Schmidt recognizes:
""I think at the end of the day, there really are bad people, and you have to go in and arrest them and kill them," he said."Still, empowering the Mexican people with technology should produce a step forward in the fight against the drug cartels, and that's a good thing.