Tech Challenges of Modern Day Law Enforcement in Mexico
Mexican criminals are increasingly using social networking sites (e.g., Twitter and Facebook) to (a) communicate more efficiently with one another and (b) to spread fear across communities.
In retaliation, the Mexican government is trying to simmer the activity by restricting users via the passing of new legislation:
A contingent of the liberal Revolutionary Democratic Party has drafted a bill to closely monitor and regulate the use of Twitter and Facebook in Mexico… Mexican Twitter users reacted with laughter and scorn when they heard about the bill, with many saying that the proposed legislation was just an excuse for the government to act as Big Brother. Instead of cracking down on Twitter and Facebook use, some analysts say that law-enforcement and intelligence agencies should adapt to the new technology by creating fake identities on the sites to track criminals down instead of seeking to regulate the sites.
I strongly agree that Mexican law enforcement needs to adapt to the ever growing social media usage, and take full advantage of available technology – not unlike the adapted methods that American law enforcement is already taking. Mexican citizens can also report suspicious activity in their communities (which reminded me of the Oakland shootings caught by phone camera in 2009, which spread quickly via internet).
With this notion of using technology to its fullest potential, it makes me wonder if social networking giants such as Facebook and Twitter are too mainstream. Will criminals catch on and counteract by finding alternative ways of communicating?
Not unless Mexican law enforcement and its 30.5 million internet users beat them to it.
This growing trend creates an opportunity for developers in Mexico – and worldwide – to come up with a new platform that law enforcement and the general Mexican public can participate in with one another to exchange tips about drug cartel or illegal immigration activities, share pictures/videos of suspects, and ultimately capture criminals. There is certainly a market need to develop a simple and useful tool to combat crime.
Fifty-eight percent of Mexico’s online users have a college education, and 38% are within 35 and 45 years old. This older, educated demographic can actively participate in this new tool to better their communities for future generations.
Immediately, though, law enforcement should open their eyes and stop wasting time on writing bills to prevent the population from communicating with one another… especially when communication today is easier and more transparent than ever.