The Connected Black Market: How the Dark Web Has Empowered LatAm Organized Crime

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September 13 2017

The global proliferation of internet access has transformed societies, enabling online and financial inclusion in the developing world. But it has also empowered organized crime in Latin America and the Caribbean, international officials warn.

With 43 percent of the world’s online community, Latin America and the Caribbean — home to some of the world’s most dominant criminal networks — has become even more vital to transnational crime, said Amado Philip de Andrés, the representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Central America and the Caribbean.

De Andrés cited the emergence of the “internet of things” — a term used to describe the web-enablement of mobile devices, consumer appliances, vehicles and infrastructure — as one trend reshaping how criminal networks operate. Research firm Gartner projects that the global number of connected devices will grow from 8.4 billion this year to 20 billion by 2020.