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Why is Google picking a fight with the mafia?

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It's a laudable and important goal, and one that Mexico's Security Minister Alejandro Poire picked up on day two, saying he and his team, in the four months before the incoming government takes over, would push to use 95 million cellular phones in Mexico in the fight against organized crime.

"If you see something, cell [phone] something," Poire joked about the slogan he might employ, which he admitted had no Spanish-language equivalent. (See all available conference video here.)

But the well-choreographed (possibly multi-million dollar) conference was more than a government-Google love fest. Numerous victims gave live testimony of their experiences, and some offered words of inspiration. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) presented its latest work on the trafficking and trade of human body parts. (Full disclosure: I am an ICIJ member).

Mixed into the conference were a few of Google's consulting partners, most notably Palantir, a software design firm that provided the tech tools for ICIJ to sift through and present its investigative story; and Caerus, a private security business that is most famous for providing the US government advice on how to identify and neutralize the most notorious Iraqi and foreign terrorist cells operating during the worst of that country's war.

These partners may be the biggest winners of this event. Following the ICIJ/Palantir presentation, an INTERPOL representative asked how he could get information on the technology used for ICIJ's report. The answer, as I am sure he found out in the plush Four Seasons Hotel hallways between sessions, was not cheap.

Google's power to convene was also evident and, like many conferences, may have been the biggest takeaway for the rest of us. Fighting organized crime requires coordination across numerous platforms and agencies, and Google brought them to one place to trade smiles, business cards, and ideas for working together.

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