[NA-Discuss] Google to tackle internet crime with Illicit Networks summit

Glenn McKnight mcknight.glenn at gmail.com
Wed Jul 18 00:43:56 UTC 2012


Google is attempting to turn the tables on criminals and terrorists who
exploit the internet <http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/internet> by
using its search capabilities to expose and disrupt illicit activity.

The internet giant has launched a
the secrecy and impunity of drug cartels, organ harvesters,
cyber-criminals, violent radicals and traffickers in arms and people.

It has assembled victims, law enforcers, politicians, academics and
technology experts to devise strategies in a two-day
summit<http://www.google.com/ideas/focus.html%20end> in
Los Angeles, starting Tuesday, called Illicit Networks: Forces in

Google Ideas, the company's thinktank, has teamed up with the Council on
Foreign Relations, Interpol and other organisations to look for ways to use
technology against organised crime, jihadists and others.

"Google is in a great position to take these on," Rani Hong, a survivor of
child trafficking in India who is now a special adviser to the United
Nations, told reporters on the eve of the event. "They're a powerful medium
and they have great tools to solve this problem."

It is the brainchild of Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, and the
thinktank's head, Jared Cohen, a former state department wunderkind best
known for persuading Twitter to delay maintenance so that protesters could
continue communicating during upheaval in Iran in 2009.

The summit has assembled an eclectic mix including Ronald Noble, Interpol's
secretary general; Juan Pablo Escobar, son of the late Colombian drug lord;
Alejandro Poire, Mexico's interior minister; Okello Sam, a Ugandan former
child soldier; Andy Weber, assistant secretary for nuclear, chemical and
biological defense programs at the US department of defense; and a group of
North Korean defectors.

Others due to attend include former homeland security secretary Michael
Chertoff, senior executives from JP Morgan Chase and Credit Suisse, experts
in DNA and counterfeiting and civic society leaders.

Stewart Patrick, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who
helped organise the event, told AP: "It might sound like a different path
for Google, but technology companies today have a lot of powerful tools for
bringing transparency to these illicit networks, to fight back against
corruption and empower those who are trying to combat transnational crime."

Participants will discuss how illicit surgeons and organ brokers smuggle
kidneys and other organs; how whistleblowers can expose narcotics networks;
how insurance fraudsters and counterfeiters use evade borders. Another
topic will be how recovered human skin and bone is transformed into dental
and cosmetic products for plumping up lips or smoothing wrinkles.

This gathering follows a conference Google organised in
year which assembled dozens of former gang members and radical militants to
discuss ways technology can inhibit others following their footsteps.

Cohen, one of the few high-ranking state department officials to serve both
the Bush and Obama administrations, joined Google last year to head a small
New York-based team and practise what he has called 21st century
statecraft. He calls Google Ideas a "think/do-tank", reflecting Silicon
Valley confidence – hubris, say critics – at tackling complicated,
deep-rooted problems.

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