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December 17, 2008
Brazilian Logging Firms Hire Hackers to Modify Logging Limits
Some Brazilian states used a computerised allocation system to levy how much timber can be logged in each area. However, logging firms attempted to subvert these controls by hiring hackers to break systems and increase the companies' allocations.
Greenpeace reckons these types of computer swindles were responsible for the excess export of 1.7 million cubic metres of timber (or enough for 780 Olympic-sized swimming pools, as the group helpfully points out) before police broke up the scam last year. Brazilian authorities are suing logging firms for 2 billion reais (US$833m).
Posted on December 17, 2008 at 11:52 AM
• 18 Comments
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@Article: "Federal authorities are due to release more details of the prosecution of 107 logging and charcoal firms later on Friday, Greenpeace reports. A total of 202 people are facing prosecution in the case, it adds."
I could believe the scam, but I'm boggled that 107 firms and 202 individuals were allegedly involved. Trying to involve 1 other party is dangerous best, let alone over 100.
You realize this is a modern version of something entirely traditional, right? If you read the accounts of the timber industry that deforested the Great lakes area of the USA in the 19th century, the historians note that 90% of the timber was illegally logged. The timber companies would acquire logging rights for one small plot, and use it as a staging area to cut everything within range.
Brazil also has the giant fires; you can see them on the satellite pictures. It's like the firestorm at Peshtigo down there.
@Jeremy: I'd tend to agree that numbers should be treated with suspicion. However, on the other hand, having had some experience with Brazilian methods of commerce, I'm pretty sure it will have come as a huge surprise to all involved that their little scam was found out. When business people cite "official corruption" as a competitive advantage, you know something's not right.
Also, I doubt very much that any hacking was involved, unless it was of the open wireless and network share kind. More likely someone with access to the spreadsheet was bribed.
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