Google Searches for an End to the Drug War

By Gabrielle Wuhl 07/17/12

Google launches a two-day summit that will explore technology's cartel-curbing potential.

Will Google's summit yield results?
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Who better to adopt the roll of cyber-age superhero and fight crime globally than Google? The company's "think/do tank"—"Google Ideas"—was formed several years ago as part of an ongoing effort to "explore the role that technology can play in tackling some of the toughest human challenges." Starting today in Los Angeles, Google Ideas is hosting a two-day summit called "Illicit Networks: Forces in Opposition." The search giant says in a statement: "We vowed to avoid the safe route," when it comes to finding a solution to global violence. "Given that technology has demonstrated it can be part of every problem, we want to make sure it is part of every solution. We hope to tackle the thorniest of issues." That includes the drug war that rages below the US/Mexico border, which has claimed more than 50,000 lives in six years. The summit's speakers will include longtime drug war analyst Sylvia Longmire, who says drug cartels often use technology to aid their efforts. As the world's most powerful search engine, she believes that Google could be a strong force in the fight to expose and stop drug cartels. "To me the idea [of a summit] was totally out there," she says. But: "The more I thought about it I thought, 'You know this could be pretty special.' It’s not that far-fetched to think Google would have an interest in helping technology disrupt these networks.”

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