Mongabay: Holding social media companies accountable for facilitating illegal wildlife trade (commentary). “Facebook, and other social media firms, mainly rely on algorithms and artificial intelligence to moderate harmful content. But investigations by the Alliance to Counter Crime Online (ACCO) show time and again how these algorithms actually connect traffickers faster than moderators can remove them. They suggest friends and recommend groups, putting illicit actors in touch with one another, continually expanding networks of users engaging in similar illegal activities.”
Ubergizmo: Drug Mule Busted At Airport After Authorities Go Through His Search History. “Our searches can tell a lot about us and our current state of mind, and it is because of this that a drug mule entering into Australia was caught. 36-year-old Sam Kul was entering Australia after spending four months in Europe, where upon entry into the country, airport customs officers searched through his phone where they found his search history that led them to believe he was hiding something.”
Business Standard: Build digital database to catalogue, prevent smuggling of artifacts: India-born intl museum expert. “As museums across the world grapple with the problem of stolen artifacts, a renowned museum expert of Indian origin has called for establishing digital databases, particularly in countries like India, to maintain required checks and prevent valuable antiquities from being smuggled.”
Economic Times: Prepare a database of stolen antiques, make FIRs public: CIC tells ASI. “The Archaeological Survey of India should start publishing alerts, photographs and FIRs about thefts of antiques from historical sites to make their smuggling difficult, the Central Information Commission has said.” FIR in this case stands for First Information Report; you can get more details here.
BBC News: How WhatsApp has helped heroin become Mozambique’s second biggest export. “As many as 40 tonnes of heroin could be passing through Mozambique every year, making it the country’s second biggest export, in a trade that is boosted by the use of mobile phone apps, writes Mozambique analyst Joseph Hanlon.”
Wired: The high-stakes race to stop the trafficking of priceless artefacts. “In December 2016, David Hidalgo received a photograph of a 17th-century Peruvian painting. The unsigned artwork, of the Virgen de Guadalupe, depicts the Virgin Mary surrounded by apparitions and tells the story of her appearance to Saint Juan Diego near Mexico City in 1531. Hidalgo’s tip-off came via email from a source who had seen the painting on show at the Bowers Museum in California, where it was on loan. Hidalgo’s source suspected that the painting had been stolen.”
The Art Newspaper: Scotland Yard joins global crackdown on looted pharaonic antiquities. “Scotland Yard is working with the British Museum and the governments of Egypt and Sudan to tackle the looting of pharaonic antiquities. The plan is to create a publicly available database of 80,000 objects that have been identified as having passed through the trade or have been in private collections since 1970, the year of the Unesco convention on cultural property. The scheme is being funded with a £1m grant from the British government’s Cultural Protection Fund, administered by the British Council.”