Google Vows to Expose Violent Illicit Networks With New Initiative

Jared Cohen, the head of Google's Ideas department, created a blog post today where he vowed to expose violent illicit networks with a new initiative called the Info Summit.

He addressed the issue in detail laying out how these networks account for a trillion-dollar problem that affects every society in the world today and claims the lives of thousands each year. Cohen's example of this is the more than 50,000 people who were killed in the ongoing war between rival drug cartels in Mexico.

By attacking the problem using think tanks cultivated in Google Ideas, Cohen hopes to save lives and expose the issue to a much larger audience with the Info Summit initiative.

"We think Google can help," he wrote. "Eighteen months ago we launched Google Ideas with the belief that Google is in the unique position to explore the role that technology can play in tackling some of the toughest human challenges in the world."

This wing of Google has already been successful in countering extremism in the form of jihadists, militants, and violent gangs.

With the help of Google Ideas the company was able to create Summit Against Violent Extremism, a platform where people who were involved with the lifestyle and users of technology could speak out against these societal ills.

By bringing together former gang members, right wing extremists, and survivors of violent extremism, the company was able to successfully raise awareness on the topic and hopes to do the same with some of these other violent illicit networks in countries such as Mexico.

Data on the country's drug cartels is often scarce and unreliable, according to Cohen. The illicit drug market was valued at $320 billion, according to data collected by the UN in 2003. The fact that there is so much profit in this market creates an extremely dangerous environment for anyone involved or surrounded by it.

Google hopes to change that by placing this issue front and center.