Thematic session 3: The criminal misuse of information and communications technologies for illicit drug-related activities is increasing; (21 October 2021)
Chair: Welcome back.I now would turn to the participants of our today’s discussion, and I welcome warmly all those who join us today
Chloe Carpenter, UNODC Research Section: Good Morning. I’ve been asked to introduce these figures and trends regarding the information and communication technologies for drug related activities is increasing. This covers a very broad spectrum of areas and activities, but one that has been perhaps coming up quite is related to the increasing use of the dark web. So, the dark web, you see here is what is circled in orange, and is located in the heart of the internet, that is restricted and thus we do not have open access to it. The main advantage for vendors, and for buyers, is really the anonymity that darkweb protocols guarantee, but also the fact that sellers and buyers don’t need to meet and they can be in different parts of the world. Sellers can be more easily achieve a critical mass of buyers and buyers don’t have to go to dangerous places to get their product. Now, when we look at the data on drug users, we see that there has been an increase over time in every global region also an increase in the volume of drug sales has been witnessed over the last decade. These markets have increased fourfold from $80 million to $350 million. This even with a large turnover, either as a result of law enforcement action, because then they are shut down, or because of exit scams where vendors they remove the funds that accumulated in the customers accounts, and they vanish with the funds so basically they steal the funds of the of their customers, and then exit the markets. And here I just wanted to give you an idea of the volume of sales, the largest last year went from a minimum of 100 million to $500 million. There are even darknet markets that are specialised in selling cannabis. Cannabis is a market which boomed during the pandemic. And after cannabis we see mostly stimulants here, we are mostly talking about synthetic stimulants amphetamines and cathinones. And in the last two years there’s been a lot of fluctuation as before and this is not new. So it’s difficult to compare with the trends in terms of the drugs that have been sold on the dark web, but there is a clear trends trend for synthetic stimulants. Another worrying trend is a geographical diffusion of the markets. Initially, these markets were shipping drugs from North America, and from a few countries in Western and Central Europe, but these markets have spread globally. And now we see clearly that they are active also in Central and South America. They have expanded to other countries in Europe, especially to South and East Asia and Oceania. And one last point I want to make today is that the expansion of online drug markets is not only confined to the dark web. We see that the use of social media and popular ecommerce platforms may have widened the accessibility to drug markets. We have mentioned cannabis, and other control drugs, dominating sales on the dark web, but the marketing on the clear web often involves new psychoactive substances used also in the manufacture of synthetic drugs, including precursor chemicals, and many of these substances are not controlled. In the last few years, with the disappearance of the substances that came into control, what we see on the web is that vendors are very quick to adapt to changes in the legislation, they change their selling techniques to avoid interdiction, and for example, they play a sort of cat and mouse game with law enforcement by marketing their products as research chemicals so and some of which are controlled drugs. And they also use another practice which is custom synthesis is something, whereby clients can request the substances that are not included in the list of available products to be manufactured for them. Basically, this is a practice that exists in the in the pharmaceutical industry, so they mimic this practice, and is legitimate in the pharmaceutical industry. There is a rising challenge that is perhaps more insidious with substances that feeds into drug markets, that includes social media networks, which may be used as a forum by drug vendors to advertise the products – they will test products and have repeat buyers. Some transactions take place outside this platform on specific password protected website, which these vendors have set up. So, this is one of the interesting challenges that we faced nowadays. Thank you.
Neil Walsh, Chief of Cybercrime and Money Laundering Section, UNODC: I guess it’s worth putting in context, this isn’t just about the darknet. It is a tiny part of what we’re looking at still, and sometimes it’s tempting to look at the newer technology or the more difficult to investigate technology, but our sense of things is still drugs online will be primarily on the open internet as well. All of this comes back to how we investigate it – how do we gather that digital evidence, and then seek to prosecute, none of which is easy, and it’s getting harder, but in the challenges that we’re all going to face with encryption with online infiltrations with gathering that evidence and presenting it to judges and prosecutors, who are perhaps less familiar with it, it’s going to get harder. But the fact that you’re here today and we are talking about capacity building is important. This is not a developing world, developed world problem, this is everywhere. So, the fact that you’re here, you’re asking questions about you’re engaged in matters.
Canada: In the last two days we have opened the with presentations from research branch presenting that online sales of drugs is indeed increasing. On the one hand, there was some data presented on apparently increase in web traffic on the dark web, which would seem to make sense to me but I’m not an expert. So how reliable and complete is the data that supports this? Mr. Walsh has pointed out, the dark web is only a fraction of the online drug sales, what sort of data and how reliable is that we have about the increase in drug sales on the open Internet?
Chloe Carpenter, UNODC Research Section: We need to develop a specific tool to capture different moments in time of the markets that are in operation at the active. So this is how it is being done now. What we have presented is the largest markets that we were able to detect in 10 year span of time that we studied which was from 2011 to 2020 and we haven’t gotten until 21. So it’s not all the major markets now but what’s happening on the clear where because I also mentioned that at the end of the, of the presentation. And for this, the method was to look at the listings of the products that are available on a number of platforms that are easily accessible for everyone on the clear web during a certain period of time. And this is very difficult to quantify but it seems that this type of practices is happening, at least we can conclude that, and what we have seen that some products come and go. So there is some that were very present in the early 2019 and not anymore present because they were controlling them in time. So, this is more qualitative I would say at this stage. Thank you.
EU: What I found is interesting and I’ve been hearing this a couple of times now is that actually most of the business does not take place in the dark net and dark web, so there is a move from the dark net towards the surface web. So, I would imagine that makes the work of law enforcement easier, yet he was saying that it’s getting harder and harder. So maybe you could explain to the non-expert this seeming contradiction?
Neil Walsh, UNODC: Yes it is contradictory at times, and I guess, when it comes to Paul’s question as well about how reliable the data, it’s not incredibly reliable, if I’m really honest about that. It’s hard to get reliable data in this, we’re not entirely clear of what we’re getting. I think it’s okay to say we’re not sure, because this is really difficult. And it gets harder because the technology moves at a pace that is really difficult for policymakers and law enforcers to keep up with. So, I’m not going to sit here and say that we can give you an assessment of a darknet market and in six months’ time it will be right, it probably won’t be because the challenges with darknet markets is that they open and close, most of them quite rapidly you get some that are sustained for a longer period of time, but we’re still dealing with something that is inherently untrustworthy, we’re dealing with criminals who are significantly telling lies most of the time, So when we have to make assessments and analyses based on something that is fundamentally based on not telling the truth, then it gets a little bit harder. And we’ve seen assesments on firearms on darknet markets a couple of years ago, and they were making assessments based on the origin point of that sale but we’re making that assessment, principally based on what the marketplace says. So it’s the data gathering and the metadata that we have to put around these marketplaces, to try and put some element of reliability on what we know is hard. When it comes to your point over then about the surface web. Does that make it easier? Sometimes, because again it depends on the jurisdiction that that site is based in, and it depends on the technology being used behind it. If I’m using a Virtual Private Network or VPN to hide where my original point of internet connectivity is coming from then there is a fundamental limit of the amount of law enforcement operations that you good people, and your countries can run. So, it may be theoretically easier for you to find stuff online, actually doing something about it becomes harder because of the scale and the number of people involved. I hope this make sense.
Italy: We see an increase of the organised crimes groups, especially mafia type groups. Actually, we have one of the most powerful mafia type organisations in the World. Do you have data and results of these instances specifically related to organised crime?
Chloe Carpenter, UNODC: From the data we have on the onto the dark web, no we don’t. the data is about the markets, basically, and the sales and what they sell and how much and when etc. So we will have details about the buyers. Unless it’s about this transaction.
Neil Walsh, UNODC: No, we don’t have good data, and that’s a problem. I would appeal to all of you to help us get this data and focus more on it. We have the skill set to help gather this data, but we need reliable, consistent investment in this. Europol has a very useful guide, but we need intelligence from investigations, from prosecutions and adjudications
Chair: Is it the lack of capacity or is it the lack of legal framework to provide this data at the national basis, or is it also the lack of international framework concerning this issue?
Neil Walsh, UNODC: Really good question ambassador, the answer is probably yes. You remember, post September 11 every state is talking about known knowns and unknown unknowns. And it’s a really pressing point in this. If you don’t know what to look for, why would you look for it. Maybe you don’t understand, because it’s not part of your job. So it’s how do we get that data, get this into the mindset of those who are prosecuting or investigating to get them to share those golden nuggets. I remember some work done by Interpol way back in 2016. And it was unpublished, but they basically looked at internet based investigations leading to prosecutions. And from those investigations that started on the internet, it led to less than 1% actually being prosecuted. So if we take that as a really sticky finger in the air, combined with how many offences we’re actually getting to in the first place, it feels to me that it’s going to be pretty small. So that brings us to: how do we as a global community getting good accurate nuanced picture of threats that we trust, where we can put some reliability around just in a way that is politically neutral that tells us what’s going on. And if you can get the answer to that, then you should probably take my job.
Switzerland: I would like to come back to the question asked by my colleague from European Union, about the links between the dark and the “normal” online world. As you said in your presentation that one of the advantages of the dark web is basically the anonymity. And you say there is no contract between the buyer and the seller, but in the end, there must be an exchange of money against goods, it has to go offline in the real world, so to speak. So basically, how does that happen?
Chloe Carpenter, UNODC: Yes, in most of the cases, but there are so called blind drops as well where you share a photo and GPS coordinates where the product can be picked up… but they don’t have to meet. This is also one advantages for that you can see for the, for not only the dark web.
Neil Walsh, UNODC: So finding that illicit financial flow and flow of proceeds of crime around this is a really nice investigative start point and, counter intuitively, we need to bring it back to it is about moving a commodity from A to B and not focus so much on technology. If we get some predictive intelligence around it, where a law enforcers can start to start to infiltrate the system and find out when things are delivered in the post, we can start to gather reliable intelligence on that, that that is a location. When there’s your surveillance standpoint, you start gathering human intelligence around that. So we just have to think a little bit differently about how to do it, but it’s still about finding people.
Dominican Republic: It is interesting to hear how the volume on the clear web is still very high for this, and it speaks volumes of the prosecutor pressure that is very low. As you were saying, the chances that these people get caught is very low. And of course we need to make a link here with the digital evidence, and the challenges our countries are facing with this, and I wanted to ask you, if there are any good practices that the Secretary has been following on prosecuting drug trafficking online?
Neil Walsh, UNODC: One of the challenges have been in the six years I’ve been here that I’ve seen, was when you had investigators you had digital forensic analysts, prosecutors and judges – getting them in the room together makes an enormous difference. Especially we will see plenty of jurisdictions where a judge wouldn’t normally sit in the room for training with a prosecutor or with cops. But if you get them in the room together and we start getting into the real depths of how to download an iphone, how to trace a Bitcoin, then they start to understand and they start to ask each other questions and understand the real difficulties they have in their jobs, they start to see the financial pressures of delivering investigations like that. So getting them together so they understand the difficulties and how to triage and focus the priorities of their investigations that really works. That also means that, in terms of good practice, that you really build evidential capability across your country. Take the theme of drugs to one side – commodities get bought and sold online so whether you’re looking weapons, whether you’re looking at people, whether you’re looking at drugs, build that strategic capability and how to run those investigations, how to prosecute them, how to gather, store and achieve that digital evidence, be it from a device, or by sending me a warrant or a subpoena to Facebook. It makes the biggest difference that they’re all speaking the same language about an investigation.
Egypt: I think like most of us, we witnessed during the past two years that the online sales of illicit drugs have raised. One of the most important things that we discussed was about the precursors. It’s very hard to investigate and to monitor. So I think we should also know good practices regarding that.
Neil Walsh, UNODC: There are no easy answers to these – even when things are on the clear web it doesn’t get easier because of the scale of it. We have to look more of a preventive approach and I think that comes to your question: There are things that work sometimes. If you’re running a criminal marketplace in a criminal enterprise to sell, and misuse a precursor, then they are using different methodologies, and hide the name or the chemical that they’re selling. We have certainly seen evidence where criminal groups have renamed chemicals to hide from your visibility. I guess it comes back to how do you normally have your precursors entering the country – simply trying to monitor all of this online I just think it’s really difficult, but you could work on building that intelligence capability and early warning capability from your postal inspectors, your container ports, making them aware of what are the still the routes that are being used. If you’ve had a good policing investigation or prosecutorial investigation, that in itself sometimes can lead you down a path of identifying a threat that you weren’t already aware of. There’s no one size fits all, there’s no one size captures all but the routine debriefing of investigations, even investigations where the prosecution fails for some reason, can still give you some valuable strategic intelligence.
Venezuela: We just wanted to ask about the prevention side, we have heard a colleague from Egypt asking prevention on acquisition of precursors but also we wanted to know about campaigns that work – do they have success in avoiding entering new markets for example for young people? My other question is that we know that sometimes when we find something, it usually means there is many more, what do you think is the proportion of the number of cases that we find to those that actually are happening in the market?
Neil Walsh, UNODC: Anecdotally we certainly see good impact of some of the work that we’ve done with kids, when we speak about the risks, It is about having an open conversation, it’s not about scaring them. Certainly, myself thinking as a teenager, when my parents told me not to do something, that didn’t necessarily work, but there will be better people who can answer. To your second point on the proportion of what you find in operations online versus the number that are actually happening – successful prosecution online versus those that they found online in the first place was less than 1%. And then if we apply that to the number that we don’t know are out there, that feels to me like a probably sensible figure that it’s going to be really quite little.
Brazil: It’s always so good to hear from, from people who actually study and know and have an in-depth insight on the problem. Something that is very clear to is how difficult it is to get reliable data. Regardless we see UNODC have been doing a very great job. So how can we improve this aspect?
Chloe Carpenter, UNODC: So, what I’ve presented is what we have on the topic, and this is relatively little in fact. The answer could be a marriage to develop some methodologies to gather more qualitative data about what’s happening in terms of the market mechanisms online I would say. I think there was a second part of your question, there is a new ARQ and there is a part dedicated to the online sale of drugs, so we could start here, and then we stand ready to have a discussion with each of the member states to discuss how in each of the countries can set up the right mechanism to produce this knowledge that is then collected through the ARQ.
Mexico: As recently as just 11 years ago, it seems that there was little information about the threats posed by the criminal use of new technologies, including information and communication technologies, as shown by the fact that the political declaration of 2009 has zero commitments addressing this challenge. When it is crystal clear is that the international community has to urgently develop appropriate guidance and tools to address and counter, not only the use of new technologies for drug trafficking, but also the new realities on the reality of drugs. At some point, fulfilling the mandate by ECOSOC for advising in all matters related to narcotic drugs, we will have to seriously address the new realities related to drugs, which will refer not only to drug trafficking, but also to the new cyber drugs. The CND has to catch up, not only to the future, but even to the present challenges. Thank you.
Canada: Some very interesting topics come up during our discussion. I think it’s very important, to bring together multidisciplinary teams to work together in a room and invest in investigating techniques or electronic evidences and knowing where to look, reducing the unknown unknowns. Of course, training capacity building can help foster that cooperation and build those skills and Mr Walsh is unfortunately very modest and hasn’t used the platform to expound upon the very good work done by the global programme and cybercrime on this. Canada is very proud to support capacity building through the Global programme and cybercrime, both in Central America, now in its second phase, and in ESEA. In the former case organised crime and child sexual exploitation was the hook to bring those techniques into the capacity building field and then in Southeast Asia it’s more to do with migrant smuggling, but the increase in those skills in that corporation that’s fostered can obviously apply to other forms of crime, including drug trafficking. And for a long time now, many member states have drawn attention to the need for better capacity building in this area. And I think just the discussion today. And earlier in this week demonstrates that there’s ongoing appetite for that exchange of lessons learned and expert opinion, education and hopefully fulfilment of capacity needs, and we look forward to continuing the discussion.
Agus Irianto, Research Data and Information Centre, INCB: I would like to share experience with the increase use of information technologies the concept of cybercrime online and the modus operandi – challenges, conclusion and recommendation. The rising spread of technology, especially the internet exacerbates the issue of illegal distribution of drugs over the Internet. In many from is a major concern in some countries and likely to affect other countries as criminals use the internet to obtain, prescription drugs, countries might also find that their territories are used as an internet. World population is about 7.3 billion and 4.66 billion people around the world use the internet in January 2021with 20 billion social media users. People spend almost seven hours per day using the internet across all devices. In Indonesia we have 260 billion people, and the user of the internet is more than the total number of the population because almost 1/3 of Indonesian people using more than one mobile devices. The problem now is the personal data leak trends from the online marketplace – millions of data leak from Bukalapak, the name of the online marketplace, we have 1.2 million data leak and also in other sectors like the General Election Commission, we have 2.3 million in the Ministry of Education, we have 1.3 million that only Indonesian University. And in the Social Security Administration, we have the problem of website hackings as well… The concept of cybercrime covers many types of activities that essentially can be used to describe violations that are committed and all facilitated through the use of electricity. Having to catch up with new information technologies is a challenge … Human rights cannot be accessed using more rules and marketplace … Criminals are looking for ways to minimise costs and rmaximise profit. Several reports have revealed that criminals have used commercial vehicles and corporate uniform to impersonate key workers recently. Interpol issued an alert warning that food delivery services are used to transport drugs such as cocaine cannabis ketamine and ecstasy. Many are using Facebook and Instagram to discuss drug purchase matters. Getting real time data is a challenge. During COVID-19, we observed an increasing number of dealers using social media. Starting in 2008, Indonesia produced law specially for information and electronic transaction money laundering, we started to produce in 2010 associations to prevent the misuse of e-commerce as a medium for drug transaction. The most obvious legislative deficiency in Indonesia with drug law enforcement has total is the absence of comprehensive legislation related to offence committed in an electronic environment. Some countries have none, and some have adopted measures that have been integrated outwardly into existing legislation, but relatively few have adequately updated theirs. At the present, there are no guidelines concerning which country laws prevail in pursuing … so there are technical challenges to law enforcement is battling drug related crime. For many developing countries, operating 24 hour operations may represent a major burden and might cause the gap between criminal and investigative capacities to widen. We recently started to use the biometric identification system using face recognition, using the iOS application and feature identification. In conclusion, advanced telecommunication technology constitutes the models of today globalised economy and such as cannot be held back so it is key for us to enhance our collaboration regionally and internationally. Thank you very much.
Nigeria: Has this data been made available to the UNODC?
INCB: Yes, it is put in the ARQ already and accessible on the website.
Venezuela: How do you trace drug related crimes in this area?
INCB: Yes. We have the duty of tracing of drug related crime, and also the information and communication technology for related the criminal activities. Usually we have the joint operation with national police´s cybercrime unit, and also the Ministry of Information and Communication, but mainly we do by ourselves. And together we usually do with the police and the Ministry of Information and Communication Unit.
Advisor from the Directorate for priority crime investigation from the South African Police Service: Within the limitations, presented by the COVID-19 restrictions, drug syndicates adopted trafficking ventures, taking advantage of technology to assist them in the transportation of bulk cargo, as well as smaller nodes for redistribution across borders by air, land and sea. They make use of technology to arrange the transportation, monitoring, as well as the distribution. As the modus operandi during COVID-19, it became evident that syndicates increased their control measures by carefully monitoring the movement of their targeted containers and parcels online. Global Positioning Systems, tracking devices, encrypted communication devices, online sales and business through entities such as social media platforms, and the dark web are now part of the daily activities by drug trafficking and distribution networks. The increased sophistic sophistication of the technology utilised has assumed unprecedented proportions, which combined with the inter-connectedness of economies result in the rapid growth in the global supply chain. My delegation is pleased to share that in a bid to address this type of sophisticated crime, South Africa participated in a global collaborative and organised crime takedown operations, covering more than 16 countries at the beginning of June of this year. This operation reaped great rewards, resulting in the seizure of 805 kilograms of cocaine with the approximate value of 22 million US dollars, and six arrests thus far. In conclusion, technological advancement in the illicit drug trade requires nations to collaborate with one another, to integrate their technological capabilities to more effectively address this phenomenon. The government of South Africa believes in the principle of a common and share responsibility in tackling drug trafficking at regional, intercontinental, as well as international levels.
Dmitry Sapegin, Section on Countering drug-related threats in the field of IT-technologies, Main Directorate for Drug Control, Russia: The distinctive feature of illegal drug trafficking in the Russian Federation is based on the use of large trading platforms on the dark net and uncontrolled messenger applications as well as electronic payment systems. At the same time, the internet is used not only as a platform for the distribution of drugs, the advertising and propaganda, but also as a convenient tool for recruiting to participants in the network marketing. Organizations are structured in such a way that people involved in their activities never meet, and do not know each other personally in the event that one of the members of such a criminal organisation is identified or being detained by law enforcement agencies, the information received from him is often not sufficient. Today the technical barriers to entry into the drug business are minimal, and the share of segments of the network is accessible to anyone with a basic understanding of online technology in the territory of our state. The sale of drugs is mainly carried out through internet sites located in the shadow segments of the internet; transactions are made exclusively with the use of virtual assets. The list of services provided work through Hydra, Narnia, etc… the direct sale from drugs to the sale of documents, counterfeit money and bank cards.
Different forums about significant amounts of remuneration for participation in criminal activities, groups recruit highly qualified individuals … hosted by Cloudflare hosting company registered in the United States … Thank you again for this opportunity.
Chair: Maybe both of you can highlight one of the best practices which you observed, which could be useful to fight against the illicit drug related activities through the misuse of technologies?
Dmitry Sapegin, Russia: I have to look into it.
Chair: We will come back to you later.
South African Police Service: We rely mainly on international cooperation and those countries that currently have capabilities. It is a work in progress.
Catherine Wagner, Narcotic and Dangerous Drugs Section from the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, United States: I wanted to focus on some of the more operational and best practices targeting drug traffickers and I think that a lot of the best practices that we’ve seen for targeting darknet practices is in many ways equally applicable to clear net drug distribution as there’s often some overlap between the vendors who are operating on the clear web and on the dark net. I first want to talk a little bit about why I think the trend towards an increased use of the dark web for drug trafficking is occurring, but also some of the reasons why it’s not yet replacing the traditional methods of drug trafficking, especially in the United States where the volume is considerable.The dark web is global in reach and oftentimes have organisation that are actually located in multiple countries or multiple continents. And so it’s really very difficult for a single country to adequately target and dismantle drug trafficking operations working on the darknet. When we’re talking about the trends of darknet marketing, we separate vendors that appear on multiple marketplaces, who are a little bit less vulnerable to some of the exit scams and the closing of marketplaces, are building a brand, etc. So I’m going to be focusing on the vendors. So, to understand why they’re attracted to the dark net for drug trafficking. Of course, as we’ve heard many times this morning, there’s the real and the perceived anonymity of operating on the dark net, there’s the use of virtual public networks or spoof servers and things like that. But there’s also just using an alternative names or monikers in order to interact and meet other like minded individuals who might be interested in becoming buddies. Regarding distribution nodes, the supply chain can be distributed across many countries and customers can be all over the world. And because of the anonymity of the dark web, these people may not actually know the true identities of the people they’re conspiring with, so for the perspective investigator and a prosecutor, that makes things very challenging. The dark net and drug trafficking is just another method to move commodity drugs from place A to place B. And so there’s all of our abilities there at that physical transport point. But by using a dark net, and the Postal Service, the drug traffickers can minimise the costs and risks of transportation by essentially shifting that to the Postal Service or shifting that to resellers downstream. And then of course the biggest perks of the darknet marketplace is the instantaneous movement of funds. In traditional drug trafficking, there’s a time delay between the distribution of the narcotics, the recuperation of the profits, and on a dark net marketplace, reward can be almost instantaneous which is obviously very tempting, but there are disadvantages. And these disadvantages also provide us with clues on how to successfully target these organisations. Darknet operators are also vulnerable to the exit scams or shutting the markets and to seizures of markets and also cryptocurrency exchanges by law enforcement so you have this limitations, eg. you’re not going to be able to sell a ton of cocaine, via the dark web very easily because you have to still have to have it physically transported. And so there’s still going to be a limitation in terms of the volume and the quantity. So the first tool that I think is, has been very successful in targeting dark vendors for money laundering and financial investigations: following shipment and transportation of drugs themselves, and the second is the money. I believe it was Mr. Walsh again who said that you have all this cryptocurrency at some point you’re gonna want to transfer that into flat currency to actually be able to purchase assets and pay suppliers and things like that. And so those two are the key points where we can exploit some of our traditional money laundering and financial investigation tools, and this includes using financial transactions to work backwards towards the drug vendors themselves, but also targeting some current cryptocurrency exchanges or other kind of cryptocurrency institutions that are assisting drug traffickers on the dark web to launder their funds. I think it is increasingly important to target dark net drug vendors in international cooperation. When we begin to target or investigate a particular drug vendor who has either a large volume of drug sales, or is particularly targeting the United States, we don’t know where we’re going to actually find the individuals who are operating that dark net vendor profile or shipping the narcotics. And so, we often end up in multiple countries. And because the evidence that we’re collecting in relationship to dark that vendors is electronic in nature and cryptocurrency can be transferred in seconds, the importance of international cooperation and rapid international cooperation is becoming increasingly important. I think it is worth mentioning again today, that at the end of the day, these drug traffickers are selling drugs for profit – they’re doing this for money and so if we can disincentivize them by seizing their assets and being able to successfully earn money, then that’s going to be a great deterrent for using cryptocurrency in the dark net. I just want to emphasize the importance of international cooperation in coordinating a collection of evidence, coordinating arrests and coordinating searches and seizures, to be able to exploit the evidence is available in multiple countries
EU: Practical cases where you successfully exploited some of the vulnerabilities you were referring to, I think that would be interesting to hear. Thank you very much.
Catherine Wagner, USA: Sure. I don’t have any specific recommendations in terms or examples that I can cite to with respect to the international drug trafficking, I don’t want to get into sort of methods and means for law enforcement sensitivity purposes, but I want to point out that there was a recent conviction in the district corporate District of Columbia of an individual who was running the helix fixer. And this was advertised to traffickers and other criminal services and was helping to add an additional layer of anonymity and breaking the Bitcoin blockchain between the vendors were pulling their money out of the darknet marketplaces, and then moving them on to try and get them onto exchanges into currency. Larry D Harmon was the name of the helix. AlphaBay that have really disrupted the moral of the biggest marketplaces in the time when it was taken down. And so I would direct your attention to those domestic cases where you’re targeting specific vendors.
President of International Narcotics Control Board: Excellencies, Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it is an honour to address CND on behalf of the INCB at this intersessional meeting. As we all know, information and communication technologies are highly susceptible to misuse for criminal purposes because they enable transactions to be made expeditiously with a high level regarding scheduled synthetically engineered drugs including various new psychoactive substances and non medical synthetic opioids. In this era of globalisation, with the growing volume and complexity of communications and trade, it has become particularly profitable for drug traffickers to make use of the Internet and these marketplaces tend to attract the attention of governments and the international community. This problem is not an issue of only law and regulatory control, but it affects the Right to Life, Protection of Health and Social Wellbeing. Those profiting from the misuse of technologies that are meant for sustainable development of humankind – the problem is spiralling out of control, and the international community must take urgent action against this phenomenon to prevent and punish those perpetrating this misuse. When INCB´s global projects started engaging with governments and marketplaces on this matter, we saw that some of the world’s leading marketplaces had detected the misuse of their services, and were quick to remove such problematic posts and users. However, many of the legitimate marketplaces have yet to devise mechanisms to detect such misuse. Rapid sharing of information and effective coordination among national authorities and industry partners is required. This cooperation between national authorities and the private sector aims to assists in bridging the information gap to prevent the exploitation of legitimate businesses for trafficking in dangerous substances through the … substances programme – project ION. We have many focal points from 194 countries, and 252 regulators, regional technical advisors posted in Egypt, Thailand, Nigeria, and Mexico, to assist in information sharing on this subject. In the area of collaborative actions with regulatory and enforcement authorities of countries in eastern South Asia, and the rapid dissemination of relevant information has resulted in a significant reduction in suspicious activities. This also led to seizures of precursors of heroin and the arrest of perpetrators. The INCB list of fentanyl related substances was compiled in early 2018 and is made available to member states. We have also been committed to building capacity and providing guidance and intelligence sharing and operational cooperation among Member States focal points. Governments can obtain access to this tool by signing up to the programme. Earlier this year the board’s precursors control project implemented the time bound intelligence gathering information, focused on precursor diversion for trafficking attempts to ecommerce marketplaces, the operation enables national authorities to collect information on suspicious vendors offering services on several of the world’s major e-commerce marketplaces. In 2018 INCB signed a partnership agreement with the Universal Postal Union to prevent the misuse of postal services for trafficking in opioids and other dangerous substances. We had some of the world’s major companies on board for possible collaboration to prevent the misuse of their services. This work aims to progress sustainable goal 17, which was enhanced by missions that brings the Women’s International Organisation, private sector, frontline workers together and sustainably serve the social and economic needs of their communities, while at the same time, preventing these harmful substances from reaching the public. INCB looks forward to further strengthening cooperation between partners in preventing the misuse of internet related services for endangered substances in order to prevent these substances from reaching our communities, and ultimately contribute to the achievement of the health objectives of the international drug control system, and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Chair: What would you see as the necessity and the main challenge to enhance the cooperation with private partners?
President of INCB: Public Private Partnership has to be driven by the national governments to cooperate with the various private sector partners. The whole idea is that they communicate with each other and look at the issues which are arising out of these internet related ecommerce issues. And I think it is working pretty well. Governments are aware of the problems related to this and the necessity for private plant partnerships in solving this problem.
Leif Villadsen, United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI): I’m the senior programme officer and Deputy Director of the of UNICRI. Our unit is working in cooperation in the field of crime prevention, justice, and counterterrorism, based on our findings of national human resources as we call it. This also includes our work on the topic that we’re discussing today. The pandemic has clearly demonstrating the benefits of information and communication technologies is often acknowledged and today, but we must also be aware of the growing potential in reality of the misuse of these technologies. I´d like to take a moment of your time to update on some of the relevant work that is being carried out by UNICRI uniquely in this regard. We are mandated to work and focus on new and emerging crime issues and challenges so we are of course focusing on identifying and analysing emerging future security risks due to technology issues and to understand their impact, opportunities, but also the challenges First of all in terms of the challenges we are facing today, for example, uniquely, has been exploring how child sexual exploitation has developed along information and communication technologies and how entire new forms of abuse emerge. We have also analysed how terrorists and organised criminal groups have exploited these technologies to sow seeds during the COVID 19 pandemic. We have also observed that the gross increase of counterfeit medicine on both the surface and the dark web. Following the latest trends on the dark web remains extremely difficult and often it is a bit of a mystery to many of the investigators. So, UNICRI is also looking further down the line at the new and emerging technologies and the challenges of tomorrow. In that regard, with the support of the of the Netherlands, we have these so called specialised artificial intelligence and robotics centre based in The Hague, focusing on analysing of these technologies. The role and impact of these technologies spans both the public and private sector. We work on artificial intelligence to support law enforcement to work on some of the challenges, investigating digital electronics supply chains, eg. carrying out keyword searches across forums that promote marketplaces for drugs. This can greatly boost investigators´ efficiency and precision. Artificial intelligence can also help investigators to identify hidden connections between pieces of information – email addresses, phone numbers, IP addresses, etc. These can also be used identify identify individuals involved in drug supply chains or reveal important relationships that can be used to interrupt the networks. Of course AI poses ethical challenges, among others. We will launch a new programme in November aimed at developing practical operational guide for law enforcement agencies to help them develop artificial intelligence capabilities in a human rights compliant manner, and navigate to the many challenges and provide law enforcement agencies, policymakers, and other stakeholders with recommendations. We also analyse the potential misuse of artificial intelligence for terrorist purposes. Our reports conclude that the misuse of artificial is still in its infancy, but there’s already ample evidence of it. In our report, we identify concrete actions to be taken to further enhance our understanding of the threats, and build capacities to prevent them. These include for example enhancing the literacy of policymakers on the artificial intelligence technology, the development of regulation and certification processes to ensure artificial intelligence system as well as the formulation of clear and practical guidelines on how to respond to artificial intelligence enabled attacks. While these reports do not specifically the misuse of artificial intelligence is the sale of drugs, many of the applications described could could conceivably be applied to facilitate networking and trafficking. We will welcome of course this opportunity to contribute to evidence based discussion. Thank you.
Dawn M. Wilkes, Program Manager, Security, Universal Postal Union: I always like to ensure that everyone has the same basic level of understanding regarding our Organization. We are the third oldest intergovernmental organisation, and we were founded in 1874 in Bern, Switzerland, in order to create a multilateral platform to ensure the exchange of mail, and the consolidated reconciliation of payments from international mail exchanges. We have grown exponentially from that time and now have 192 member countries that work together through the various platforms des to ensure communication and consistency in the worldwide postal community. In the spirit of serving the postal community and our membership, the UPU has adopted the strategy of maximising international cooperation and coordination between administrations, we have committed ourselves to ensure collaboration with all relevant external stakeholders. The ongoing pandemic has affected us all as we’ve heard in some of the presentations today. We’re all familiar with the worldwide quarantines, the closing of borders and the grounding of passenger flights. The focus today has been on the process of porting online – that item will always need to have a physical component. Many of these items ordered online will find their way into the post or into the courier network. The worldwide postal network operates as a cohesive and interconnected behemoth with the majority of transport for the more than 320 billion yearly postal items transported by passenger airlines. This network not only supports 5.2 million employees but millions of small and large businesses, airline industry cargo dealers, as well as many others. You can see the dramatic decrease between 2019 and 2020 of the combined international passenger and cargo flights, through statistics tracked. The pandemic also increased ecommerce, this impacted the way items travel in the supply chain. The movement of illicit goods through the postal supply chain is not a new trend. However, the continuing challenges associated with the ongoing pandemic potentially exacerbated and increased this type of movement. Trends toward the movement of these types of illicit goods, the domestic postal supply chain are also believed to have increased due to the pandemic. The continued challenges with small packets and their increasing volume, only exacerbates the challenges to relate these items before delivery, additional challenges occur with changing modalities. Our members are signatories to the convention that specifically addresses prohibited items which covers narcotics and psychotropic substances. The UPU also maintains a compendium, which is called the prohibited protocols list. This list is based on information received from stakeholders and member posts. That is also available publicly on our website so you can review it. The customs declaration system was developed by our technology department, and this system provides the opportunity for users to compare these prohibited items within the prohibited list compendium to that which is declared on the customs declaration at origin, and potentially stop the export for individuals that may be sending these items with limited understanding of the legality. However criminals who are purposely attempting to support these rules do not trigger declarative data that emphasisez the need for communication and collaboration across all sectors – postal customs and law enforcement. As of January 2021, UPU convention manual requires all items containing goods be accompanied by electronic advanced data to include the minimum information shown on the slide in front of you. We call this the seven plus one electric electronic data. Many posts have significantly increased their ability to provide this data, and UPU continues to support this through capacity building and technological advancement and provision through a multitude of funded projects. We have assistant designated postal operators, as well as customs operators to utilize electronic advanced data to collaborate with each other, and building profiles to create a red light – green line system to interdict and examine suspect items. Again there’s much more detailed information on these on your website. UPU continuously collaborates with external stakeholders on a variety of issues regarding new psychoactive substances we work with both INCB, and UNODC. We have provided capacity building since 2018 through a memorandum of understanding with INCB, where we have trained over hundreds of individuals to deliver a vast amount of information on NPS mitigation and interdiction together. We have also expanded the communications between postal security operators and regional security groups by utilising the grids platform. To learn more about the units’ activities, I do encourage you to check out our website and social media accounts.
Brazil: I would like to ask if possible for you to expand your comments on nonscheduled substances, how does the Postal Service’s deal with that? You mentioned that you have talked to INCB. If a substance is not scheduled, how could the Postal Service be responsible for controlling or dealing with that.
Switzerland. You were talking about the manual and prohibitions Compendium. What tools do you have for enforcement of the manual, and the companion?
UPU: You’re correct, it is extremely challenging. If substances are not scheduled, there’s not really much that can be done. The primary focus is on those which are illegal, the new psychoactive substances which are actually scheduled and which are prohibited. That’s where our main capabilities rest. As you mentioned, we work consistently through collaboration agreements with the INCB very effectively with providing training, not only to social security officers but also customs officers, as well as other law enforcement representatives through our specific projects that we’ve been working on together. Our Compendium includes the information that we receive from INCB and we update it on a regular basis. It also includes all the prohibitions that are received from our designated postal operators or member countries. We also encourage our member countries to update that on a regular basis. Switzerland was questioning how we are able to enforce the convention. We’re not an enforcement agency, we try to focus on understanding, and we try to focus on education, and we try to focus on bridging the gap between our external stakeholders and our designated postal offering. So we create that understanding with each other, and we help create that environment where they can all work together. We’re continuing to try to find ways where we can communicate data, which is needed to be able to recognize what is actually in the mail stream where it’s coming from where it’s going to, because that data is limited, as we’ve heard today.
INCB: As I mentioned in my speech we have prepared a list of fentanyl related substances with no legitimate known uses in 2018. As far as precursors are concerned, we have scheduled substances, but we also have a special surveillance list. So, law enforcement and customs and other parties do work together to try to identify parcels.
Thailand: To support the earlier point from UPU´s presentation, we would like to share a fairly successful case by the Royal Thai Police launched in June last year to tackle online drug smuggling by parcel post deliveries. So we had a meeting where more than 100 representatives from state agencies and private sectors, that provide logistics and courier services, were invited to attend the meeting presided over by the police. Career Service Providers vowed to give full support to law enforcement officers and authorities, for example by recording national identity cards and telephone numbers of both the senders and receivers for investigative purposes and installing CCTV cameras to identify the persons, and to use footage as evidence. And as a result of the aforementioned the cooperation and information sharing, police and counterparts could make more arrests of drug dealers, and drug smugglers and seizures of illicit drugs. Some case samples included the shipment of a 314 kilograms … seized on 12 July 2021 destined for delivery in Australia, and another shipment of 30 kilograms ketamine season being caught on 15 July 2021 destined for delivery in Taiwan. So, I’m thinking that all these cooperations could really help with the future war on drugs. Thank you.
European Union and its member states the following countries align themselves with a statement: North Macedonia, -serbia, Montenegro Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Norway, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova. EU and its member states emphasize the fact that drug policies based on an integrated balanced, evidence based and multidisciplinary approach prove to be the most effective for addressing the world drug situation. This approach is reaffirmed in the new EU drug strategy and action plan 2021 to 2025. Globally, the drugs market is complex, highly adaptable. The use of the Internet and the effect of information technology on all sections of society, have led to new opportunities for organised crime and a number of essential areas, including logistics criminal cooperation, and financial flows. The use of encryption, makes it easier for organised crime groups to engage in illicit behaviour. This is a trend that is associated with cross border nature of internet activities. Suppliers has capitalised on a pool of potential buyers, and the technologically opportunities are evident, especially in the area of darknet markets in which sellers and buyers can transact online with a high level of anonymity. Online drug trafficking has continued to grow over recent years and has the potential to expand further. However, supply of drugs via online platforms remains limited compared to traditional offline supply. In addition to darknet marketplaces and single vendor, shops online orders are often placed via social media platforms or messaging services. The physical distribution of drugs, relies on post composite services, as we’ve just heard, direct contact. The pandemic will have a profound impact on future drug purchasing behaviour, that will require appropriate follow up, systematic monitoring and research into drug related activity. Number of research groups across the EU and beyond, collected analysed data from these platforms – darknet market analysis and findings reported that the COVID-19 dynamic has highlighted an opportunity for more joint research in this area by EU agencies, national authorities, and academia. Clearly, these activities must be framed with sound safeguards, ensuring the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms, particularly in relation to the right to privacy and data protection. We will also continue to use the existing international framework and all the required tools to counter criminal misuse of information and communications technologies for illicit drug related activities. Our main strategic priorities in the EU drugs strategy and action plan is to tackle the exploitation, the physical and digital channels for medium and small volume illicit drug distribution, and increased seizures of controlled substances smuggled through these channels in close cooperation with the private sector. In this respect, the EU is supporting and UN common position. The EU also strongly support efforts to promote coordination between relevant UN entities and regional and international organisations. To conclude, I would like to emphasise that the EU and its member states will continue to contribute to our collective efforts at national and regional and international levels to accelerate the implementation of our joint commitments to address the world’s drug situation, thus embracing an effective and sustainable drug policy towards 2030. Thank you very much.
Egypt: There is no doubt about the increasing links between drug trafficking, and other forms of crime, international crime and modern communication technology systems as well as their use to carry out money laundering operations. The government is aware of this challenge and international security cooperation … Egyptian authorities seized 44 tones hashis, 1204 heroin, 255 kilogrammes opium and 13 million … tablets 14 million of … tablets, 1000 kilogramme of synthetic cannabinoids … This whole provisions of national rules is also related to preventing crime. In accordance with the provisions of Egyptian consitution, and in line with international agreements signed in this regard, particularly UN Convention Against illicit Drugs 1988, as well as the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime … ((technical issues))
Jamaica: Darknet remains a major threat to national security and public health of society, while COVID-19 fundamentally increased the use e- commerce, online shopping and criminals found ways to misuse the cyberspace. We have noted that the proliferation of malicious actors within our jurisdiction has been growing, both in terms of frequency, as well as sophistication. Jamaica, therefore, has several regulatory policy and legislative frameworks, all of which are utilized to combat cybercrimes and a cybersecurity strategy with a view to address the governments of organised crime. We agree with other countries and have continued to stress this point… international cooperation, capacity building, information sharing.So I have a question regarding trafficking on the internet, specifically the dark web – it has been increasing during the COVID-19 pandemic, but what are the new emerging challenges that are being faced, and how can countries effectively address it, what tools are at our disposal? I wondered if there are any specific initiatives with within the Caribbean region by UNICRI? Also, elaborate more in depth on the misuse of artificial intelligence, as well as also its benefits in addressing the world drug problem. Thank you.
Chair: I’m afraid to be the expert of UNICRI had to leave but the question will be passed on by the secretary, and he will contact you.
Europol, European Cybercrime Centre: We are obviously the EU agency for law enforcement cooperation. So our mission is to contribute to make EU states safer, supporting EU law enforcement in the fight against terrorism, cybercrime, and other forms of serious organised crime, usually involving two or more member states. We also act as the EU criminal information hub to connect the EU member states with our operational partners like Australia, Canada and the US. We also provide the top-level expertise to law enforcement partners. I would really like to echo the words of the previous speakers, stressing that strong international cooperation is of utmost importance in our approach to combating illicit drug trafficking, and therefore, it goes without saying that the strong partnership between units is fundamental in this joint efforts. We also cooperate regularly in a structured manner with different other partners, specifically we have a well-established cooperation with the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. And by the way we published during the pandemic a joint report, looking at the impact of the pandemic on the EU drug markets that can be downloaded from our website. Also the cooperation of the MENA region and the Western Balkans remain a top priority for us. We host a network of 14 liaison officers, not just from the 27 member states but from over 50 partner countries non EU countries.The European Cybercrime Centre was the first centre to be established at Europol, but we also have an organised crime centre which includes a migrant smuggling centre. We have aan counterterrorism centre, and we have a financial economic crime centre. We host a very unique operational platform, a task force with 17 partners with 10 EU member states and seven non-EU partners including Australia, Canada, Colombia, Norway, Switzerland, the UK and US. This is a very effective regional network and it’s fair to say that most of our operations, especially our south have been supported by this finance platform. Now I’d like to share with you the relevant threats and trends that we see from our perspective, and they’ll confirm what we’ve already heard from the previous speakers. And first of all I think it’s fair to say that virtually all types of organised crime have a digital dimension, which is supported by what we call the service model which offers a wide range of member services and tools online, which then means that that privacy service model lowers the entry barrier for criminals to commit crime online, because they don’t necessarily have to have expertise to do so. And again, as was mentioned by the previous speakers, you know, we see a number of cross training facility factors, such as the criminal use of cryptocurrencies, or the criminal use of encrypted communication services. Cryptocurrencies remain an important means of payment for criminal services and products and their use is predominantly linked to extortion, money laundering purposes to trade illicit goods, including drugs obviously. We certainly observed that its has grown over the past years in terms of volumes of sophistication – meaning it is not only coins, but other more privacy enhancing cryptocurrencies that poses huge investigative challenges. What we see is that the traditional offline supply of drug remains the most widely used means of distribution – shipping containers. The other component of the drug trade is typically linked to the retail level and mostly small individual shipments, dead drops. We have seen is a number of successful national law force enforcement actions against Dark Web marketplaces particularly on the Tor network. We’ve seen a shift by criminals to distribute encrypted communication platforms for illicit online trade that, again, further complicates our law enforcement investigations. And finally, we’ve seen that the COVID-19 has sort of accelerated the online trade of illicit drugs. We produce a number of strategic reports and thematic assessments, etc. About a year ago we published a joint assessment with UNICRI on the criminal uses and abuses of artificial intelligence, together with 300 industry partners – all these, you can download from our website, if it’s of interest to you. In January this year, following a two year long investigation into an organised group producing smuggling and marketing large volume of drugs from Spain to other EU countries, we arrested 800 criminals uncovered encrypted communication platforms. And finally we’ve supported a number of successful takedowns on the Dark Web marketplaces, such as world’s largest marketplace in the dark met with almost 500,000 users in the framework of an international cooperation in both Germany, Austria, Denmark, Moldova Ukraine UK and US. Thank you very much for your attention.
Chair: Thank you. I adjurn the meeting until 3pm.
European Monitoring Centre for Drugs (EMCDDA): EMCDDA is the reference point on drugs and addiction in Europe. I would just like to echo the words of the European Commission and the representative from Europol saying in recent years, European countries have been increasingly affected by the highly adaptive organised criminal groups posing one of the most pressing security challenges. In this regar,d the misuse of encrypted communication technologies is a key factor of their criminal activities. It was also highlighted by distinguished speakers this morning, the quantification in these areas of challenges. And those remain. It does appear, however, that the misuse of technology and technology in itself remains the key enabling force of drug markets, and there is a very strong policy dimension, as is reflected in the current growth strategy 2021 – 2025, where one of the strategic priority areas relates indeed to tackling the issue of drug markets. This includes on the one hand, the misuse of encrypted communication technologies for illicit drug related activities. And on the other hand, the online drug supply. The majority of messages related to criminal activities are almost exclusively illicit drug related, that’s a key point to be made – encrypted communication technologies also facilitate drug related violence and intimidation based on our evidence, emerging after the interception and decoding of those messages – gangs were using technology to plot attacks on rival groups, and ways of enforcing drugs across Europe. With regard to the Darknet and drug related activity that goes on there, in 2019, and early 2020, our analysis indicated that sales were of around 900,000 up to a million Euros per day for drugs, which were to be shipped from EU countries. Those are primarily concerning cannabis and stimulants, shipping from Netherlands and Germany. This is very much in line with the findings and outcomes of previous analysis that we have carried out in previous monitoring jointly with Europol. Since then, However, numerous … attacks seem to have impacted business on markets, and these have also complicated data gathering. Nonetheless, some insights can be obtained, and we continue to monitor those markets, zooming into some of the larger markets: in the first three months of last year, we observed an increase in the number of proxies for transactions of over 25%. However, during the same period of time, we saw revenues on Amazon down by about 10%. Indicating that existing cannabis buyers were buying more frequently or more buyers were emerging. On the wholesale level, cannabis sellers in the physical space were reducing their activity and prices were decreasing as well. So the picture gets more complex. Next year, EMCDDA will produce more reports and we will release our joint analysis including dealing with the darknet. Thank you very much for your presentation.
Speaker: On the 11th of November we will publish this year’s internet … report that is includes a whole series of dedicated reports that we published also jointly with the partners on the impact of the pandemic, specifically in the area cybercrime. What we’ve seen is some areas that required physical movement by criminals, for obvious reasons, went down. And we did see a slight increase area of fraud, increase in the illicit trade on darknet markets – I think it was a clear indication of how agile and adaptive groups are almost immediately – fake vaccines were almost immediate. In the era of ransomware will continue to be one of the key threats, also during the pandemic attacks against the healthcare sector obviously caused huge problems, and that still continues. At the same time we had some ransomware groups that would have their PR person announce that they would abstain from attacking hospitals during the pandemic. And, you know this is kind of bizarre, I think because it goes to show you the level of impunity on their part. We see multi layered attacks using the general data protection regulation for instance. For the publication of data, we now see DDoS attacks coming up again. We’ve seen quite an increase in mobile malware which probably also reflects changes in user behaviour, the fact that we all use mobile phones to for instance online banking … and unfortunately, child sexual abuse – so we also look at dedicated to dealing with the fight against child sexual abuse online
Neil Walsh, Cybercrime and Anti-Money Laundering Section: You said that you saw new psychoactive substances, more often on the clear web – cannabis, heroin and coke. Can you speak a little bit more about that, do you have any reasoning why that may be? How robust is the data just to help us understand?
Speaker: Unfortunately, we won’t be able to provide any justification but I think one of the things that comes to mind is that you know certain new substances may not be illegal at the time when they’re being offered online
Abel Basutu, Senior Drug Control Programme Officer, African Union: It is my pleasure to represent an inter-governmental organization by African countries, that coordinates population, policies and programmes to build capacity in member states. Anecdotal evidence reports to the African Union, organised crime, including drugs trafficking, human trafficking, sex trafficking and online child sexual exploitation are increasing … increased anonymity of communications through encryption. Therefore, we can see that there is an emerging need to safeguard electronic information exchange, taking measures that include adequate provisions to respond timely to illegal sale of internationally controlled substances. Our legislations regulate operations, internet pharmacies are monitored and controlled. A specialised institution of the African Union for police cooperation against transnational organised crime was estabilished. Our members have obligations to establish policy and regulatory measures to promote cyber security. Unfortunately, member states are slow to identify this convention, we reiterate the need to take the measures to address crime prevention and criminal justice reform, with emphasis on international cooperation and combating organised crime online. In addition to establishing effective border control measures, we also member states to implement a the nine pillars of … control into crime prevention to counter the worsening situation. Thank you.
USA: I don’t have a question for the presenter, but I wanted to make a brief statement on behalf the United States first to thank you for organising today’s session … The COVID 19 pandemic has deeply affected how criminal organisations have increasingly used online platforms to market and sell drugs online, shipped them directly to consumers through Express consignment shippers and in the international mail system. Criminal organisations utilise anonymizing tools, such as the Dark Web, cryptocurrencies, encrypted peer to peer messaging apps to evade law enforcement and detection while distributing narcotics. In recent years, these criminal organisations have increased the use of these electronic communications to market and distribute counterfeit pharmaceuticals, As we just heard, many of which, by the way actually contains synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl and carfentanyl precursor chemicals. Criminal organisations also employ a diverse and sophisticated set of money laundering techniques and services, often involving cryptocurrency to clandestinely transport and transform these proceeds into cash profits and operational funds. Member states can counter this phenomenon by utilising the many and diverse tools developed by the INCB and the UNODC. The UNODC has recently released a module on cybercrime and toolkit on synthetic drugs. The module includes tools on how to disrupt online trafficking of synthetic drugs and how to identify, intercept and seize cryptocurrencies that may be used to facilitate this trafficking. In addition, it offers practical guidance to counter the threats posed by online trafficking of synthetic drugs that member states can immediately put into practice. And additionally, as we heard a bit about from the INCB board president earlier, through a series of expert consultations, the INCB has developed a set of tools, recommendations and best practices to help governments, partner with the private sector to improve information sharing and coordination. In order to deny criminals access to these technologies, the Department of State in the US set up the international computer hacking and intellectual property programme called ICHIP working across the globe to enhance partner capacity and ensure best practices. In conclusion, I would say that as the UN begins negotiations toward a treaty against cybercrime, we value a focused discussion on practical tools while respecting human rights.
Colombia: … These challenge are mainly through creation and evolution of the operations of criminal organisation … to ensure compliance with the health measures and control the effects of the pandemic, the authorities in charge of guaranteeing the security and control of organised crime assumed functions that diverted their capacities … The limitations in mobility and social interaction promote the acceleration of adoption of the strategies based on information technologies, such as cryptocurrencie … our strategy is to strengthen the effect of our enforcement policies.T hroughout the implementation of these measures, however, our institution has a sense that isolating our efforts will be detrimental to the success of our struggle against the growth of transnational organised crime. Accordingly, our commitment should ensure the advancement of the effective exchange of information among countries in order to be able to identify and monitor suspicious modalities, transactions and financial movements that are related to and derived from illicit income. Only in this manner, are we capable to convey a comprehensive approach to the world drug problem. As for the methodology implemented for these objectives, the data collected by our narcotics and law enforcement institutions, demonstrate that strengthening police and financial intelligence, turned out to be more useful as inputs for an optimal approach to these innovative challenge from drug trafficking organisations. Colombia has been applying this strategy through the directive of the Office of the Attorney General and has further strengthened its reach through international cooperation and cross cutting communication amongst several entities. Finally, we sincerely express our gratitude for the comprehensive and fruitful experience we had throughout the discussions here. Thank you.
VNGOC / Kawal Deep Kour, South Asian Drugs and Addictions Research Council: Respected Chair, Regulation traditionally lags innovation and as innovation continues to outperform regulation, the expanse of illicit economies has amplified. Mimicking traditional criminal manipulation, new technological tools have enabled execution with virulence and velocity. ICT’s have opened tremendous possibilities for purpose of criminal cooperation, enabling greater anonymity and shielding from detection. The proliferation of use of anonymisation tools and encryption communication services, multiplication of sales platform on the surface web and dark web, underground payment systems through crypto currencies by malicious actors, drone technology has simplified execution with unprecedented ease, speed, and impact. This has significantly altered the criminal terrain and motivation of the offenders. Guided and driven by new technological tools, the drug market has become more abundant, more sophisticated, and more diverse globally than it has ever been. Movement restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic saw people move online to an unprecedented degree and witnessed a surge in criminal operations, including greater volume and movement of a wide range of illicit drugs. Drug Traffickers have been swift in resorting to ICT and with precision to keep their supply chains open. In a recent drug haul from the city of Kochi in southern India, investigations uncovered the modus operandi of the pedlars, traffickers, and consumers. Orders for small quantities of drugs were placed through coded messages. The administrators would add members only after thorough verification including physical background checks. The theme and discussion in the groups would generally be on varied subjects to mask the real purpose of drug trafficking. Herein lies a real task, as pointed out by Manu P. Zacharia, cyber security expert and member of the Data Security Council of India, that enforcement agencies can scan social media space for such activities based only on a specific input. Detection thus remains a major challenge. Earlier in June of 2021, the Narcotics Control Bureau of India had arrested an individual, Makarand Adivikar, referred as the ‘crypto king,’ in Mumbai for providing bitcoins for the purchase of LSD. The drug was brought from the darknet web using bitcoins. As per a research publication, the crypto markets have facilitated hundreds of thousands of illicit drug exchanges, likely worth more than two billion US dollars. Door to door delivery of a greater volume and wide range of illicit drugs have had serious repercussions- a reported increase in fatal overdoses as that reported from United States, particularly involving the sale of fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills that have caused the death of teens and young adults in at least fifteen states. As per the US Centre for Disease Control data released for the period from March 2020 to March 2021, some 90,000 people had died of drug overdoses in a span of twelve months. The DEA Administrator, Anne Milligan, had voiced her serious concern at the lackadaisical attitude of the social media companies, in this case, Snapchat from where most of the pills were ordered. A report in the NYT mentioned that it was as simple as placing an online order for a pizza. While Snapchat did say that it has strengthened automated tools that proactively scan for potential drug related content, consulting with DEA and third-party experts to stay on top of this deadly game, yet, illicit drug operations have continued to grow bigger and resilient to assaults. There is an obvious challenge here for law enforcement to not only keep pace with new technological developments but to effectively counteract technology-enabled crimes. These warrants developing new investigative tools and strategies and new forms of trans-national policing and jurisprudence. Naturally, the use of technology by law enforcement has considerable resource implications, not just in gaining access to or ownership of the technology in question, but in ensuring that adequate training is available to capitalise on the technology. Combating crime however is not something that law enforcement can or should shoulder alone. A critical factor is to develop working relationships with private industry and academia. Prevention is a key non-investigative measure that must also be considered. Regulatory system strengthening and harmonisation of legal and policy frameworks to meet the new challenges and pursue a shared commitment towards combating crime where these technologies are involved, is crucial. This demands cooperation between different sectors as well as different stakeholders. In such discussions, it is important for law enforcement to have a voice and to provide guidance and recommendations regarding the needs and requirements of law enforcement. Mechanisms for synchronization of international cooperation and coordination towards training and capacity building and mutual legal assistance are vital. The need for a reliable and efficient mechanism for international cooperation in law enforcement matters have never been more urgent. As has been rightly said, ‘The fight against cyber-crime either is a global one or it makes no sense.’
Venezuela: Venezuela is aware of the innovative, creative and diverse methods for selling and distributing substances and as such are becoming more difficult to track. Venezuela faces big challenges and we have obstacles to overcome. Despite our limitations, we have been able to discover suspicious activities through the internet is based, specifically, involving the use of social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, where for example, cannabis offered to be distributed on postal services. For Venezuela, it is important that the digital gap between the current reality, and the goal of the advanced technology society, including the possibility of fighting drug related cybercrime, will be recognized … the removal of the barriers that impede the right to development. In this regard, we also acknowledge that international cooperation and technical assistance are key factors to ensure the effectiveness of its fight against drug trafficking. For countering cyber crime under the … of the United Nations, we reiterate our commitment to work towards this … provide a universal framework that enables all parties to attend to the current situation, to have understanding of the modus operandi, related to acquiring substances through internet. Thank you very much for the interesting discussion.
Romania: My country is committed to this work and would like to take the occasion to mention the efforts of national authorities to produce some relevant documents such as a national anti-corruption strategy 2021 – 2025, a national strategy against organised crime 2021 – 2025 for national strategy on drugs 2020 – 2025. I would also like to present some figures which show the situation in my country … cross border operations are carried out annually by Romanian police, most of them aimed at combating human trafficking but also cybercrime, drug trafficking, combating money laundry … over 2430 kilograms of drugs confiscated … unprecedented level egistered in my country for this category. In conclusion, let me use this opportunity to reassure you about our support for the activity of CND, and UNODC. Thank you. A
Laboratory and Scientific Section, UNODC: There’s no way going around that additional actors are adapting to current realities online and there is a lot that is increased in global connectivity. There are so attractive features when it comes to online trafficking for criminals – minimise physical geographic impediments, reach more stuff, access to global markets, borders are disappearing, pseudo anonymous nature, easy to find online, more difficult to detect, assumed lower detection rates, low costs. It is a complex picture, as has been said many times. Cryptocurrency is the preferred payment method. Advertisements online can be on the Darknet or on the clear net. So, there’s no way of getting around social media or messages services. We all use, it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest. If you want to do some quick research you can just put in fentanyl on Pinterest and you’ll find quite a lot hits. It’s also dating apps, Tinder or Grindr are used for this as well. They’re using emojis and hashtag words, they are using things that might just be recognized only by the people using the drugs, and they’re very creative. And we have a … marketplace that generally requires a little bit more technological expertise, but that much is a part of our life. There’s a lot of new websites popping up where drugs are being sold, it’s kind of like an online pharmacy almost. Messenger services are used mostly for communication between the buyers and the sellers.. So the messages services like Telegram, like WhatsApp like Wickr are quite frequently used. The reason cryptocurrency is the preferred methods is it’s more difficult to detect. It has decentralised structure for the banking structure like we know today, and the large networks of small ATMs, all over the world. And one thing that we have noticed that it’s very important to keep an eye on his privacy coins, which are type of coins they’re less traceable – Of course another obstruction for law enforcement, so we’re doing capacity building on a lot different base. Then we have, we are working on developing an early warning system, meaning that we’re looking into to see if we can figure out the trends on when drugs are appearing on the Darknets. Is there a way for us to detect the drugs coming online before it ends up your toxicology reports. So this is under development and we have threat analysis, it’s fairly new. It’s something that everyone is looking into. And we would urge you to help us developing that, because this is a very important trend that needs to be developed further. And one of the things for instance, is looking at what’s the difference between online trafficking and traditional trafficking. Cybercrime obviously is transnational, but it’s also more than one field, if you’re talking about online trafficking you also talk about different agencies. So interagency cooperation is important, bilateral corporations important, public private partnerships is important. We are happy to work with the UNODC for this very reason.
Laboratory and Scientific Section, UNODC: This underlines, as we’ve already said, the importance of forging strong partnerships and strengthening international cooperation and collaboration between different stakeholders, the UNODC is pleased to facilitate such partnerships and bringing together various partners with their expertise to assist our member states to build capacity for stronger and more effective responses to address the challenges posed by synthetic drugs. So for example, cyber investigation units who are inspecting criminal online activity are working closely together with forensic scientists understand the formula and the structure of synthetic drugs. And so the information gathered in cyber investigations can be verified by forensic scientists and can be sent to law enforcement which combines the information of cyber specialists and forensic scientists, and likewise also information that is obtained from cyber specialists can contribute to early warning systems, which are flagging emerging drug threats. Such systems traditionally rely on data from toxicology reports or drug seizure reports. However, this information is only available after harm has been done or drugs have been seized. Cyber specialists with the collaboration with forensic scientists are now well placed to identify new emerging substances, even before they enter the market, and can send alerts to law enforcement authorities and communities to be better prepared. Exactly this kind of collaboration is connecting different thematic areas, which present comprehensive and more effective responses to the challenges posed by synthetic drugs. And to further support our member states with the implementation, the UN toolkit on synthetic drugs was developed in collaboration with WHO and INCB in 2019. The UN toolkit on synthetic drugs is breaking down silos and brings together various partners and their expertise, all in one place. The toolkit was developed with the generous support of USAID and Canada, and its availability in other languages was supported by the Russian Federation for the Russian version of the toolkit and CICAD collaborated on the Spanish version of the toolkit and we just launched the Chinese version of the toolkit thanks to the support of the Forensic Science Institute in Beijing, China. You’re also planning to launch the French version of the toolkit in the next couple of months, thanks to the support of Canada, and we are also currently looking for support for the Arabic version of the toolkit to make this tool available in all official UN languages. Since it’s launched the toolkit has been accessed by 182 countries, and it is structured into different modules covering a different thematic area related to synthetic drugs, such as for example the forensics module, postal security, illegal responses. So I warmly invite you to take a look. It is tailored to enforcement, criminal justice, policymakers, or health professionals and fitting with today’s discussion. Another great collaborative effort the jointly developed module on cybercrime, to equip member states with practical tools that can be put into action to detect and how to detect and respond to the online trafficking of synthetic drugs. Before I close, I would also like to invite you to our online expert consultation sessions as the expert live session on cybercrime, where you will have the opportunity to consult directly with the substantive experts and you will get real answers to your technical questions. Thank you very much.
Canada appreciates the acknowledgement of our support to the synthetic Toolkit, which is an extremely important tool. And my intervention is more of a comment to highlight this toolkit is in line with best practices of UNODC. As we look to maximise the impact of our voluntary contributions to capacity building through UNODC, this is exactly the sort of cross sectoral cooperation that we wish to support in the future, so congratulations for such an effective job on that. One more comment is that I think we’re seeing with this becoming that there’s a cyber element, almost all the crimes and certainly payments that we deal with being in smuggling and migrants, trafficking, corruption and economic crime. This week in particular we talked about drug trafficking. So in future briefings, we would certainly welcome the presence of members of his team to highlight the cyber element of these crimes to the membership. And obviously, first and foremost the expertise of the global cybercrime programme is sorely needed and we will be warmly welcomed as we begin negotiations of the International cybercrime treaty.
Venezuela: I just have a question regarding availability of these tools, open for everyone who would like to get to these types of systems, and also would it be available in Spanish? Under which conditions can we request this assistance?
UNODC: It is open source and available in Spanish.
Chair: The Secretariat will post the links in the chat.
VNGOC / Dr. Martin Horton Eddison, IDPC: I attend today as part of he IDPC delegation – an NGO in consultative status with ECOSOC – but the work I will present today is that of the Global Drug Policy Observatory We all now live in an increasingly digital global society, with many facets of life routinely facilitated, enabled, experienced, or augmented by digital communication technologies. The ongoing pandemic has further embedded and entrenched the digital into the everyday. The dividing line between the digital and physical world is now indelibly blurred; and this is true right across the contemporary human experience. It is therefore hardly surprising that there is an increase in the use of such technologies to facilitate or enable the illegal trade in scheduled substances. Indeed, both the internet and the trade in drugs are transnational, with little respect for international borders, and their relationship is therefore understandably both symbiotic and complimentary. As such, efforts to achieve an entirely ‘drug free’ digital world are as unlikely to completely succeed as those to prohibit offline forms of supply. Instead, policy and enforcement focus might therefore aim to reduce the rate of adoption and innovation of the use of digital technologies for facilitating the drugs trade. The rate of shift from offline to internet-enabled drug transactions have accelerated along in recent years as a direct consequence of the regulations, policies, and law enforcement practices designed to reduce the trade. In particular, the practice of market takedown. Just as taking down unregulated internet pharmacies on the open internet in the 1990s led to cryptographically-obscured spaces on the so-called darknet since 2011, so too the burgeoning shift from the darknet to encrypted messaging apps is also directly linked to – indeed is likely a response to – the takedown of darknet sites.
Together with esteemed academic and harm reduction practitioner colleagues (all leading drug cryptomarket researchers) we highlighted some of the unforeseen consequences of the ‘takedown’ approach at a side event at CND63 in March 2020. In June of this year, we produced the policy brief Drug Cryptomarkets in the 2020s: Policy, Enforcement, Harm, and Resilience .1 That analysis identified takedown as singularly counter-productive: it increases market proliferation, catalyses wide-spread market innovation, and accelerates ‘target hardening’ across the environment. Perhaps most concerningly, takedown also severely impedes ongoing and effective harm reduction efforts. Moreover, it also increases the law enforcement skills and funding required to police the internet-enabled trade exponentially; with ever-decreasing returns. Despite this, and in the absence of any alternative formal guidance on dealing with the online trade, takedown continues as the default approach. Indeed, the most recent (2021) World Drug Report explicitly recommended – for the first time – that member states ‘… take down online markets and platforms’ Instead, our analysis recommends policy-makers and enforcement practitioners consider a nuanced approach – away from takedown – and toward a strategy that more efficiently focuses limited human and financial resources only on the most injurious of substances and markets. Such an approach may slow the rate of adoption of information and communications technologies for drug-related activities – and at the same time it would free skilled cybercrime specialists to prioritise more pernicious criminal activities online, such as terrorism , and child sexual exploitation, rather than chasing the impossible – and often counter-productive – goal of a drug free internet. Without engaging with academic research to inform more effective policy, the next decade looks likely to be characterised by an increasing adoption of ever more sophisticated – and potentially pernicious – technologies to enable to global illegal trade. Please search the Global Drug Policy Observatory’s cryptomarket project for our policy brief entitled ‘Drug Cryptomarkets in the 2020s: Policy, Enforcement, Harm, and Resilience’ to read more. Thank you.
VNGOC / Dr. Uche Igwe, IDPC: I attended this event as part of the IDPC delegation, an NGO in consultative status with ECOSOC but what I present here today was done at the Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Our research work seeks to place Africa at the heart of understanding public debate on global issues. Digitization ought to be a force of good. The wind of the digital revolution is blowing across Africa with its tectonic, disruptive and transformative tendencies, thereby breaking the boundary of innovation and possibilities. Some analysts insist that digitization will help African economies recover quickly from associated shocks due to the covid 19 pandemic to build back better. The exponential growth of information technology in Africa has come with greater accessibility to the internet. In Nigeria, my home country alone has an estimated 154 million internet users with a teledensity of about 203.5 million subscriber base. This cheering news comes with its downside as some want to use these positive potentials to advance criminal intentions. Although Africa remains the continent with one of the lowest connectivity globally, organized criminal groups continue to take advantage of the internet in the region. One of the consequences of the pandemic is that people had to remain indoors, making the internet the only companion of many. Some decided to misuse the opportunity to perpetrate cybercrime that robbed the world of nearly $1 trillion in 2020 alone. Advances in technology in Africa is giving the drug trade the secrecy it needs to become borderless and more lucrative. The continent remains a transit hub for trafficking a range of narcotics. These individuals’ use of dark web through the Onion Router and Virtual Private Networks enable users to hide their internet protocol (IP) address to bypass censorship, and they wander anonymously in their mission. Regrettably, the illicit trade of drugs remains one of the most successful markets on the dark web. Some drug vendors ply their trade on the ‘clear web’ as well, advertising their products through social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Their resort to payment using cryptocurrency is part of their latest move to ensure that they remain undetected. The revelation from researchers is that Africa will see an additional 14 million people who use drugs IN 2050. It sounds an alarm that a new approach is necessary if we intend to reverse this trend. In this regard, I wish to commend the African Union for including online drug traders and markets under its crime prevention and criminal justice reform activities. To disrupt and stay ahead of online traders, law enforcement agents must boost their cybercrime investigative capabilities to pursue and apprehend these dubious and deadly vendors and suppliers. We must encourage building a new set of skills to allow these security agents to successfully eavesdrop on the dark world. These criminals believe that they are sophisticated, but we need a unique partnership to overcome them. Thank you most sincerely.
Miguel Anjel Vargas, Narcotics Police, Peru: I am an intelligence officer in the Narcotics Section of the Peruvian National Police .. We are producing country of cocaine, annually between 700 to one 1000 pounds. It is a lot. And it is going everywhere in the World – we think that is 60% of the produced cocaine is going to the West by the Pacific Ocean. Peru seized 38 tons of cocaine. Brazil seized a little more than 91, so they are finding more in their transit country. It is more expensive to do more operations there, they did a lot of seizures in their ports. Brazil is not a producer, it is a transit country, it is important to remember. We know there is a lot of production in South America. So, it means planes going from the areas to Bolivia first, and then to Paraguay and to Brazil. We captured devices. The route in the Amazon is different, it is going to Brazil too and from there, they are going overseas to Europe and Africa. Police officers are trying to do more for interchange of information. They arrested the Brazilian pilot, the guy who was the supplier and various actors along the supply chain of various nationalities. So, the federal police come to the idea and they make up an office in Rio de Janeiro. It’s the the National Police Cooperation Centre. So, in this office there are police officers of some countries in South America, changing information all the time – since the last 2018. So, I wanted to show you how we do our job here and I a happy to take any questions.
Brazil: I want to thank the presentation, because it shows how the investment, done by the Federal Police of Brazil, has been a bearing fruit – bringing together police officers from all those countries that sit together, work together, spend a few few together. And besides getting acquainted to each other, they can exchange information and best practices. It’s the need to cooperate, not only in investigations, but also in the prosecution side. So, legal cooperation is essential. And we are also working to make it easier and to make it better. So, thank you for this presentation.
VNGOC / Rev. Martin Diaz, Knowmad Institute: As part of the delegation of the Vienna NGO Committee On Drugs(VNGOC), an organization in consultative status with ECOSOC, today I have the privilege of speaking on behalf of the European Institutefor Multidisciplinary Studies on Human Rights and Science, the Knowmad Institute. After twenty-four months into the global pandemic, the consumption and trafficking of psychoactive substances has increased, COVID-19 has driven technological innovation and adaptability to a global market in which amphetamine-type stimulants and New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) are available everywhere, which could trigger accelerated changes in drug use patterns and have implications for public health (UNODC,2021). The trafficking of illegalized substances through Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) is becoming more common every day. Being the darknet and “cryptomarkets” a remarkable innovation in the illicit market of controlled substances (EMCDDA & Europol, 2017). However, the most popular social media have evolved and avoid the need to enter into the darknet in order to access substances (EMCDDA, 2021). The information that can be analyzed from trade data in darknet marketplaces and social media platforms can lead to the development of useful methods for detecting newly emerging psychoactive substances. That is why, in the quest to consolidate safe spaces on the internet, it is important that law enforcement and government entities do not forget that privacy and anonymity are a fundamental right in our hyper-connected societies. Two facts force us to rethink our world: coexistence with seemingly limitless artificial minds and memories, and our growing interest in modifying and expanding our own limited human minds. At the crossroads of these critical issues are privacy and dignity. Then, it becomes evident the need to rethink current strategies and assume the priority of focusing law enforcement resources on the skills of the incipient specialized cybercrime units, the time and funding to investigate the most pernicious cybercrimes that threaten the population and not the recreational substance markets. Recent studies indicate that people who use drugs (PWUD) and who access to the substances through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) (Aldride et al., 2018) tend to adopt harm reduction practices, and promote “responsible use” in which self-determination and management of pleasures with privacy and increased safety by being mostly in their places of residence (Mason & Bancroft, 2018). Likewise, law enforcement practices must be nuanced without losing focus on real threats, such as the rise of the opioid market and counterfeiting of controlled drugs. Implementation is problematic when the market is not regulated by States, but by Organized Crime; which makes us raise once again the need to respect the self-determination of individuals, to seek a balanced and humanitarian regulation of illegalized substances to educate and reduce harm in our world which is a one young world. So from the Knowmad Institut, we encourage this commission and the Member States to study the feasibility of realizing a convention on cybercrimes with a specific provision towards crimes related to controlled substances, which would represent a useful first step to recognize the negative consequences and learnings from the current approach. Training for law enforcers on the risks associated with general withdrawal approaches to recreational substance markets should take into account health professionals with expertise in harm reduction, civil society actors such as the Rome Consensus 2.0 coalition, and should be accompanied by the invaluable support of the Cybercrime, Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Financing of Terrorism Department. We appeal for a multidimensional approach to cybercrime related to drugs (especially recreational drugs) and respond accordingly with a humanitarian vision that puts people’s dignity and safety first. Finally, we strongly urge you and the governments you represent to take awareness and action to ensure a healthy transition during the adoption and standardization of emerging technologies in the fourth industrial revolution
VNGOC / Dr. Tomori Mareglen, International Police Organization: I salute you all as the Executive President of the International Police Organization IPO. “I am here as part of the delegation of VNGOC, an NGO in consultative status with ECOSOC, but the work I will present today is that of IPO, a multinational professional NGO which, through education and scientific work, aims to create theoretical and practical tools to serve as a bridge between the community and law enforcement by bringing together professional civilian and security structures to contribute together for a safer community, and a safer tomorrow. It’s a great privilege to present my opinion on the issues of “the criminal misuse of information and communications technologies for illicit drug-related activities is increasing“. I decided to dedicate this short speech to the problem of the organised Crime under the ICT “Intelligent Communication Technologies”. The illicit drugs trade is evolving rapidly, with advances in chemistry creating a barrage of new psychoactive substances, while ICT provides the means by which buyers and sellers can communicate and coordinate their transactions with relative anonymity over long geographical distances. The main problem of the digital era under ICT is that it extends traditional drug markets to virtual fields, creating communication channels through different platforms. The ICT in the digital era helps the field work of manufacturers and distributors of illegal drugs operating in physical and virtual fields. Studies on virtual drug markets are rising, but largely because of their methodologies, they tend to ignore the off-world life of criminal actors engaging in them. Exploiting the source of their data and analysis online, criminologists provide an unlimited picture of the impact of emerging technologies in the field. ICT is conceived as a solution to the many problems of modern life that provides new means of social control for the state and influences urban development programs and government strategies, but in reality, emerging technologies are not perfect and have weaknesses that can be manipulated by criminal actors. Moreover, for the criminologists there remains an unlimited picture of the impact of ICT on the digital era, especially in relation to the threats of organized crime, mainly the illegal drug markets and the damages associated with them. ICT practically reconfigures and expands illicit drug markets, while providing knowledge on the functioning of drug markets in the future and this means more activity for organized crime and more work for Cyber Crime Experts.
Representative of the Executive Director of UNODC (Conclusions) So my appeal to all of you both in the room and online: where you can, gather more data and give us a better view as to what’s going on in your countries. That would be enormously helpful. The commission has a vital and unique responsibility within the UN system addressing drug related challenges. This week the commission has once again demonstrated through a wide range of stakeholders that we need to address many different aspects. It’s particularly gratifying to see many of you once again present physically. These thematic discussions provide us with an opportunity to exchange good practices, challenges and lessons learned in line with the commitments to accelerate the implementation of the international drug policy commitments made since 2000, and to ensure that no one affected by the world drug problem is left behind. Dramatic discussions at CND started after the adoption of the 2016 UNGASS outcome document that have since become a key document. Thank you again to all who contributed to this intersessional and to the organizers.
Chair: Thank you very much. I wish you a very nice evening. Enjoy your free time and see you soon in December for the reconvening session. Thank you. The meeting is closed.