Europol Take Down Despite a Bad Actor Haven, Encryption, and Modern Business Methods

November 28, 2022

First, Europol and a group of investigators shut down a drug operation. “Operation Desert Light: Europol Take Down Massive Cocaine Super Cartel” reported:

…49 people were arrested across six European countries, the EU’s police agency, Europol, said.

The somewhat terse news story referenced a couple of factoids that I found interesting:

  1. The article mentioned that there were six senior criminals running the operation. This to me suggests what I call in my lectures to law enforcement and intelligence professionals “industrialized crime.” The idea is that the precepts and methods are ones widely used by successful businesses. Just as the ideas about engineering efficiency and MBA profit maximization have diffused in legitimate enterprises, bad actors have been good students and implementers.
  2. One bad actor fled Europe and operated from Dubai. Dubai has, for some including this particular bad actor, has become a destination of choice for some pursued by authorities representing other countries. What makes Dubai a possible safe haven? What additional steps are needed to reduce the appeal of Dubai and certain other countries?
  3. The article mentions “encrypted phones.” In my lectures, I discuss the Teflon effect of secure mobile devices and digital currencies which I describe as Bitcoin or variants.

Net net: More direct action by governments is necessary to [a] speed up investigations and [b] remove barriers to appropriate surveillance by direct and indirect methods. Crime is an emergent feature of online systems and services. To prevent criminal activity from becoming the dominant feature of online, a rethink of systems and methods may provide fruitful.

Just my opinion.

Stephen E Arnold, November 28, 2022


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