Sep 25, 2012

Google can help win the war on drugs (?)

Schmidt has discussed at least three different ways that Google can help us win the War on Drugs: creating a way for citizens to safely report criminal drug activity without threat of retribution from narco-criminals; enabling real-time intelligence sharing between military and police; and providing a way to analyze all the data out there about individuals, bank accounts and cross-border money flows.
Imagine a type of Wikileaks for people who fear the Mexican cartels but still want to speak out? Sunlight, as they say, is the best disinfectant. The article is here

In some towns in Latin America even the police might know who is involved in drug production and trafficking. Will Google help improve the enforcement of institutions in Latin America? [May be]. One way to strengthen institutions is probably to have the police and intelligence services from richer countries involved [although the historical evidence is not encouraging]. 

I prefer however to think about how Google can help legalize (or regulate) drug production and trafficking, or how Google can reduce the negative consequences when (if) drugs are legalized (or regulated).

Let's say drugs are regulated (one can produce, trade, and consume drugs like any other product under certain regulations). If the economic logic is right we would expect that profits of drug businesses will go down. Since barriers of entry will decrease without the legal prohibition, supply will increase, reducing margins. How would drug cartels respond to this situation? May be they will try to substitute drug activity with other illegal activities, such as kidnapping or extorting. May be the most relevant question in the long run is how Google can help fight kidnaping and related crimes.

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