Mexico Can Fight Crime by ... Crowdsourcing

Google executives argue for a more tech-savvy approach to drug war
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2012 1:50 PM CDT
Mexico Can Fight Crime by ... Crowdsourcing
Rosarito police chief Jorge Eduardo Montero talks on a mobile phone while being escorted by heavily armed Mexican troops during a visit to the mayor's office in this Dec. 31, 2007 file photo.   (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

When Google co-founder Eric Schmidt and Google Ideas director Jared Cohen visited Juarez, Mexico, recently, they couldn't believe how bad things were. Machine-gun-toting police were everywhere, but citizens felt hopelessly overcome with fear. "They asked us: What can we do? And to us at least part of the answer was obvious: technology," the two write in the Washington Post. "When people think about speaking out in the face of fear, they almost always do so in pre-Internet terms."

Part of Mexico's problem is the brutal reprisals facing civilians who help police. "Now, consider a network like the Internet, where sources send out their messages in little pieces—or packets." Nodes forward the packets, but don't have the full message. "There's no single point of failure, no rigid hierarchy." Mexico should set up a crime-reporting system allowing that kind of anonymous packet reporting. "We are talking about dual crowdsourcing: Citizens crowdsource incident awareness up, and responders crowdsource justice down, in real time." Click for their full column. (More Eric Schmidt stories.)

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