Tracking Mexico’s cartels with Google

Foreign Policy, 11/01/2012

For the vast majority of us, who don’t have access to high-level law enforcement data, the best way to keep track of Mexican drug cartel activity is by reading the newspaper. But with information often dispersed in local sources and reporting on the ground becoming increasingly dangerous, it can be difficult to get a big picture view of how the drug war is progressing. But a new tool developed by two Harvard graduate students could help provide such a broad view.

Viridiana Rios and Michele Coscia have created an algorithm they call MOGO (Making Order Using Google As an Oracle) which processes Google data to track cartel activity. “MOGO does the jobs we could never do,” Rios told me in a phone interview today. “It reads all of the newspapers that have ever been published in the last 20 years and extracts information about whether and when a particular cartel is mentioned and where that cartel is mentioned. We get the organization, the municipality in which it is supposedly operating, and the year in which the note was published.”

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Rio’s and Coscia’s full report, CosciaRios_GoogleForCriminals


Google’s Drug War vs. Mexico’s Cartels

The Huffington Post/The Associated Press, 07/18/2012

Google, so far, has won the search engine wars. Now it wants to target international crime, including Mexico’s powerful drug cartels.

Eric Schmidt, Google Inc.’s executive chairman, has taken a keen interest in Mexico, where more than 47,500 people have been killed in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against the cartels in 2006. Schmidt recently visited most of Mexico’s most violent cities, Ciudad Juarez, where civic leaders asked if he could help.

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Mexico’s economic growth – one of the many reasons Google does business in Mexico

The following video, from Mexico Today,  highlights the growth of Google and internet usage in Mexico. Produced by Ogilvy Public Relations on behalf of Marca Pais/Government of Mexico

Mexico Institute Advisory Board Member Manuel Tamez interviews President Calderón on “Preguntale al Presidente” (In Spanish)

Manuel Tamez

Manuel Tamez of Google-Mexico, a board member of the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, facilitated a virtual town meeting with President Felipe Calderón that allowed citizens to ask the President direct questions about his annual state of the union address.

To view the video, click here.

Para ver el video, haga click aquí.

The mega payoff of increased immigration is lost on the polls

The Washington Post, 9/25/2010

I have a plan that will raise wages, lower prices, increase the nation’s stock of scientists and engineers, and maybe even create the next Google. Better yet, this plan won’t cost the government a dime. In fact, it’ll save money. A lot of money. But few politicians are going to want to touch it.

Here’s the plan: More immigration. A pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants. And a recognition that immigration policy is economic policy and needs to be thought of as such.

See what I meant about politicians not liking it?

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