Google Ideas intends to use technology and data to disrupt criminal networks. New kinds of apps, tools and ideas to do so are being developed. Here is a video on what they are doing that I’m certain you will find interesting:
Google’s think tank is a laudable and innovative idea that Microsoft, Yahoo and other search engines should join forces with. Long term it could actually prove to have a sizeable impact on organised crime by forcing them to communicate face to face only.
Google Ideas aim to, as they put it: “explore the role that technology can play in tackling some of the toughest human challenges”. They commission new research that examine the issues from a new point of view. Preventing free software tools such as TOR from enabling onion routing, i.e. enabling its users to communicate anonymously on the Internet, would be a good start.
Can technology solve the problem of trafficking?
Criminal organisations, or maffias if you wish, are smuggling people, drugs, arms and sex slaves. By bringing together government officials, tech leaders, researchers and victims Google Ideas intend to explore how online resources can best be used to tackle the huge problem of trafficking.
A multi trillion dollar global problem
No country in the world escapes the problem of criminal gangs having severe human and financial consequences. If you think the West is exempt, think again. Have seen women that I’m sure are sex slaves in Sweden. The fact that they are Asian and not Swedish is irrelevant. This kind of trafficking unfortunately goes on everywhere. Have you ever seen beggars that stay in the same place day after day? They are frequently owned by traffickers.
Hundreds of thousands of people die every year and people’s lives are ruined because of criminal gangs. Not least women and children in poor countries who are sold, frequently by their own families, into sex slavery. Can’t help wondering if the problem of trafficking would have been tackled already if it wasn’t mainly children in the developing world but in the West as well that were sold into prostitution?
Can Google Ideas have an impact on greed and fear?
Am sure that the majority of people would like to root out organised crime. However, the biggest problem is corruption in all countries. There are always greedy people in authority who protect the criminals. In the future hopefully the unique identifying codes Google is developing will become a tool to discover who some of them are? Hacking software such as TOR would be another way.
Am sure Google Ideas can make a difference. But in order to really succeed corrupt officials have to be stopped. People who claim to work against trafficking when in reality they are profiting from it. From what I understand, traditional maffia methods also come into play here since they are very effective when it comes to preventing any trafficker going to trial or being convicted. People in authority are no different from the rest of us when it comes to being told that if we go ahead with something someone close to us will be killed.
It’s a bit early to tell how Google Ideas will work out. Personally don’t think it will have much of an impact short term but may make a huge difference in the long run. It is also fantastic PR for Google and is bound to generate a lot of good will for the search engine giant.
What is your opinion? Do you agree with me that Google Ideas is a laudable and innovative initiative? What impact, if any, can they have on trafficking? Is it really possible to make a difference when poverty makes people sell their own children? What can Google do to find and expose corrupt officials that obviously don’t correspond in ways that can be traced? When sex slave traffickers use the internet they advertise for au pairs, waitresses or models and the girls who respond suddenly find themselves working as prostitutes. How can Google tackle that? Forbid all such online adverts? Do you believe it will ever be possible to make trafficking a thing of the past? If so how can it be done? Will those who use technology for good eventually win over the ones that abuse it? Or will organised crime find new ways and get the upper hand?
Video: EconomistMagazine – You Tube