アノニマスの見解 Ep.18:香川県の静止する日

Hello everybody, and welcome back to Anonymous no Kenkai.

Sadly, 2020 has turned out to be a more difficult year than anybody expected. We hope all of you are safe and taking care of yourselves out there.

The Coronavirus has been dominating the headlines for weeks, and while it’s certainly newsworthy, it’s also made it easy for several other stories to get lost in the shuffle, one of which we’d like to address today.

In late 2019, the Kagawa Prefectural government proposed creating a bylaw which would set legal limits on the amount of time minors could spend playing video games. Under this proposal, children under 18 would be allowed to use their smartphones and play games for only one hour per day on weekdays, and 90 minutes on weekends. Additionally, Junior High School students will be forbidden from using their smartphones or playing games after 9pm, while High School students will have a curfew of 10pm.

We mentioned this briefly in our last video, and unfortunately in the time since then, the proposal has become law. On March 18th, the Kagawa Prefectural Assembly approved the proposal with a majority vote, to go into effect starting April 1st. Currently, the bylaw lacks any penalties for noncompliance, instead requesting that parents enforce it voluntarily.

Of course, the global COVID-19 outbreak drowned out most news on the topic, but there was still a strong reaction online in Japan, and to a lesser degree in the media. While there were numerous criticisms of the bylaw itself, more worrying were a series of suspicious irregularities surrounding the bylaw’s review committee and public comment period.

Firstly, the review committee drafting the bylaw apparently didn’t keep any record of the minutes of their meetings… an unusual oversight, given this is stardard practice for almost any governmental committee.

Secondly, during the public comment period, an unusually high number of comments came in; 2615 opinions in total. (info about other public comment periods here).

And in addition to being unusually high, a disproportionate number of the comments supported the bill… 2269 in total, over 85%. Only 334 comments opposed the bylaw. In contrast, among the 71 comments solicited from businesses inside and outside Kagawa Prefecture, 67 were opposed, with zero comments in support. Put together, all of these numbers cast doubts on the entire public comment process.

It didn’t take long for those doubts to feel justified. Reports surfaced online that a member of Kanagawa’s Kannonji City municipal government, an associate of the Review Committee Chairman and supporter of the bylaw, handed out forms to his friends and colleagues, asking them to check “support” or “oppose” boxes before filling out their opinions. The Representative reportedly collected these papers and delivered them to the Prefectural government himself. The entire process not only unfairly narrowed the matter down to a simple yes/no vote, it also implied pressure to agree with the City Representative handing out the paper. In fact, one paper showed signs of an “oppose” vote being crossed out and changed to “support”.

Even more concerning was a letter received by the digital news outlet Netorabo, published on their Twitter account. In the letter, an employee from a company in Kagawa Prefecture claimed their boss asked to use the names of employees to send pre-written public comments in support of the bylaw. The authenticity of the letter remains unconfirmed, but if true it would explain the unusually high number of comments received.

Considering all of the above information, it certainly seems as though some people in Kagawa Prefecture were very eager to have this bylaw passed by any means necessary. But the question remains, why? What is it about video games that has Kagawa Prefecture’s politicians so worried?

The answer to that question comes with a name… Susumu Higuchi, Director of the government-run Kurihama Addiction Center. Doctor Higuchi’s main area of research is treating alcoholism, but he’s branched out so-called “gaming addiction” as well. Higuchi is a frequent collaborator with the World Health Organization, and was one of the voices supporting their decision in May 2019 to add “gaming disorder” to their International Classification of Diseases. Doctor Higuchi’s opinions on this so-called “gaming disorder” come up frequently among supporters of Kagawa’s bylaw, and it’s fair to say that his research is the foundation upon which it was built.

Interestingly, the WHO’s connection to this matter has some sinister implications, given how blatantly supportive of China they’ve been lately. As we noted in our last video, Kagawa’s bylaw is almost a carbon copy of a similar law passed in China last year. Seeing China, the WHO, and the Kagawa Prefectural government walk in lockstep in this matter is worrying, even if there’s not necessarily reason to believe they’re overtly coordinating at this time. But even putting the WHO and China aside, there’s more than enough to criticize in Kagawa’s bylaw itself.

For one, there isn’t broad agreement in the medical community that “gaming disorder” is even real, and the research on it is far from conclusive. In 2019, critics of the decision to add “gaming disorder” to the ICD cited fears that doing so would only spark a moral panic. If we look to Kagawa as an example, that criticism seems very valid.

But beyond that, the bylaw represents an unwelcome intrusion by government into the private lives of citizens. Does the Kagawa Prefectural government believe parents aren’t capable of making their own decisions without government instruction? If the bylaw has no penalties, and parents are expected to enforce it voluntarily, why should the bylaw even exist? Why should legal activities have arbitrary time limits set by the government?

Will penalties be added to the bylaw in the future? This could create an opening for even more authoritarian government overreach into the private lives of citizens. And with Kagawa setting this precedent, other Prefectures may find it easier to create similar laws of their own.

Will software or hardware makers be asked to modify games or smartphones to comply with the bylaw? The ability to track users by age and usage time would create more opportunities to expand the survillance state.

Lastly, why is this bylaw so narrowly focused on games and smartphones? If children watch TV or read comics, is this more acceptable than doing the exact same activity on a phone? If so, why?

It is interesting to note how this law only seems to target new and alternative media…favoring established legacy businesses like TV stations and book publishers over their online rivals. In an era where young people in Japan are favoring YouTubers over TV stars, and independent creators over corporate mouthpieces, is this bylaw an attempt to prop up legacy media companies?

The fact is, no matter what motivations are behind this bylaw, it’s a worryingly authoritarian encroachment on the freedom of Kagawa’s citizens. The government has no business mandating how parents are meant to raise their children, and they have no right to place arbitrary limits on otherwise legal activities. This bylaw needs to be challenged in court and overturned as soon as possible, before it becomes the new normal.

If you’re a resident of Japan, in or out of Kagawa, the best thing you can do is talk about this problem with as many people as possible. If you’re outside Japan, spreading awareness of Kagawa’s draconian new bylaw with others can still help. There are many out there who don’t know about this, or if they do, they don’t fully understand just how authoritarian the Kagawa Prefectural government is being. It may not be the most important thing in the world compared to the Coronavirus, but it still deserves to be talked about. And if ever there was a time for Gamers to Rise Up, it would be now.

This was ANONYMOUS NO KENKAI… and until next time, MACHIUKENASAI.


In late February, a power outage at our hosting provider permanently corrupted our server. For the past two days we’ve been rebuilding the server from scratch, and Anonymous No Kenkai PeerTube is finally back in business.


Unfortunately, the federation and subscription database was wiped out, so anybody who was subscribed or federating before now, please go back and federate/subscribe again. Thanks.

アノニマスの見解 Ep.17:資本主義ふりをする中国

Hello everybody, and welcome back to ANONYMOUS NO KENKAI

It’s been far too long since our last episode, but there’s been no shortage of projects to keep us busy, and my English-language Bitchute series, “No One Cares” has been eating up a lot of my time as well. But a topic has finally emerged that needs our attention, because today we’re going to talk about China. More specifically the Communist Party of China, and their foreign policy.
お久しぶりです。前回の動画から随分と長い間が経ってしまいました。プロジェクトが山のようにあるおかげで、いつも忙しくなってしまいます; 特に、英語のBitchuteシリーズ「No One Cares」には多くの時間費やしてしまいました。とはいえ、ついに我々の注目に値する新たなトピックが現れました…「中国」です。具体的に申しますと、「中国共産党」、そして彼らの「外交政策」についてです。

China made headlines several times throughout 2019, for a variety of reasons. Their Social Credit system has earned our attention in previous videos, and earned revulsion and horror from people the world over. China’s behaviour in response to protests in Hong Kong has also earned the world’s attention and criticism, even if more in the independent media than the mainstream.

But it was actions regarding their financial stake in foreign businesses that made the most waves. In October of 2019, two major incidents caught the public’s attention. First, the Chinese government demanded an apology from the NBA when General Manager Daryl Morey of the Houston Rockets tweeted in support of Hong Kong protestors, causing China to cut off broadcast of their games as punishment. Almost within the same week, Activision Blizzard punished E-Sports player Blitzchung after he spoke in support of Hong Kong independence during a Hearthstone tournament livestream.
しかしながら、先程述べた問題よりも中国における対外投資の方が、実際のところ最も注目を引きました。2019年10月に、2つの事件が世間の注目を集めました。ヒューストン・ロケッツのダリル・モーリー・ゼネラルマネジャーが香港デモを応援するようなツイートを投稿しました原因で、中国政府は米NBAに謝罪を要求しました、そして罰としてNBAゲームの放送を停止しました。その週の後になって、ハースストーンの世界大会に、eスポーツプレイヤーBlitzchungは同じく香港デモを支持する声明のせいで、米ゲーム大手のBlizzard Entertainmentからペナルティを受けました。

In both cases, Chinese investment in a foreign company was used as leverage to pressure them into censorship in line with Chinese policy. In essence, China exported its censorship to other countries through its foreign business ties. The phenomenon became public enough that it garnered a response from President Trump, and even an episode of South Park.

Of course, this is hardly new. It’s already common knowledge that Hollywood has been designing its movies to maximize marketability in China for several years. Google briefly planned to design a censored search engine for the Chinese market, before (at least ostensibly) abandoning the plan in 2018 due to internal protests.

But even considering that, the recent growth of Chinese foreign investment (particularly in the video game industry) has been notable. As of late 2019, the Chinese entertainment giant Tencent has acquired stakes in over a dozen different gaming companies ranging from 5 to 100%, including well known names like Riot, Epic, Ubisoft, Activision, and Discord. Early 2020 even saw Japan’s Platinum Games accept a capital investment from Tencent as the basis of a partnership. While Platinum’s CEO assured fans that the partnership had no effect on the independence of the company, the news nonetheless raised some eyebrows.

And with good reason. Chinese investment in the gaming sphere has come with several strings attached in the past. Tencent’s 5% stake in Ubisoft, for example, came in exchange for being a silent partner with no option to expand its voting rights. But in Novermber of 2018, Ubisoft tried to change the visual elements of its game Rainbow Six Seige globally in line with Chinese standards. This was quickly reversed after fan backlash, but regardless Tencent’s lack of voting rights in the company didn’t seem to have any effect on its ability to dictate changes.
そして、不安を感じる理由は十分にあります。これまでに、ゲーム産業における中国から条件付き投資の例は数あります。例えば、TencentがUbisoftの5%の株を取得した時、Tencentを経営における議決権の一票として数えない、従って経営方針に口出ししない「サイレント・パートナー」として投資することを条件として株主として認められました。それにもかかわらず、2018年11月にUbisoftは「レインボーシックス シージ」というゲームのビジュアルをグローバルに中国の政策にかなうように変更しようとしました。ファンからの反発のおかげで決定は撤回されましたが、Tencentはサイレント・パートナーであるにもかかわらず、それでもUbisoftの決定を左右できるに見えます。

In July of 2019, Taiwanese game maker Red Candle was forced to pull their latest game offline after the Chinese government revoked the business license of their Chinese distributor. The reason? The game featured an image of a Winnie the Pooh meme mocking President Xi Jinping.
2019年7月に、中国政府は中国国内のとある流通業者の事業免許を取り消した後、台湾のゲームスタジオRed Candleの最新ゲームの発売を完全に停止しました。その原因は、習近平国家主席を「クマのプーさん」に見立て嘲笑うといった内容のミームがゲームの中に仕込まれていたことです。

But why does any of this matter? Well, game fans certainly don’t want to see their favorite games censored by China. But even people who’ve never played a video game have reason to be worried.

In 1978, China’s economic reform was hailed as a first step in making the country more free. The theory was that economic incentives would encourage the government to allow greater liberty for all. The degree to which this has been successful is open to debate, but it all hinges on the assumption that China’s motives for participating would be just to make more money.

But what if that wasn’t the main reason? Money, after all, is just an abstraction for access to resources. Control over resources equals power. And if there’s one thing an authoritarian government wants a monopoly on, it’s power. I would argue China’s real motive for participating in the global economy was more about exerting power over others; make as much money as possible through State controlled companies, and then invest that money in foreign businesses, or attract them into the country. Afterwards, the threat of withdrawing those resources can be used to manipulate those companies into toeing the Chinese line.
とはいえ、中国の《真意》とは一体何なのでしょうか? マネー(お金)は基本的に資源へのアクセスの抽象的目安にしか過ぎません。資源の支配権こそが権力への鍵なのです。そしてまた、独裁政権は飽くなき権力の独占を渇望するものです。世界経済に参加する中国の真の動機は、「他の国にも中国内の権力を及ばせる」ことであると考えられます。国営企業を利用しできる限り利益を得て、さらに対外の企業に投資することで、中国市場に惹きつけます。そして、その時に「投資の撤退」という選択肢が、対外企業を中国政府の方針に従わせるのです。

And if we use Hollywood and the gaming industry as an example, it’s obviously working. Large companies often cite the need to access the Chinese market to ensure future growth. And for small game studios, employees speaking off the record have admitted that access to the Chinese market can be the difference between staying afloat or going under.

Some would argue that this isn’t exclusive to China… and they’d be right. Any nation with enough market power can play the same trick, and some have. And no matter who’s doing this, it’s a problem. It uses the economy as a weapon to subvert the free will and agency of individuals, and left unchecked it also undermines the sovereignty of nations. Japan is already starting to imitate Chinese Social Credit with things like Line Score and J-Score, and the recent move by Kagawa Prefecture to set legal time limits on playing video games sounds uncomfortably similar to a Chinese law passed just last year. And the last thing any country needs to do is be more like China.

So what can we do about it? There are no easy answers, of course, but there are a few things we can at least keep in mind. As individuals, we can withdraw our financial support from companies that bend the knee to China, and give our support to companies that resist. On the national level, countries should keep their sovereignty and independence in mind when crafting trade policy. The United States, for example, has been criticized for engaging in a trade war with China… but the fact is, US trade restrictions can actually help smaller nations wean themselves off dependence on the Chinese economy. Japan in particular would do well to use this opportunity to shift away from China and cooperate with other nations in the region instead.

Companies caught in this conflict have an ever harder decision to make. Money is the lifeblood of a business, and few would voluntarily choose to make less of it. But chasing short-term profit makes it easier to be manipulated into self-destructive choices by bad actors. And if the only way for a company to succeed is to play by the CPC’s rules, then perhaps the only winning move is not to play at all.

This was ANONYMOUS NO KENKAI, and until next time… MACHIUKENASAI.


Hello everyone, Chano-san here.

Welcome to the アノニマスの見解 PeerTube instance. I’ve spent the last week or so getting this set up, but it’s finally ready. So I thought I’d make a formal announcement along with an explainer video for just what the hell this thing actually is, and why I set it up.

First of all, what the hell is PeerTube?

If we refer to the project’s own About page, “PeerTube is a federated video streaming platform using P2P (WebTorrent) directly in the web browser. It is a free and open-source software, under the AGPLv3 licence.”

This might sound familiar to Bitchute users, and that’s because it’s essentially the same thing. Both Bitchute and PeerTube use WebTorrent to serve streaming video and distribute the burden of hosting.

So what’s the difference between Bitchute and PeerTube?

For comparison, think of Plemora or Mastodon versus Twitter. Twitter is a single company running a single service. Users need Twitter’s permission to make an account and communicate with others. Plemora/Mastodon, on the other hand, allow anybody to create a server (called an instance) which can communicate with all other instances running the same software. No permission is necessary.

YouTube or Bitchute are like Twitter; one company, one service, permission is needed. PeerTube is the alternative. Anybody can make a PeerTube instance, and it can communicate with all other instances running the same software. No permission is necessary.

Why did you create a PeerTube instance?

Recently, the internet has become an unfriendly place for free speech. And I’m not a fan of Google’s monopoly on video hosting, among other things. I was happy to diversify onto Bitchute when it appeared, but the developer has been slow to communicate changes, and the development of the platform is sporadic at best. The thought occurred that if Bitchute’s money dried up or the platform was taken down, we might not hear about it until after it was gone.

Ultimately, as much good as Bitchute did to create an alternative to YouTube, I realized I was still depending on a third party to be able to publish videos. And I’d rather have more direct control over the hosting and serving of my own content. So I decided to give PeerTube a try.

Are you still going to use YouTube and Bitchute?

Of course, all videos will still be going up to the usual platforms. This PeerTube instance is kind of an tertiary backup. YouTube might ban me, and Bitchute might go down, but the videos will all be available here no matter what.

Can I make an account and upload videos to your instance?

Right now, I’m afraid not. Server space is limited, and managing users is difficult. I’m not confident I can do a good job. So this is going to be a single-user instance for now. I might change my mind in the future, and I might make special exception for people I know, but registrations are currently closed.

My lust for cyber-shekels is my greatest weakness, though, so I’m considering uploading videos on request or even making accounts for people who throw money at me on Bitbacker. I’m a little hesitant to even suggest it, but on the other hand I doubt anybody will go for it anyway, so whatever.

Final Thoughts

The wave of censorship sweeping across the internet right now is made easier by the fact that most of the net is built on centralized services. A few companies and individuals hold the power to decide if information can exist or not.

Alternatives have popped up…Bitchute in response to YouTube, Gab in response to Twitter, but many of them fall into the trap of simply being another centralized service. If we want to innoculate the internet against censorship, it’s important to decentralize as much as possible. PeerTube is, in my opinion, the best decentralized alternative to video hosting right now. And while this instance is just a tertiary backup for now, it’s my hope that one day software like PeerTube will be the standard for a free internet.

For Japanese users, I’m sorry to say that PeerTube hasn’t beeen localized into Japanese yet. Though we might do something about that in future. And for mobile users, good news…there is a PeerTube viewing app called “Thorium” that’s still in development, but otherwise pretty usable.

Anyway, look forward to more content here, on YouTube, and on Bitchute. And until next time…待ち受けなさい.





日本人に自己弁護をする機会を与えずに、日本のマンガとアニメ産業を脅かすなんてひどい、と我々は思ってます。だからこそ我々は英文で、日本の人々がOHCHRまで送れるために、同文の手紙を作りました。OHCHRはWordドキュメントファイルのみを受け入れますので、このファイルをダウンロードして、あるいは内容を自分が作ったWordファイルにコピペして、そしてこの問い合わせメールアドレスまで送って下さい: crc@ohchr.org


To whom it may concern,

I am writing to with regard to the Draft Guidelines on the implementation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (OPSC). I would like to preface my submission by praising the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) for working to oppose child exploitation, child pornography, and child abuse in all its forms the world over. The victimization of children should be neither forgiven nor forgotten, and the good intentions of all involved in the OHCHR are worthy of praise.

That being said, I note with great dismay that the content of the Draft Guidelines contain some worrying language that I feel must be addressed. Namely on Page 14, Sections 56 through 59, which I will quote in their entirety below:

“56. Child pornography is defined in article 2 OPSC as “any representation of a child engaged in real or simulated explicit sexual activities, regardless of the means used, or any representation of the sexual parts of a child for primarily sexual purposes”. The qualification “by whatever means” reflects the broad range of material available in a variety of media, online and offline. It includes, inter alia: visual material such as photographs, movies, drawings and cartoons; audio representations; any digital media representation; live performances; written materials in print or online; and physical objects such as sculptures, toys, or ornaments.

57. The Committee urges States parties to prohibit, by law, child sexual abuse material in any form. The Committee notes that such material is increasingly circulating online, and strongly recommends States parties to ensure that relevant provisions of their Criminal Codes cover all forms of material, including when the acts listed in article 3.1(c) are committed online and including when such material represents realistic representations of non-existing children.

58. The Committee is of the view that “simulated explicit sexual activities” should be interpreted as including any material, online or offline, that depicts or otherwise represents any person appearing to be a child engaged in real or simulated sexually explicit conduct and realistic and/or virtual depictions of a child engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Such depictions contribute to normalising the sexualisation of children and fuels the demand of child sexual abuse material.

59. Moreover, for the reasons explained in paragraph 63, any representation of the sexual parts of a child, including realistic images of the sexual organs of a child, for primarily sexual purposes falls under the definition of this offence. Where it may be complicated to establish with certainty if a representation is intended or used for “primarily sexual purposes”, the Committee deems it necessary to consider the context in which it is being used.

While the intentions of the OHCHR are admirable, I am concerned that the potential ramifications of these Sections have not been thoroughly considered. While it is perfectly understandable, and highly admirable, to encourage member states to enact laws that protect the rights of children, it is not at all clear why the the OHCHR wishes to criminalize “virtual depictions” by the same standard as material that victimizes actual human beings.

My concerns are twofold: firstly, it diminishes the gravity of real human victimization by placing it on the same level are virtual representations of the same, which necessarily entail no actual human suffering. Secondly, it presents a very real danger of threatening hard-won rights in the areas of free speech and creative expression. The zeal of many to protect the vulnerable can often, unfortunately, cloud their judgment with regards to the long term ramifications of their decisions, and laws that restrict creative expression in entirely virtual creative mediums invite abuse by those with power to abuse their position.

Additionally, while Section 58 of the OPSC makes the definitive statement that “[realistic depictions of non-existing children] contribute to normalising the sexualization of children and fuels the demand of child sexual abuse material”, the OHCHR offers neither sources no evidence to support this claim. On the contrary, in 2012 the “Sexologisk Klinik” in Denmark authored a report for the Danish government on the subject of “animated child pornography”, in which they found that “there are no scientific studies to illustrate whether the possession of fictitious child pornography…may lead individuals to commit sexual assault on children”1. In other words, one of the core assumptions of this section of the OPSC would appear to be begging the question. Given that the OHCHR is seeking to criminalize otherwise perfectly legal acts that neither produce real victims as a primary effect, nor definitively inspire further victimization as a secondary effect, this is a worrying lack of due diligence.

It should be noted, in February of 2016 the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) held a review of the Japanese government’s efforts to implement the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. During this review, one of the issues for discussion between CEDAW and a delegation from the Japanese Government was “Banning the sale of video games or cartoons involving sexual violence against women ”2.

In response to this issue, Ms.Kumiko Yamada of the Japanese Women’s Institute Of Contemporary Media Culture made a powerful and admirable rebuttal3. While this rebuttal was written in Japanese, it has very kindly been translated into English by user “u/RyanoftheStars” in the KotakuInAction subreddit on Reddit4. While her comments were regarding the CEDAW, I feel that portions of her rebuttal are highly relevant to the OPSC, and to illustrate my point I wish to paraphrase some of her comments below:

I am absolutely in agreement that the protection of the rights of children is important. On the other hand, I think it should be carefully and seriously evaluated whether the measures taken to ensure those protections are valid ones or not. If we are asked to consider whether “Protecting Children’s Rights” requires us to “Ban the Media Virtually Depicting Child Exploitation,” then we must reply that that is an absolute “no.”

The so-called child exploitation in manga, video games, and other virtual media is a made-up thing and as such does not threaten the rights of actual people; therefore, it is meaningless in protecting the rights of children.

It goes without saying that the sexual abuse of actual real people is an actual violation of their rights and should obviously be forbidden by law, and that it’s necessary to protect and support victims. However, the figures in manga, video games, and other virtual media are creative fictions that do not actually exist, and thus this is not a violation of any real person’s human rights. We should focus on attacking the problems that affect real children’s human rights as quickly as possible.

It is noted that on the other hand when it comes to “media that depicts child exploitation” a certain segment of people are going to find it unpleasant. Nevertheless, to ban expression and commerce unilaterally based on feelings of whether or not something is unpleasant, or viewpoints on what should be moral, is a practice not to be condoned. The basis for feelings about what is or is not repulsive, and moral viewpoints, will differ based on the individual or their region and that culture’s segmented local society. The basis for the values in Local Society A and the basis for the values in Local Society B are not necessarily going to match. Therefore it stands to reason to suddenly use one local society’s standards as the standards of a society as a whole would only prompt a massacre of discord in conflicting values among the people in the greater society.

If we are to aim for the smooth operation of society as a whole, then there might be workarounds we can implement so that a certain type of person can avoid suddenly running into “unpleasant expressions” they don’t want to see, but these should be limited to regulations in zoning and circulation only. We should not ban any media that depicts “unpleasant expressions” under content guidelines that enforce moral standards unilaterally on society.

As stated above, we cannot say that banning the sale of virtual media that “depict child exploitation” is valid, even if we were to agree that the goal of protecting the rights of children is correct.

There is nothing to be gained from regulating fictional child exploitation. However, while you’re trying to fix the rights of fictional characters, you’re leaving the human rights of real children in the real world left to rot. As well, the entire reason we have a media genre such as manga that developed to take on themes such as the sexual exploitation of children came from an attitude to tolerate “drinking the pure and the dirty without prejudice.” It’s because we had the freedom to express our views and with that to express the view of a world of humans that live and die, that there are pure and wonderful things and dirty and nasty things mixed with each other.

As a final comment, I would like to address a point regarding the content of this letter. It may be the case that multiple submissions will be received by the OHCHR with identical or similar phrasing. While I’m certain this may create the impression that the submissions are insincere duplications, this could not be further from the truth. In fact, Sections 56 though 59 of the OPSC present an existential threat to the livelihood of a number of artists and industries in nations (primarily Japan) that produce fictional and virtual material that may very well fall under the jurisdiction of the OPSC. However, in spite of the global nature of the OPSC’s scope, the OHCHR has refused to accept submissions in any languages aside from English, French, and Spanish. This is highly discriminatory against people in multiple nations around the world who are unable to communicate in these languages, and are thus unable to speak in their own defence in spite of the fact that they are directly threatened by the OPSC’s overly broad definitions.

Towards that end, this letter has been created as a collective effort by concerned residents of Japan to help give a voice to the voiceless. I would hope that, in future, the OHCHR will accept public comment with the same breadth of scope that they use to impose their views on others.

Thank you.



1https://jm.schultzboghandel.dk/upload/microsites/jm/ebooks/bet1534/pdf/bet_1534_bind_II.pdf (p.196-198)




アノニマスの見解 Ep.14:国連ロリ権利高等弁務官事務所

Well…here we go again…

In the last ANONYMOUS NO KENKAI video, we talked about how the Censors try to impose their views on others by force. Back then it was through corporate power via Sony, but this threat has another vector…government power. But before we get into that, I’d like us all to do a thought experiment together. Are you ready? Let’s go:

Hey, have you guys ever seen those fucking SAW movies? There’s like eight of them, and they’re all about people being kidnapped and tortured. It’s basically snuff porn. Seriously, it’s some sick fucking shit. People who enjoy watching this are almost certainly dangerous people, and probably future psycho killers.

Listen guys, I think we can all agree that..ah..”such depictions contribute to normalizing the glorification of torture and fuels the demand of snuff material”. So even though kidnapping, torture, and murder are all already illegal, we ought to ALSO make it illegal for anybody to have “any representation of abduction, torture, or murder, regardless of the means used” including “visual material such as drawings and cartoons; audio representations; any digital media representation; live performances; written materials in print or online; and physical objects such as sculptures, toys, or ornaments”.

Obviously, this would mean outlawing an impossible number of creative works. But these things glorify crimes, so nobody should ever want to see that anyway. And if they do, they’re probably sick fucks and don’t need rights or protections anyway.

If that sounded incredibly stupid to you, then welcome to being sane. Unfortunately, it’s a very small club. And getting smaller every day…

In February of 2019, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a draft guideline of the “Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child”, which according to their website exists to prevent human trafficking, child prostitution, child pornography, and underage exploitation. Sounds good, right? Who doesn’t like protecting children?

In typical fashion for these types of authoritarian censors, however, the OHCHR is using a good thing everybody supports as leverage to force in a bad thing that helps nobody. In this case, the poison pill is page 14, section 56, where they define “child pornography” as anything and everything that virtually depicts sexually explicit images of non-existing children.

Why? Apparently because the OHCHR thinks loli/ero art is a gateway drug to real life child abuse. Obviously everybody is countering that idea with the argument for free expression, and its an important argument that needs to be made. But I’d like to examine our earlier thought experiment in more detail to take an entirely different approach.

Part of the reason for choosing the SAW movies, and the example of kidnapping and torture for the thought experiment, was because of the difference in peoples’ reactions. Obviously most people have a much stronger emotional reaction to the idea of children being hurt, and arguably with good reason…it’s just a normal human reaction. So when the idea of virtual child abuse is brought up, it usually causes a similar knee-jerk emotional reaction. But the same doesn’t usually happen with depictions of violence in general, even sadistic violence like the kind you’d see in SAW. Most people would agree in the abstract that torture is bad, but the reaction is almost never as visceral. If you tried to ban all SAW movies for glorifying torture, I imagine you’d have a hard time getting as many people on board with the idea.

This is because the reaction is, fundamentally, an emotional one. And while our emotional reactions have their places, they cannot and should never be the basis for the creation of law. For laws to function well, they need to be logical principles that can be applied equally and fairly to all situations.

Once we strip away the emotional language of this Optional Protocol, what are we left with? “Virtual depictions of illegal acts that harm non-existing people must be illegal, on par with the real-life acts they depict”. If we apply this principle equally to all situations, we would end up with absurd results. Practically speaking, almost every work of fiction from any time period would be illegal by this standard. If this principle is meant to apply in the case of child exploitation, why not kidnapping? Why not murder, or torture? If the law isn’t going to be fairly applied across the board, should it even exist?
感情的になった言葉をはぎ取れば、選択議定書の原則はこれです:「架空の存在しない犠牲者が生じる犯罪行為の描写は、実際の犯罪と同じ基準で犯罪と見なさなければならない」 この原則を全ての状況に平等に当てはまれば、ばかげた結果が生じます。事実上、人類の歴史の中で作られた創作物は犯罪になるでしょう。この原則はバーチャル児童虐待の場合に適用するなら、何故バーチャル誘拐の場合に適用しないのでしょうか?また、バーチャル殺人やバーチャル拷問の場合は?全ての状況に平等に当てはまることができなければ、この法は本当に存在するべきなのでしょうか?

Supporters of the Optional Protocol might argue, as the OHCHR does, that virtual depictions of crimes would normalize them, and fuel demand for real crimes. My only response to this is…prove it. I don’t believe that this is true, and if the OHCHR isn’t offering any evidence to back that up I’m going to accuse them of begging the question. On the contrary, I’m going to argue that the majority of people are perfectly capable of understanding the difference between fantasy and reality. Our media and popular culture is saturated with fictional acts that would be illegal in real life, but media spotlight fallacy aside, people are not rushing out to commit these same crimes in massive numbers.

In spite of this, the Optional Protocol urges countries to enact laws that would criminalize otherwise legal activities that produce no victims. Where these laws might run against legitimate creative freedoms, the Protocol “deems it necessary to consider the context in which it being used”…an open invitation for the creation of censorship boards, further centralizing more power in fewer hands.

The sad thing is, this isn’t even the first time the UN has tried shit like this. Back in 2016, another UN Committee tried to ban the sale of manga or anime depicting sexual violence against women. This attempt was denounced by Kumiko Yamada of the Japanese Women’s Institute Of Contemporary Media Culture, and the most salient point she makes could just as easily apply to this current round of attempted censorship:

“…when it comes to manga that depicts sexual violence a certain segment of people are going to find it unpleasant. Nevertheless, to ban expression and commerce unilaterally based on feelings of whether or not something is unpleasant, or viewpoints on what should be moral, is a practice not to be condoned. The basis for feelings about what is or is not repulsive, and moral viewpoints, will differ based on the individual or their region and that culture’s segmented local society…Therefore it stands to reason to suddenly use one local society’s standards as the standards of a society as a whole would only prompt a massacre of discord in conflicting values among the people in the greater society…there might be workarounds we can implement so that a certain type of person can avoid suddenly running into “unpleasant expressions” they don’t want to see, but these should be limited to regulations in zoning and circulation only. We should not ban any manga that depicts “unpleasant expressions” under content guidelines that enforce moral standards unilaterally on society.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Of course, the real question is…what can we do about it this time? Well, fortunately the OHCHR is accepted comments from now until March 31st. Unfortunately, and very typically for these people, they refuse to accept any comments that aren’t in English, French, or Spanish. This is spite of the fact that the rules they seek to create will impact people the world over.

We decided that it was unfair to threaten the livelihood of people without giving them the opportunity to speak for themselves. So we’ve created a form letter for Japanese viewers to download, copy, and send to the OHCHR’s contact e-mail address. The OHCHR will only accept Word documents, so download our document file or copy-paste the text into a Word document of your own and attach it to an e-mail sent to this address.

If you’re an artist or a fan of manga, anime, or doujin culture in Japan, we urge as many of you as possible to participate. Without a strong reaction from the public, laws like these can easily slip through before you know it. And once they become written into law, they’re almost impossible to remove.

It’s also wise to prepare for the worst case scenario. Remember that centralization is the tool of the Censor. The decentralized privacy tools we promote are an important line of defense to preserve both creative and individual freedoms online. Don’t just wait for the government to save you, start taking action to defend your own freedom today.

And the next time somebody tries to create laws to protect the rights of fictional people, let’s remember that they may have an ulterior motive. If a law is truly needed, it should exist to protect the rights of real human beings. Any law that tries to go beyond that doesn’t exist to protect you, but to police your thoughts and beliefs. And those types of laws should always be opposed.

This was ANONYMOUS NO KENKAI. And until next time…MACHIUKENASAI.

アノニマスの見解 Ep.13: 「グローバルの基準」という嘘

Hello again everyone. And welcome back to ANONYMOUS NO KENKAI.

I apologize for another long delay. Our “OFFLINE” game needed a lot of time to organize, so there was less time to focus on this series. Congratulations to the winner in Tokyo, by the way. Osaka and Nagoya are still unfinished, so if you’re in the area and want to participate, please do. I’ve also been working on the “No One Cares” series over on Bitchute, which is unfortunately English-only. I wish I could translate those into Japanese, but they’re more casual videos so it’s difficult to transcribe and translate on my own. But recently, a new topic appeared that I thought needed to be addressed, so we created this video. This is a topic related to the foreign world, but it affects Japan so Japanese people need to hear about it. But first we need to start with some background.
投稿が遅れて、また頻度が低すぎて申し訳ございません。「OFFLINE」のゲーム管理に時間がかかってしまいまして、ここ最近、動画制作に集中できませんでした。そして東京の勝者の方、おめでとうございます。大阪と名古屋はまだ解決されていないので、該当地域の方は是非ご参加下さい。Bitchute独占シリーズ「No One Cares」も時間がかかるけど、残念ながらそれは英語のみです。訳すことができれば良かったのですが、台本なしの動画なので自分で翻音して訳す時間がありませんでした。しかし最近、何としてでも取り扱うべきトピックがあらわれたので、この動画を作りました。このトピックは海外に関するものですが、日本にも影響を与えるので、日本の皆さんがこれについて知っておくべきことだと判断しました。というわけで、まずはこのトピックの背から説明することにしましょう。

Starting in mid-October 2018, a number of Japanese adult game makers publishing through Sony on the Playstation 4 announced that some of their content would either be censorsed, or outright removed. On October 13th, Developer XSeed Games announced that the “Intimacy Mode” from Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal needed to be removed from the PS4 version of the game, leading to delays. Later on Octorber 15th, website “OneAngryGamer” reported that this was due a new policy by Sony Interactive Entertainment that restricted fanservice content.
始まりは10月中旬、ソニーを通してPlaystation 4向けに発売している多くの日本のアダルトゲームメーカー各社が、自社コンテンツの検閲、または徹底的な削除を発表しました。10月13日に、パブリッシャーのXSEED Gamesは「スキンシップモード」をゲームから削除するため、PS4版『閃乱カグラ Burst Re:Newal』の発売日を延期すると発表しました。10月15日に、ゲームニュースサイト「OneAngryGamer」がその削除はソニーのアダルトコンテンツに対する新しい政策によるものだと報告しました。

From there, the news got worse. In late October, it was reported that all PS4 versions of “Nora to Oujo to Noraneko Heart” had their fanservice scenes lazily and obviously censored not only in the Western release, but the Japanese release as well. Furyu’s “Yuragi-sou no Yuuna-san” had its fanservice scenes similarly censored across all releases. In early November, it was reported that adult-oriented features in the PS4 version of “NekoPara” were being removed while Switch and PC versions remained unchanged.

It wasn’t until early December that SIE Japan president, Atsushi Morita, commented on the policy, stating that “it’s simply a matter of matching global standards. As for the freedom of expression… we have to think about what might be unpleasant for children and shield them from those things while also thinking and assessing ways to find a balance”. A particularly confusing comment, given that none of the above listed games were targeted at children, nor likely be to be bought or played by them, barring highly irresponsible parents.
12月上旬になった初めて、ソニー取締役盛田氏はその成人向けコンテンツの政策についてコメントしました:「表現規制に関してはグローバルの基準に合わせただけ。表現の自由と子供への安全とのバランスを考えると難しい問題であるとは考えている」 意味不明なコメントですね …以上のゲームは子供向けの作品ではありません。その上、子供がこのゲームを買って遊ぶ可能性は低いと思われます(無責任な両親でなければ)。

Compouding this issue is the fact that developers of Japanese games now need to submit their games for inspection and approval through SIE’s headquarters in America. In English. And not just for Western releases; all games, even Japanese language games for the Japanese market. This is a punishing move for many smaller studios, some of which will have little or no English ability. Combined with the censorship policy, this will have the effect of discouraging ecchi and ero games on the PS4 globally, creating financial stress for a lot of companies, and for no real reason.

Needless to say, most Japanese fans reacted with anger and disappointment, many asking themselves why this was happening. Some might blame the 2020 Olympics, and it’s certainly true that many Japanese businesses and politicians want to sterilize Japan’s image ahead of the event. But the reality is, Sony and Japan may have found themselves caught up in a culture war they don’t fully understand.

What many Japanese people might not know is that the Western world, particularly the English speaking internet, is in the middle of a culture war right now. There’s far too much to talk about on this topic than can be accurately summarized. Any number of good videos, blogs, and articles have been written on the subject, nearly all of them English, and there just isn’t enough time to translate them all…even though I wish I could. So for now, a very brief and incomplete summary will have to do.

One side of this war is the so-called “Social Justice Warriors” or “SJWs”, though for my purposes I’ll just call them the Censors. These are people who obsess over race, gender, sexuality, hate speech, and political correctness in all things at all times. These people have always existed, but in recent years they’ve become more aggressive and authoritarian, trying to force their vision of a better world on everybody around them whether they like it or not. Many of these people are activists or NGO workers, but a good portion also work in big tech firms and media, whether mainstream or digital.
内戦の片側に、いわゆる「SJW」すなわち「ソーシャル・ジャスティス・ウォーリアー(Social Justice Warrior)」と呼ばれる「活動家」が存在します、でも今回のトピックのために以下「検閲屋」と呼びます。この人たちは常に人種、性差、性的、ヘイトスピーチ、そして社会正義が気になって仕方ない。こういう人たちが常に存在していましたけれど、最近はいつもより攻撃的、そして権威主義的になってしまっており、よく自分の意見を他人に押し付けてしまっています。多くの「検閲屋」は活動家またはNGO関係者ですが、アメリカの大手テック企業またはマスコミ(主流もデジタルも)に対して影響力を持つ人々もいます。

The other side lacks a catchy name I like, so we can either call them the Shitposters or the Free Speech Axis. These are people who like the idea of free speech, and want the freedom to speak openly and post content online, even offensive or controversial content. Most people associate this with imageboard culture, which is at least partly accurate. To the Shitposters, hurt feelings or political correctness are not a good enough reason to censor or restrict free expression, and they’ll be happy to oppose that censorship wherever it appears.
「検閲屋」から通路を隔てて向かいの人々には心を引く名前がないですが、「クソカキコ野郎(Shitposters)」あるいは「言論自由連合(Free Speech Axis)」と呼んでもいいでしょうか、この人たちは言論の自由に賛成です。そしてネット上で自由に話し、情報を共有したい方です(攻撃的および論争の的な言論も含めて)。「ネット掲示板文化」と同じように考えられ、それは部分的に正しい。「クソカキコ野郎」によれば、傷ついた感情やポリコレは検閲や言論の統制を正当化できない。検閲システムがどこに現れても、彼らはそのシステムを転覆させようとします。

Between these two sides there is an ocean of largely indifferent, politically neutral people who don’t care about free speech or political correctness. They usually have few strong opinions, and just go with the flow, giving them very little influence in this struggle.

Unfortunately, as mentioned before, the Censors have influence in tech and media, which they use to push narratives that suit their ideology. Whether it’s pressuring YouTube and Twitter to ban certain types of content or using smear tactics to misrepresent people in the media, the Censors try to silence and marginalize people who criticize them or their ideology. Recent tactics include “Deplatforming”, where angry mobs pressure platforms into kicking a person off, whether online or off. Even worse, there’s Financial Deplatforming, where the same mobs try to cut their target off from any income. This can include getting people unjustly fired from their jobs, or getting their online ad revenue cut off. It’s also very common for them to associate their critics with the so-called “alt-right”, calling everybody a racist and a Nazi, no matter how nonsensical the accusation is in some cases.

What does this have to do with Japan? The Censors HATE Japanese games and anime, particularly fanservice games with ecchi or ero content. This isn’t just a matter of taste and different opinions to these people, either. To them, games and anime are misogynistic or sexist, and thus nobody can be allowed to enjoy them. The Free Speech Axis, on the other hand, usually likes games and anime. Even the ones who don’t, they believe in free speech enough that they wouldn’t want to censor them anyway.

When we think about all this, the changes in Sony’s policies become easier to understand. Sony Interactive Entertainment recently moved their headquarters to California, a state home to the same Silicon Valley tech giants that support Deplatforming and censorship. While Censors within SIE try to force their ideology on the business, outrage mobs, activists, and NGOs apply pressure from without. As a business, SIE will try to avoid controversy, and thus they’ll try to appease the Censors. The result? Exactly the sort of censorship we see now. Japanese developers being forced to censor their Japanese games, made for Japanese fans, according to the standards of self-appointed moral guardians in a foreign country. These are the “global standards” Atsushi Morita referred to…except they aren’t really “global” at all.
こういう情報を考えると、成人向けコンテンツに対するソニーの新しい政策に対する理解が容易くなることでしょう。SIE(Sony Interactive Entertainment)は最近、本社機能をカリフォルニア州に移転しました。検閲とdeplatformingに賛成なシリコンバレー大手テック企業と同じ州ですね。企業内の検閲屋が会社に意見を課しながら、企業外の激高した群衆、活動家、そしてNGOは圧力をかけます。企業としては、当然SIEは論争を避けようとします、つまり検閲家を鎮めようとするでしょう。その結果は?面前にある検閲政策です。日本のファンのために日本のゲームを作っている日本のゲームメーカーは海外の道徳的基準に従って自社のゲームを検閲しなければなりません。これが盛田氏が述べた「グローバルの基準」です。しかしながら、全く本当の意味での「グローバル」ではありません。

As we stated before, the majority of people are indifferent to this topic, and have no strong feelings about Japanese games, positive or negative. The Censors represent a fringe minority of opinion. But because they’re a very loud minority, with influence in tech and media, they can coerce the majority to follow their ideology. And Japanese media tends to echo the media overseas, so the same lies get copy-pasted into Japan without any critical assessment or alternative view.

The tragedy is, Japanese fanservice games and anime have a huge audience overseas. These fans don’t want anything censored, or changed from the Japanese version. They want Japanese developers to make Japanese games for Japanese audiences, then translate those games and share them with the rest of the world. Only Sony, and the Censors influencing them, are forcing these rules on everybody against their will.

So what can we do about it? First, this whole situation illustrates what we’ve said time and time again; centralization is bad. Large companies like Sony are vulnerable to pressure, and their monopoly control of their platforms mean a small group of people can enforce unpopular rules on everybody. If you are a Japanese game maker, big or small, avoid platform exclusives, ESPECIALLY on the Playstation. Some people might point out that Nintendo is being more reasonable than Sony, and this is true…for now. But Nintendo can change their policies in the future, just like Sony did.
では、私達に何ができるでしょうか? まずは、この状況は我々が繰り返し唱えたことを示します。集中制御化(centralization)は良くない。ソニーみたいな大企業は圧力に対して脆弱です。そしてプラットフォームに対する独占力のおかげで一握りの人々が恣意的なルールを施行できるようにします。大手であれ、中小であれ日本のゲームメーカーなら、特定プラットフォーム専用のゲームを作らないことをおすすめします、特にPlaystationは。任天堂はソニーよりマシだと言う人がいます、そしてそれは確かに事実です…今のところは。しかしソニーと同じく、任天堂も何時か将来ある時点で政策を転換することもないとは言い切れないでしょう。

If possible, you want to release on any many platforms as you can. But if you do have to focus on one platform, consider focusing on the PC. While Sony and Nintendo have total control over their platforms, PC games are much harder to block or censor. Supporting different operating systems is also helpful…a Japanese game maker that includes Linux support will win a lot of goodwill.

Even with PC, beware of centralized distribution platforms like Steam. Valve’s policy on adult content is notoriously inconsistent, and they’re currently in the process of banning games with high school settings and even demanding that games cut out characters that appear too young. Alternatives like GOG or Hat Rack are good, but it’s still unwise to trust any one platform. Distributing the game from your own website is the best way to avoid platform censorship, but ideally you want to put your games on as many different platforms as possible, including your own website to ensure your customers always have options.
PCで販売しても、Steamみたいな集中型配信プラットフォームには気を付けた方が良いでしょう。Valveの成人向けコンテンツ政策は一貫性のなさで有名です。現在、Valveは学校内の環境でのゲームを拒絶しているし、ゲームから若過ぎるように見えるキャラクターの削除を要求しています。GOGHat Rackみたいな代わりのプラットフォームはいいですが、実を言うと1つのプラットフォームを信用しない方が良いでしょう。自分のサイトで発売することは検閲を避けるための一番の方法ではありますが、できるだけ多くのプラットフォームで発売することをおすすめします(自分のサイトも含めて)。それによって顧客は豊富な選択肢を得ることができるでしょう。

Beware of Financial Deplatforming. The Censors have not been shy about attacking people who resist them, and if you trust payment platforms like PayPal, Patreon, or others they will come under pressure from activists. This is a more difficult problem to deal with, but the best answer is to use as many methods as possible. Use PayPal or Patreon if you must, but always have alternatives ready. While cryptocurrency isn’t a silver bullet for all your problems, it is a useful backup plan that’s difficult to censor. Accounts on BitFlyer or other exchanges are easy to make, and platforms like Bitbacker.io make it easier to crowdfund without having to worry about the Censors.

Avoid DRM and strict copyright policies. This is difficult for many Japanese studios to accept or understand, but while you might think that strictly controlling the flow of your work will protect your income, it will always have the opposite effect. It may seem counterintuitive, but if you build goodwill with your audience, they will reward you with success. Piracy is a market problem, not a criminal problem. If you make your work easy to find, easy to get, and reasonably priced, the majority will choose to support you.

Finally, and most importantly, don’t believe media or companies that badmouth your games. There are thousands of fans of your work across the globe who want to buy what you make, and it’s only a fringe minority trying to censor you. They have a loud voice because of their influence in media and tech, but they won’t support you even if you censor your games. There’s a saying in English…”Get Woke, Go Broke”…which is going to be very difficult to translate into Japanese. But basically, even if you pander to the Censors they will not buy your games. They don’t want to support you, they just want to put you out of business. So ignore them. Focus on your real fans, in all parts of the world, and remember that the Free Speech Axis always has your back.
最後、最も重要なことに、成人向けゲームの悪口を言う企業やマスコミを無視しましょう。世界中にあなたのゲームを買いたい多くのファンがいます、そしてそれを検閲しようとするのが非主流派だけです。その非主流派がテック企業やマスコミに対して不釣り合いな影響力を及ぼすけど、ゲームは検閲されても彼らは支援しません。英語ではことわざがあります…「Get Woke, Go Broke」…はっきり言ってこのフレーズは直接日本語に翻訳するのが難しいです。しかし一言で言えば、検閲屋に迎合してもユーザー達がゲームを購入してくれることはないでしょう。検閲屋は日本のゲームメーカーを支援する気はさらさらなく、倒産させたいだけなのです。だから彼らを無視すればいい。世界中にある本当のファンに集中することにしましょう。そして「言論自由連合」が最後まで応援するということを忘れないで下さい。

I’d like to give a shout out to YouTuber appabend, whose videos on this subject formed the bulk of my sources. He’s a good source of information, and you should subscribe to him if you want to hear more. His videos are in English, but any bilingual Japanese who can help subtitle his works, you’d be helping Japanese audiences a lot. Check him out.

Moving into the new year, the future of the internet is looking pretty rough. It’s going to take all of our efforts to carve out islands of free speech that can survive this wave of censorship, but if we keep our eyes open and plan ahead, together we can weather this storm.

This was アノニマスの見解, and until next time… 待ち受けなさい。

アノニマスの見解 Ep.12: 公開ブロックチェーンの落とし穴

Hello everyone, and welcome back to アノニマスの見解. It’s been a while since the last episode. My apologies for the long delay.

Unfortunately, the forces of censorship and surveillance didn’t take a break during this period, and there’s a lot to catch up on.

As you might already know, Site Blocking has taken a turn for the worse, with DoS attacks against alleged pirate sites being proposed in government run study groups. CIRO and the Directorate for Signals Intelligence haven’t gone anywhere, and there’s no shortage of new hardware AND software vulnerabilities that threaten your privacy.

But today, we’re going to talk about something different; cryptocurrencies, and how they related to the idea of financial privacy. But first, some background.

In June of this year, Coincheck, one of Japan’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, announced that it was suspending all trading in Monero, Zcash, Dash, and Auger… all currencies that are designed around the idea of user privacy. This was after the Financial Services Agency threatened stricter regulation of cryptocurrencies in Japan, strongly implying this was a response to government pressure.

Later that same month, the National Police Agency arrested multiple website operators for putting “Coinhive” into their websites. Coinhive is a distributed program that uses the computing power of website visitors to mine for Monero. But the NPA arrested them for violating a law banning computer viruses, implying they believed Coinhive to be a virus, even though there is no official judgement that this is accurate.

Finally, just last month, the National Police Agency announced their budget for 2019, including 2.7 billion yen to fight cyber threats. In that budget was a plan to purchase a blockchain surveillance system from overseas which would allow the NPA to gain a “bird’s eye view” of all transactions on the blockchains of major cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Ethereum, and possibly others. While no information on this system has been announced, there is a high possibility that this surveillance system will be “Elliptic”, one of the most well-known and popular blockchain surveillance tools.

Based on all of this news, it’s easy to understand that the Japanese government is struggling to assert control over the world of cryptocurrency in Japan. Privacy-focused cryptocurrencies like Monero are attacked, while surveillance tools to watch open blockchains are installed. The media talks about these measures as necessary to fight criminal money laundering. But as we’ve said in previous videos, empowering an authority to protect you doesn’t protect you from the authority itself. And government surveillance over individual finance can create many negative and unintended side effects.

Firstly, it’s important to remember that historically, total surveillance and central control over individual finance was not the norm. Whether through cash or barter, individuals have been able to privately exchange value for centuries. Regulations evolved over time as a means to counter abuse, but total surveillance and control over finance is a relatively recent development. However, many developed nations now favour credit or electronic payment systems over cash. Some countries, like India, have even tried to eliminate cash entirely, though often with disastrous results.

While a cashless society seems convenient, it comes with one very big problem; it takes power away from individuals and gives it to large, centralized institutions. With cash, two individuals can exchange value freely. I can invite my friend over for dinner, give him cash in exchange for something, and nobody can really interfere in our transaction. But with cashless electronic payment, the company running the system can monitor every transaction, and even deny transactions it doesn’t approve of. In a worst case scenario, it could even cut a user off from the system entirely. We saw a vivid example of this in 2010, when multiple banks and credit card companies arbitrarily and simultaneously cut Wikileaks off from donations. The power of centralized financial institutions to crush dissent is very real.

The threat of this power is two-fold; on the one hand, government pressure can have critics arbitrarily cut off from all finance. But on the other hand, the threat of being cut off also discourages dissent, and encourages self-censorship.

This is where cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin enter the picture. Being a peer-to-peer system, cryptocurrencies have no central control. Much like cash, they allow individuals to trade freely with each other. But unlike cash, cryptocurrencies allow these trades to happen at any distance. Two users in different countries can freely exchange value, as long as both are connected to the internet. Certainly there is the possibility of criminal abuse, just as with cash. But it also creates a check against the abuse of centralized power.

However, there is one massive Achille’s Heel to many cryptocurrencies; the public blockchain. The blockchain is a completely public ledger of every transaction on the network. Every detail of every transaction is recorded and shared publicly. This means your wallet address, your IP address, account balance, and every transaction are public knowledge. Not even bank accounts or credit card companies share this much information about their users.

So, while cryptocurrencies allow free exchange of value between individuals, the total panopticon of the public blockchain means the association between individuals can still be policed. Cryptocurrencies still need to be exchanged for cash via exchanges, and if the government can monitor every transaction on the blockchain, they can still order exchanges to cut off users they don’t like. If you donate Bitcoin or Ethereum to an opposition party, or a government critic, your account can be flagged by the authorities. If you use Bitcoin or Ethereum to pay for anything personal or embarassing, this can be used to blackmail you. Knowledge of perfectly legal but private activities can easily become a tool of control.

It’s worth noting, this isn’t only a problem from the government. A total public blockchain means anybody can find all of this information easily. But, with specialized surveillance tools like Elliptic, the speed and scope of government surveillance is a much bigger threat.

So what can we do about it? First, we need to understand that totally public blockchains are bad for individual users. Unfortunately, this means that using Bitcoin or Ethereum will always be a risk. We need to start using, promoting, and fighting to normalize cryptocurrencies that embed privacy into their infrastructure, like Monero, ZCash, Dash, or Augur. If you have cryptocurrency in public blockchains, consider moving some of it to more private cryptocurrencies. And finally, reject centralized corporate control and build markets and businesses that respect the privacy of their users. No one person can change the world alone, but each individual can change the way they do business. And if we all change together, then maybe the world can change with us.

This was アノニマスの見解, and until next time… 待ち受けなさい。

アノニマスの見解 Ep.11: 著作権への理解

Hello Internet. And welcome back to ANONYMOUS NO KENKAI.

It’s been an eventful few months in Japan. Since April, the Japanese government and NTT Communications have started blocking pirate sites for manga and anime. The industry in Japan has been complaining that these sites are costing them sales, pointing to declining revenue and blaming pirate sites (although they have yet to prove a causal connection between the two).

Japan is already notoriously tight-fisted about intellectual property. Last year, JASRAC expressed a desire to extort money from music schools on the suspicion that they might be playing copyrighted music. YouTube’s troubled ContentID system is largely the result of lobbying from Japanese corporations. And it isn’t just large corporations either. Smaller creators have been at the center of IP conflicts, including the creator of Teaching Feeling and more recently, the situation with Asgar Kishidan.

But Japan is hardly the only country to have this mindset. Just recently, the EU has introduce something called “Article 13”, which could require European ISPs to demand all online platforms screen user uploaded content for copyright violations, and prevent the availability of content deemed infringing. Sound familiar? Unlike ContentID, though, Article 13 would demand all online platforms in the EU adopt these measures or face penalties.

There are a variety of reasons to oppose laws like these. Whether its site blocking, YouTube’s ContentID or the EU’s Article 13, monitoring user activity for copyright protection necessarily entails creating a surveillance infrastructure, which will inevitably be abused. Automated copyright systems also fail to understand nuance, and issue false positives that violate Fair Use and other public interest exceptions to copyright.

But as so-called “pirate sites” and “illegal file sharing” continue to spur more and more draconian laws, perhaps we need to examine the issue more deeply. Because the root of this problem might not be content piracy at all, but a lack of understanding about the purpose of copyright and the idea of “digital goods”.

The idea of copyright emerged in the 18th century, following the creation of the printing press. The ability to easily print books threatened the income of writers, and so the government created laws to protect their right to benefit financially from their work. This began with laws like the British “Statute of Anne” and the Copyright Clause in Article 1 of the US Constitution.

At the time, copyright was a temporary and limited monopoly right. This encouraged the investment of time in the creation of new works. However, after a period of time for the creator to profit, the work would enter the public domain, allowing society as a whole to benefit from it. The needs of the creator were balanced with the public good.

As time went on, however, things changed. The length of copyright was extended. Intellectual property rights came to be owned not by individual creators, but corporations. And copyright was seen less as a temporary right to publish, and more as a permanent property right. In the US in particular, the length of copyright was extended every time Mickey Mouse was about to enter the public domain. The Walt Disney Corporation wouldn’t want to lose its most valuable property, now, would it?

But as the rights of copyright holders were expanded, the public good suffered. When the right to profit from a created work is virtually infinite, there’s less incentive to create new works. Even worse, copyright has had a profoundly negative impact on the preservation of older works. Anybody who attempts to restore, remaster, or archive an old movie or song could potentially be sued for copyright infringement by a rights holder, even when the work is no longer available. This has led to books and songs literally disappearing from the world, as making archives of them is literally a crime. There’s also the “orphaned works” problem, where the original copyright owner is unknown, so their work can’t be used for fear of potential future lawsuits.

But the biggest problem with modern copyright law is the emergence of the digital age, and the ability to render creative works in digital form. Modern copyright law is still rooted in an old concept of discrete physical copies. Books are printed on paper, CDs stamped out of plastic, etc. Making illegal copies used to be difficult and costly, and was usually only done to sell the copies for profit.

But now, digital reproduction is as easy as hitting Control C and then Control V on your keyboard. Data can be sent halfway around the world in seconds, at near zero cost. Many internet users violate copyright laws in small ways every day, without realizing it. Have you ever copied a photograph from a website and messaged it to someone? Or posted it on an imageboard? Congratulations, you could be guilty of copyright infringement. If that seems unreasonable, then maybe we need to rethink how copyright law should work in the modern world.

Of course, creators should still be able to profit from their works. The reasons given 300 years ago still make sense today. But protecting intellectual property rights at the cost of other more important rights (such as communications privacy and free speech) is an insane solution. If you create a surveillance panopticon just to protect the financial interests of companies, you create a net loss to society.

If companies and creators want to thrive in the digital age, they need to accept the new reality and try to serve this new market. First, they need to accept that they can’t treat digital contents as “goods”. Information cannot be treated as a commodity because it has no scarcity; it can be reproduced and distributed at near zero cost. Additionally, digital distribution means the logistics costs are drastically lower. Considering this, the price of most digital contents are unneccesarily high. And companies that refuse to embrace digital distribution are just putting unneccesary barriers between themselves and their customers, which does nothing but reduce their sales.

In addition, they need to accept that “remix culture” is a part of the internet. From MAD videos to photoshop competitions, non-profit remixing is a natural part of how people enjoy media online. This is far from harmful to copyright holders. On the contrary, this is how many people learn about new works, and some of them go on to be paying customers.

Finally, contrary to what most companies think, users want to support creators that they like. If a creator builds goodwill with his audience, they’ll support him out of appreciation more often than not, even if they could easily copy his work for free. But if the creator is hostile to his audience, don’t be surprised if they’re hostile in return.

While many people want to treat piracy and copyright infringement as a legal problem, the fact is, it makes more sense to treat it as a marketing problem. If the price and the market model don’t reflect the demands of the market, piracy will emerge as a consequence. But if creators adjust their model to meet the demands of the market, they might find that the problem solves itself without the need for any laws at all.

Of course some companies, especially the very large and very old ones, will refuse to change. But the scribe and the buggy whip maker tried to resist the rise of the printing press and automobile respectively. And the only place either of them belong now, is in the history books.

This was ANONYMOUS NO KENKAI, and until next time…MACHIUKENASAI.

アノニマスの見解 Ep.10: フィッシング・バカ日記

Hello again, Internet. And welcome back to ANONYMOUS NO KENKAI.

Almost exactly one year ago, in March of 2017, we talked about surveillance and the cost of enforcement in Episode 3. At the time, the Japanese government was steamrolling through the Conspiracy Law and giving the Police worrying new powers to spy on the population.

Since then, we’ve heard very little about the Conspiracy Law, or government surveillance in Japan. But no news is not necessarily good news. Covert surveillance being what it is, we often only hear about it when it’s already too late, and rarely through mainstream channels. In fact, there’s reason to believe that the Japanese government is actively involved in monitoring its citizens right now. But as usual, to understand how, we need to look at some other news.

In October of 2017, Kaspersky Labs discovered a new breed of Android malware, which it named “SkyGoFree”. When news about SkyGoFree started appearing in early 2018, it was obvious this was a cut above your common Android trojan. Rather than serving up spam or installing crypto miners, SkyGoFree gave the attacker full control of the device. It could track location, record audio and keystrokes, and exfiltrate all data, including from the clipboard. It even had the ability to use “geofencing”; If GPS data showed the device was inside a target location, the microphone could automatically start recording and send the data to a remote server.

SkyGoFree also had custom payloads that targeted specific Social Media applications, including Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber, and (of particular interest to Japanese users) LINE. It could also secretly connect to malicious wifi hotspots, even if the user had wifi deactivated, making it easier to monitor targets.

Fortunately, SkyGoFree can’t very easily install itself on a target device. The usual method for infection is to direct a target to a fake website that imitates their mobile carrier, then trick them into downloading and installing an infected APK. SkyGoFree victims were almost exclusively found in Italy, so this isn’t a worldwide phenomenon. But the capabilities of this malware suggested it wasn’t some low level criminal operation. SkyGoFree was very likely developed as a Lawful Intercept tool for government and corporate use.

Who made SkyGoFree? That remains unknown, but Kasperky’s analysis of the source code found two things. First, comments were written in Italian. Second, certificates and control servers repeatedly used the word “negg”. Most media outlets talking about SkyGoFree have been careful to avoid making any accusations…it’s good way to get in legal trouble, so that’s understandable. But the fact is, there is an Italian IT company called “Negg International”, which offers cyber-security and mobile app services.
誰がSkyGoFreeを作ったかまだ不明です。でもカスペルスキーによるソースコードの分析に基づいた2つの手掛かりがあります。まず第一に、ソースコードのコメントはイタリア語で書かれました。第二に、「negg」という名前は認証と指令管制サーバーで用いられます。法的責任を恐れ、ほとんどのニュースサイトは非常に用心してSkyGoFreeについて報告していましたが、実は「Negg International」というイタリアのITセキュリティーとモバイルアプリ企業が存在します。

Attribution in cyber-security is notoriously difficult, and while the evidence pointing at Negg is compelling, it could just as easily be a red herring to throw off investigation. However, Italy is no stranger to spyware manufacturers. The now-infamous “Hacking Team” was an Italian company, after all. And after their fall from grace, it’s hardly impossible to imagine others would try to fill the gap.
サイバーセキュリティの世界にあって、責任帰属は非常に難しい問題です。Negg Internationalを示す証拠は有力ですが、真犯人は発覚を避けるための煙幕を作ったという可能性もあります。しかしそうは言っても、イタリアはマルウェア開発企業になじみがあります。評判の悪い「Hacking Team」はイタリアの企業でした。Hacking Teamが信用を失墜した後で、他の企業が市場の隙間を埋めると思ってもおかしくはないでしょう。

Now on to our second story. In March of 2018, The Citizen Lab reported that Egyptian and Turkish ISPs were redirecting non-HTTPS traffic to phishing sites that infected them with FinFisher brand government spyware, as well as cryptomining malware. This redirection was made possible by a piece of equipment called a “middlebox”, which transforms, inspects, filters, or otherwise manipulates traffic that passes through it.
次の話に進みましょう。2018年3月に、Citizen Labという人権団体の報告によると、エジプトとトルコのプロバイダーはユーザの暗号化されていないウェブトラフィックを偽サイトまでリダイレクトし、FinFisherという政府向けスパイウェアまたは仮想通貨マイニングマルウェアを感染させたという新事実が明らかにされました。これは「ミドルボックス」というネットワーク装置によって可能となりました。プロバイダーはミドルボックスを使って通信を傍受し、リクエストに応じて変更を加えることができます。

The middleboxes in question were PacketLogic brand devices, manufactured by a Canadian company, Sandvine (which was merged with an American company, Procera Networks, in 2017). Among other things, PacketLogic middleboxes are capable of something called “deep packet inspection” or “DPI”. This lets them study the contents of user web traffic, and change, redirect, or block it as desired.
問題になっているミドルボックスは「PacketLogic」というブランド名の装置でした。メーカーは「Sandvine」というカナダの企業です(そして2017年にProcera Networksというアメリカの企業と合併されました)。他にも多数の機能がありますが、Packet Logicのミドルボックスにはディープ・パケット・インスペクション(DPI)の機能があります。DPIを利用すれば、プロバイダーが通信の内容を傍受、変更、リダイレクトが可能で、思うがままにブロックすることができます。

Using Sandvine equipment, ISPs in Turkey and Egypt would detect unencrypted web traffic and redirect it to phishing sites, most likely at the request of the government, who could use spyware infected phones to spy on their citizens, and use cryptominers to fund their own black budgets.

So why is this important? What do Italian Android spyware and Turkish ISP middleboxes have to do with surveillance in Japan?

First of all, it’s already known that the Bureau of Public Security was in the market for Italian spyware in 2014. At the time they were buying Hacking Team’s “GALILEO” software, but it’s unknown whether they actually purchased it, or whether they used any other suppliers.
先ずは、2014年に日本の警視庁公安部がイタリアのスパイウェアの購入を希望していたことは既に知られています。あの時に彼らはHacking TeamのGALILEOスパイウェアを買おうとしましたが、結局Hacking Teamまたは他の供給者のスパイウェアを買ったかどうかは知られていません。

Regardless, the fact that they want spyware makes it safe to assume they intend to use it, and that they’ll seek to keep their spyware arsenal up to date. It is well within the mandate of Public Security to monitor anti-war, anti-globalism, and other social movements. The Conspiracy Law only makes it easier for them to do so.

Secondly, the same PacketLogic devices used in Turkey and Egypt also exist in Japan. In July 2015, Procera announced that Softbank would use PacketLogic middleboxes for their LTE network. It’s unknown whether these devices are deployed on other telecom carrier networks, but it’s likely they have similar equipment.
次は、エジプトやトルコに利用されたPacket Logicミドルボックスは日本にも利用されています。2015年7月に、Procera Networksは、ソフトバンクがPacket LogicをLTEネットワークに使用すると発表しました。他のテレコム会社が使うかどうかは知られていませんが、類似の装置は利用されている可能性は少なくないでしょう。

So, to recap: Public Security is responsible for monitoring social movements. Public Security almost certainly uses spyware. At least one Japanese telecom giant uses equipment that can infect smartphone users with spyware. And the Conspiracy Law makes it legal to use spyware on civic groups. Is the Japanese government actually doing this? Maybe. But doo they have the ability to do it? Absolutely.

We said this one year ago, but it bears repeating: if you are part of any social movement in Japan, you cannot afford to assume you are not a target. Even one lapse of judgement with your smartphone can turn you into a walking wiretap. Cyber-security is everyone’s problem, and it only takes one person to compromise the security of an entire group. So if you don’t want to be the weakest link, here’s some advice for you to follow:

Always check the URL of a site you visit, especially if you need to enter passwords or other sensitive data. Phishing sites often use similar-looking URLs, so if you feel something is suspicious, check carefully. Also, make sure the site is using HTTPS. You can usually see a green lock icon next to the URL. If a site that looks like your mobile provider or internet company is pressuring you into downloading an “update” or “virus cleaner”, consider that it might be a trick and do some research first.

If possible, use different devices for your activism and your daily life. If you have a smartphone you use for casual web surfing and social media, do not use it to communicate with your activist group. You’re more likely to visit infected sites or click on links during personal web surfing, so using the same device for both increases your risk considerably. It’s easy to go to a used electronics shop and buy a seperate laptop, phone, or tablet cash and carry. For bonus points, install a non-commercial OS like Qubes, Copperhead, or at least Lineage.

Don’t use the same accounts either. Even if you have to use the same device, using personal e-mail or social media accounts for activism is dangerous for the same reasons. Ideally, you should be using non-commercial open-source services hosted outside the country for things like e-mail and cloud storage.

Using a pocket wifi device is better than using an internal SIM card, or public wifi. Personal pocket wifi gives you more control over when your device is connected or not, as well as how many people are using the connection.

Use Tor or a out-of-country VPN for all online activism. When connecting your devices to the internet, you need to remember that your ISP is probably helping to spy on you. An encrypted tunnel to an out-of-state VPN makes it harder to monitor or tamper with your traffic.

Don’t use Apple products for activism. iCloud may be safe against most criminal hacking attempts (usually), but Apple has been happy to cooperate with government spying requests in China and elsewhere. iPads and iPhones are also harder to modify and change OS on. Android is far from perfect, but at least it gives you more options.

Similarly, don’t use big name social media for activism. Find and use an open source platform that does not rely on the central control of a commercial entity. Like Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and LINE will share your information with the police if ordered to.

Encrypt. Everything. Always. Never ask yourself if it’s necessary. It’s always necessary. It costs you nothing but time, and a little effort in the short term can save you a lot of trouble later on.

And finally, encourage all your members to share the same security practices. You can have the best security in your group, but if everybody else is infected with spyware, it doesn’t matter.

As the world spins deeper and deeper into dystopia, cyber self-defense becomes more and more a crucial life skill. If you get lazy about your security now, you might find it’s far too late when you come to regret it.

This was ANONYMOUS NO KENKAI, and until next time… MACHIUKENASAI.