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Southeast Asia, explained

Indonesia drug deal 2012Enlarge
The Web site for WhatsApp, a popular messaging program for smart phones. (Screengrab)

According to the Jakarta Post, a tech-savvy provincial deputy governor's kid attempted to mail order ecstasy from Malaysia through his smart phone.

More specifically, he used WhatsApp Messenger, a mostly free service that allows anyone with Web access to skirt texting fees.

The news outlet doesn't specify how the 20-year-old was caught. We only know that he was picked up as part of a larger round-up of drug buyers relying on the postal service. (His five pills cost about $215. A seized stash of cocaine hidden in clothing and shipped from India had a street value of $343,000, according to the Post.)

This begs the question: if ill-equipped police in Southeast Asia have limited expertise, gear and resources for tapping mobile phones and e-mail accounts, could they possibly monitor iPhone apps with an even harder-to-follow digital trail?

http://www.globalpost.com/globalpost-blogs/southeast-asia/whatsapp_drugs