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Google joins fight vs illegal drug, human trafficking networks

July 18, 2012 8:42am

Tags: Google
Google is taking another step to bolster its motto "Don't be evil" by joining the fight against drug rings and human trafficking networks.

Jared Cohen, Director of Google Ideas, noted more than 50,000 people have died in the past five years as a result of the war among rival drug rings in Mexico.

"It’s clear that illicit networks – particularly those that are violent and coercive like drug smugglers, arms dealers and human traffickers – have a devastating human and financial impact on every nation," Cohen said in a blog post.

He added Google can help, having launched Google Ideas 18 months ago with the belief that Google is in a unique position to explore how technology can tackle some of the toughest human challenges in the world.

Cohen said their first area of focus was counter-radicalization, and Google convened last year the Summit Against Violent Extremism with former gang members, right-wing extremists, jihadists and militants as well as survivors of violent extremism.

"Among the many outcomes of the summit was a platform that we established as a one-stop shop for tackling violent extremism through formers and survivors," he said.

He said Google has expanded its focus to include violent illicit networks such as narco-trafficking, human trafficking, organ harvesting and arms dealing.

"We believe that technology has the power to expose and dismantle global criminal networks, which depend on secrecy and discretion in order to function. And for the past few months, we’ve been working with people fighting on the front line to gain a better understanding of what drives these networks and how they function," he said.

This week, Google is partnering with the Council on Foreign Relations and the Tribeca Film Festival to convene "Illicit Networks: Forces in Opposition (or the INFO summit) in Los Angeles, California."

He said the summit aims to bring together a full-range of stakeholders, from survivors of organ trafficking, sex trafficking and forced labor to government officials, dozens of engineers, tech leaders and product managers from Google and beyond.

"Through the summit, which lasts until Wednesday, we hope to discover ways that technology can be used to expose and disrupt these networks as a whole – and to put some of these ideas into practice," he said. — LBG, GMA News
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