'Just Google It!' - Pills, thrills and the Internet

By Gabrielle Picard
0 CommentsPrint E-mail China.org.cn, March 29, 2010
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Want to find a hotel in Outer Mongolia? Just Google it. Want to know how to spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? Just Google it. Want a quick cannabis "fix" or some ecstasy tablets for Saturday night's party? Just Google it.

The world may be watching with intrigue as Google's battle with China takes a new twist, but in the horde of reports dedicated to the saga, one critical component remains predominantly ignored. Although China is being accused of "astrosurfing" and steering public opinion in a specific direction, with drug dealing on the internet reaches "unprecedented levels," is China right to condemn the decision by Google to lift censorship?

The internet may be a potent tool for education, entertainment and making money, but unfortunately it is also open to abuse, being a haven for corrupt con artists out to rip off unsuspecting and innocent "surfers." The selling of drugs is one increasingly abused and illegal trade, as fabricated names and fictitious companies, which are devoid of geographical boundaries, mean that the web is becoming a drug trafficker's paradise, causing authorities to call for a "coordinated global response."

The International Drugs Body announced that the dealing of both illegal and prescription drugs on the internet has reached shockingly high levels, with both traffickers and buyers being able to keep their identity hidden. A report compiled by the International Narcotics Control Board revealed that buying illegal drugs on the internet is currently so rampant that the board have called upon governments worldwide to employ stricter measures against drugs, in particularly cannabis. Professor Hamid Ghodse, president of the narcotic control board, said: "The internet is a major problem. That is why we started three years ago to have contact with Interpol. There are illicit internet pharmacies and they do not have natural boundaries."

Interpol is similarly as concerned about the role the internet is playing in the fight against the illegal drugs trade and that the "sanitized nature of web transactions" could lead to vulnerable "surfers" into believing that what they are purchasing is actually legal.

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