Google takes aim at Mexico's drug cartels
Experts told the conference that Mexico's cartels often use more sophisticated technology than law enforcement. Cartel assets include mapping software that tracks the location of police from high-tech control rooms; remote control submarines; and military grade rocket launchers.
Drug-dealing organizations can intercept satellite feeds, including images broadcast by intelligence agency drones. They run money laundering networks that handle an estimated $25 billion a year in drug profits.
"It's a technological arms race, and at this moment they're winning," said Marc Goodman, founder of Future Crimes, who studies the nexus of technology and transnational crime. "But there's never been an operating system that hasn't been hacked."
Google's immense intelligence assets can be brought to bear on the cartels, Schmidt suggested.
Google's ideas include creating a network so citizens can safely report cartel activity without fear of retribution. It wants to make sharing real-time intelligence easier among police in different regions. It can identify how individuals are connected to each other, to bank accounts and even to corrupt government officials. It can create community Web platforms for citizens to share information and name and shame criminals.
Talk also addressed human and arms trafficking, exploitation of child soldiers, and airport and seaport security.