Take Your Peek

    Take Your Peek

    Among those exposed by the indiscreet CD-ROM is president Fernando
    Henrique Cardoso. No one was spared. Celebrities, the rich and the poor, everybody with a
    telephone line cannot hide anymore.
    By ELMA LIA NASCIMENTO

    For a mere 11 bucks, kidnappers, robbers, all kinds of misfits as well as you and I can
    acquire in the streets a CD-Rom containing close to 5 million names of people who have a
    telephone in São Paulo. As a bonus you will in addition to the telephone number get
    (including all the unlisted ones) the residential address of these people together with
    their CPF (Cadastro de Pessoa Física—Physical Person Identification), a number that
    like the Social Security number in the US identifies the taxpayer before the IRS.

    How hard is it to get one of these precious disks? Street vendors offer them all over
    town. Marcelo Rehder, a reporter for Rio’s daily O Globo, bought his own CD-ROM to
    write an article denouncing the practice. The information on the disk comes from the
    database of Telefônica, the private company responsible for the telephone lines in the
    city of São Paulo.

    Among those exposed by the indiscreet CD is president Fernando Henrique Cardoso who
    owns an apartment in the neighborhood of Higienópolis. The CD reveals that his apartment
    is at Rua Maranhão, 1019 _ Apt 14 _ 14th Floor, besides listing his telephone
    number as well as his CPF. The Regional Superintendent of the Federal Revenue Service,
    Flávio Del Comuni, as well as the Federal Police chief in São Paulo, Yokio Oshiro, also
    have the same information revealed. Celebrities, the rich and the poor, everybody with a
    telephone line was exposed.

    Telefônica recognizes that it was the victim of sabotage, but it still does not know
    whether any of its employees took part in the scheme. The company first learned that their
    data had been stolen one year ago when newspapers started publishing classifieds selling
    that information.

    The finding was immediately denounced to the police. Some people have already been
    indicted, but none of the leaders of the ploy was found. The investigations led to the
    finding of another CD-ROM containing the Federal Revenue Service data for 3.9 million
    companies and 7.6 million individuals. Information that the growing class of kidnappers in
    Brazil would kill to have. This information is being sold for $2,000 to $3,500.

    Piracy in Brazil is a big-time business. Lacoste shirts, Rolex watches, Nike tennis
    shoes, Levi’s jeans, Scotch whiskey, music tapes, CDs, CD-ROMs, nothing is sacred for
    counterfeiters. From the beginning of the year until the end of June, the Brazilian police
    had already seized 8.7 million counterfeit CDs in the country. Brazil ranks in eighth
    place as a music market and in second for piracy, losing only to Russia. In 1999, the
    music industry brought in $1 billion selling 90 million copies of CDs and this number
    would be much higher if it weren’t for pirated tapes and CDs, which today represent half
    of the music market in the country. In 1997, piracy was responsible for only 5% of the CDs
    being sold.

    According to the APDIF (Associação Protetora dos Direitos Intelectuais
    Fonográficos—Association to Protect Phonographic Intellectual Rights), 30 million
    pirated CDs were sold in Brazil last year, representing a loss of $73 million in fees not
    collected. It was also the APDIF that revealed that the majority of CDs are made in Asia
    and enter the country from Bolivia and Paraguay through the frontier in the states of
    Paraná and Mato Grosso. The recording companies say that piracy is causing them a loss of
    $300 million a year.

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