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 FísicaPhysical 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
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
According to the APDIF (Associação Protetora dos Direitos Intelectuais
FonográficosAssociation 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.