Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Smugglers of digital 'paquetes' make a living in Havana

Smugglers of digital 'paquetes' make a living in Havana
The 'Weekly Packet' helps Cubans get to pirated media
Author: Hatzel Vela, Reporter,
Andrea Torres, Reporter,
Published On: 2 h Updated 7 m

Without ample access to the Internet, some Cubans satisfy their hunger
for media through a black market of digital "paquetes," packages of
content that bypass government censorship.

The content ranges from pornography to soap operas, foreign news and
movies. Telemundo's Spanish language Al Rojo Vivo, Univision's Primer
Impacto and The Deadliest Catch are some of the most popular requests.

"I only distribute it, I don't produce it," a man who sells content
said. "I buy it and resell it and like me there are thousand who live of
off this. What aired last week, we will get this week."

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The unidentified man said he makes about $32 a month and spends about $2
to buy content. He uses his earnings to supplement the government food
rations, he said. To run his business, he needs a computer, hard drives
and connections.

Customers can order a download of a terabyte of data, which can last a
viewer about a week or a month. Some share memory cards, much in the
same way teens in South Florida rent video games to their friends.

Some use SIM cards, a portable memory chip used to hold data. Others use
Flash USB drives and .Zip files on CDs. A "paquete semanal" can cost
between $1 to $3.

The data traffickers have a network and they specialize on different
types of content. Some only focus on distributing the content.

The traffickers must be meticulously organized and fast. The older the
content the worst the resell value is. He or she also has to be
familiar with antivirus software, so clients keep coming back for more.

Some use illegal satellite to have access to the content that can be
digitized. They get Vampire Diaries, Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones.
And as long as the Internet remains slow, the lucrative "paquetes" will
continue to have demand.

Source: Smugglers of digital 'paquetes' make a living in Havana | Cuba
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