Google Wants To Use Technology Against Mexican Drug Cartels
The420TimesStaff | Jul 20, 2012 | Comments 0
Eric Schmidt, Google Inc.’s executive chairman, was recently in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, one of the most violent cities on earth. Civic leaders, out of answers in the face of incredible violence, asked him for help.
“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.”
Experts told the conference that Mexico’s cartels often use more sophisticated technology than law enforcement. Cartel assets include mapping software that tracks the location of police from high-tech control rooms; remote control submarines; and military grade rocket launchers.
Drug-dealing organizations can intercept satellite feeds, including images broadcast by intelligence agency drones. They run money laundering networks that handle an estimated $25 billion a year in drug profits.
“It’s a technological arms race, and at this moment they’re winning,” said Marc Goodman, founder of Future Crimes, who studies the nexus of technology and transnational crime. “But there’s never been an operating system that hasn’t been hacked.”
Google’s immense intelligence assets can be brought to bear on the cartels, Schmidt suggested.
Google’s ideas include creating a network so citizens can safely report cartel activity without fear of retribution.
A noble idea, but also just another expensive way to wage an unwinnable war. Spending tens of millions of dollars to get better equipment than the drug cartels instead of collapsing the drug market and depriving cartels of their billions of dollars through legalization.
But that’s always the first response of most people, throw money at the problem. If that doesn’t work, throw more money.