Thomson Reuters recently aligned with the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) to form the Digital Economy Task Force. The task force, led by co-chairs Steve Rubley, managing director, Government segment for the Legal business of Thomson Reuters, and Ernie Allen, president and CEO of ICMEC, was developed to focus on the benefits and risks surrounding the digital economy.

The digital economy now reaches across the globe providing a plethora of new opportunities, and has become central to how business is conducted. But there are also dark areas where drug cartels can easily launder money and human sex traffickers operate in near obscurity.

“Earlier this year, we produced a report detailing the rise of illegal money-laundering activities through the digital economy,” said Rubley. “We also worked with ICMEC and held the first-of-its-kind conference that brought leaders and stakeholders together to discuss the risks, potential and promises of the digital economy, which in turn led to discussions emphasizing the need for further action.”

The goals of the task force are to educate the public and work collaboratively across stakeholder groups, including government agencies, law enforcement, corporations, academia, public and non-profit agencies, as well as key industry players. The approach will be a balanced view of both the advantages and disadvantages surrounding the digital economy – a place where people can enjoy the convenience of digital currencies, but where there are controls in place to regulate them like any other form of money.

The group held its first meeting in August, and has developed working groups to address the wide-ranging mechanisms for fostering financial inclusion to combating illicit activities. The focus areas for the working groups include safeguarding human rights, regulation, inter-agency coordination and law enforcement.

The Digital Economy Task Force will produce and release an official report in February 2014 with the goal of informing individuals and lawmakers globally about the current state of the digital economy and exploring the inherent opportunities and risks associated with an increasingly digital economy and its effects on human rights, regulation, crime and law enforcement.

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