In Brazil, gambling is like child pornography?

“The Brazilian senate is soon to consider a bill modeled after the UIGEA — banning payments to and from online gambling sites. The original legislation was introduced 15 months ago, but more recently has grown some teeth. At President Lula de Silva’s behest, in an effort to move the bill forward and pass it before the end of 2010, the Senate has attached companion legislation that requires Brazilian ISPs to block access to prohibited sites, and calls for prison time for violations. Also attached to the bill now is a parallel ban on child pornography.

An amendment added in July expressly prohibits unauthorized lotteries, too. This comes as little surprise considering “the fight against gambling” that Brazil’s national lottery operator, the public bank Caixa Ecônomica Federal, began preparing to launch its own online lottery at about the same time.”

My Take

So now, the bill will undoubtedly pass due to the child pornography attachment, because as we all know, they are totally on the same level (read: sarcasm). No, wait, let me guess! Online gambling funds child porn? The part that of course makes absolutely no sense is the fact that Brazil’s Jogo do Bicho is extremely popular there and walking down to the corner store to place your bet is almost as easy as flicking the switch and booting up the computer. There’s a phrase that goes something like this, “I commited no crime, I merely did not follow the rules of the law.” Gambling falls under this idea, in my opinion. Child pornography, on the other hand, is without a doubt, a crime.

On another note, I love how we are given the Internet to have a free-for-all and once we’re addicted, the reigns are pulled in, the poorest have ‘one laptop per child’ and the President is said to be given shortly an off switch for the entire nation due to the fake threat of “cyber terrorism”.

Locked Up in Brazil

I think most rational people know what not to do in foreign countries, but sometimes rationality goes out the janela (window) and along with it, the little safe world you thought you lived in. National Geographic has a show called Locked Up Abroad and one of the episodes is titled Busted in Brazil. Here’s a sneek peak.

Some justice for ‘Oz’

In the case I wrote about on the 2nd of Febuary, 2009 on the murder of law student Ozires del Corso, the suspect of the heinous crime has been captured and jailed. This happened on the 16th of February, thanks to the help of his girlfriend, who was also shot and violated during the senseless crime. The man thought to be responsible for the murder and rape is Juarez Ferreira Pinto, 42 years, an assistant of general services (whatever that means, I take it to be ‘handyman’). The story of the arraignment (in Portuguese) can be found here

In other news, I was contacted by someone who knew Ozires and I will replicate the comment left on the original post here. 

“I am in complete and utter shock at the moment as I have just found out this crime has taken place. Ozires was such a wonderful young man. I got to know him in New Zealand as his host mother looking after him during his time here to learn English. He was such a spirited wonderful person. We had lots of great conversations about the world and what it is like. To end his life in this manner is just not fair. He had so much to contribute to the world and he would have done very well with his abilities to communcate to people at all levels. It is with deep sadness that I write now to tell you all what a special person he was. I cannot put into words what a great guy he was and how sad we are feeling. My sincere wishes go to his parents and family at their tragic loss. Please please know that he will always hold a special place in our hearts and we are as a family also shocked and in grief with you all. Why oh Why do things continue to happen like this. The world is so full of horror and we need to stand up and get our voices heard around the world to stop this. His spirit will live on we love you Ozires or Oz as we call him. Sue and Steve Ellis Wanganui New Zealand”

The perfect criminal is Brazilian?

No, I’m not insinuating that Brazilians are criminals…read on.

I was ‘thumbing’ through the Italian daily Corriere della Sera when I found an article on a Brazilian woman who has no fingerprints, due to a rare disease. Below, I’ll translate part of an article from a Brazilian news site I also found her name mentioned on (where I found the photo below as well).

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“In the case that she wishes to commit a crime, the engineer and psychologist Tânia Maria Manso Corrêa Machado, 64 years old, would make the life of criminal investigators a little more difficult. They would be incapable of using the most universal method of investigation, the comparison of fingerprints left at the scene of a crime. Tânia doesn’t want to commit any type of crime though. She is a normal person. She lives in Belo Horizonte, is no longer married and has two children. Aside from such a common situation, she is a bit of a rarity: her fingerprints are disappearing.  The only finger that is still traceable is her right thumb. Even with that finger, the lines are too insufficient for any digital read out to prove that she is who she says she is. 

“My skin has always been so smooth that my mother used to tell me I have the hands of a lazy person,” affirms Tânia.”

DD – Dial & Denounce

Disque-Denúncia (Dial-Denounce) is a telephone service for combating crime, which operates in several Brazilian states. In a nutshell, Disque-Denúncia allows the average citizen to help the authorities combat crime, allowing also a means for people to vent their daily frustrations.

The program was conceived in Rio de Janeiro in 1995, when the city was under a high wave of crime. At the invite of the civil entity Movimento Rio de Combate ao Crime (Movement to Combat Crime in Rio, or MOVRIO), José Antônio Borges Fortes, came up with the idea of the service. Once the crime is logged, the service makes that information available to the police and in a sense puts public security in the hands of the people.

Inspired by the American show “Crime Stoppers”, the Brazilian version is based on the following ideas:

– guarantee of anonymity of the caller;

– guarantee that, even being financed partially by public funds, it won’t suffer any political interference (all the workers are contracted);

– guarantee that the program won’t be subordinated to the Police.

Implanted in August of 1995, by 2006 the service had reached one million calls. To give a scope of call volume on a daily basis, when it opened they averaged one-hundred and twenty calls, and today they average close to seven-hundred.

The program is made up of a central number (21) 2253-1177, with twelve customer service posts which operate 24/7.

Each denunciation is digitized, gets a number and the caller receives a password – so that they can accompany the investigation. The report is then sent to the Civil, Military and Federal Police so that it can be followed (unless it is against an officer in which case it is sent to Internal Affairs). After this, it is archived in a data bank holding more than four million reports to date. Aside from the principal function of the service, the data is also used to aid the Police by providing key information on criminal activities, all indexed by neighborhood. For example, if a criminal just robbed someone and it has been called in, the police, if nearby, can utilize the DD database to see which escape routes were used in the past in that area, who previous suspects were, etc.

The results of these cases are then sent to the media, with the objective of showing the importance and efficiancy of the service.

The success of the project in Rio de Janeiro stimulated the creation of other DD’s:

  • In 2000, in Pernambuco;
  • In 2001, in Espírito Santo;
  • In 2002, in Campinas (São Paulo);
  • In 2005, in Salvador (Bahia)

The service can also be utilized in cases of scamming. Such as with a false kidnapping, where the ‘kidnapper’ claims to have kidnapped a family member. If the family member suspects a scam, they can call DD to report it.

I’ve been told of various situations. In one, the ‘kidnapped family member’ is actually with the receiver of the call, while in other cases the scammer knows the ‘kidnapped person’ is at work so they tell the family member to pay a ransom or else. If they try to call the cell phone of the person kidnapped then the kidnapper threatens to kill that person. In yet another example, the ‘kidnapper’ will call a random number in the phone book during the daytime, when the empregada (housekeeper) answers the phone, the scammer pretends to be a family friend and asks for the cell phone of the owner of the house.

An interesting fact is that most of the people calling DD don’t ask for any kind of compensation (and even refuse it if offered), but rather they wish to do something good for the sake of doing something good. Call it altruism, if you will.