Google equips tech to take on drug cartels and other baddies

Google equips tech to take on drug cartels and other baddies
All fun and games until somebody gets trafficked

Google thinks that the solution to international drug, arms, people and organ dealing gangs lies with technology and it is hoping to do something about it through its Google Ideas arm.

"Can technology expose, map and disrupt these networks?" so asks Google Ideas as it launches the Illicit Networks: Forces in Opposition (INFO) partnership.

You may well be thinking, what has this got to do with a search engine? What can Google possibly do to tackle these real world problems?

To be honest, there's no clear answer to that second question yet. It's partly what the company hopes to find out during the first three-day conference in Los Angeles, in partnership with the Council on Foreign Relations and Tribeca Film Festival.

Very not evil

Likely Google's role will be a financial and facilitatory one, providing the network, publicity and web-presence to create an action network which will then work to "expose, map and disrupt" criminal conglomerates.

The main aim is to remove the shroud of secrecy from these illicit and often global networks that dabble in drugs, people trafficking, arms dealing and more.

As Jared Cohen, director of Google Ideas, explains, "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.

"Through the summit… 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."

What Google and co will actually achieve remains to be seen, but the launch video is pretty hardcore and highlights the human need to destroy these networks - as well as the small matter of them costing the global economy $2.1 trillion (about £1.3 trillion) every year.

News Editor (UK)

Former UK News Editor for TechRadar, it was a perpetual challenge among the TechRadar staff to send Kate (Twitter, Google+) a link to something interesting on the internet that she hasn't already seen. As TechRadar's News Editor (UK), she was constantly on the hunt for top news and intriguing stories to feed your gadget lust. Kate now enjoys life as a renowned music critic – her words can be found in the i Paper, Guardian, GQ, Metro, Evening Standard and Time Out, and she's also the author of 'Amy Winehouse', a biography of the soul star.