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July 06, 2005


Jon Garfunkel

Funny how many people haven't read Lessig's CODE. If a government wanted to encourage peopel to use real names online, they could do so very directly, with no propaganda. They could simply state that all government websites require people who submit information to use digital certificates. I wouldn't be surprised that in five years there would be a lot less opportunities for speaking completely anonymously online.

I could go further down this explanation, but it's all in the book CODE.


ah, the part of the Kyodo News on the filtering part is not totally incorrect but the anonymity part is incorrect. it seemed like some reporter at the Kyodo News either 1) didn't read the regarding gov report published by the Ministry of internal Affairs and Communication (MIAC) correctly and presummed too quickly, or 2) wanted to make a heroic buzz.

most of news about Japan in English come from Kyodo, so if Kyodo writes incorrect news that spread internationally. you need to be a bit careful about depending too much on Kyodo News. there are more happnings it doesn't report.

something regarding to this episode was, (according to Japan's web news "IT Media" report) after this news appeared, bloggers in Japan actually had aggresive debates and blamed MIAC. such reaction made MIAC surprised and made it comment about it for clarification. also some bloggers found out the news of Kyodo News was very biassed. after many bloggers actually read the report, the debate became extinguished.

the report is more likely recommending to use psuedonyms and real names in educational field but not really talking about banning anonymity.

but "filtering in Japan" is different story tho. I know a person (a Japanese tech guy) who is tracking this issue nearly 10 years. he pointed out some subsidiary IT organization of Japanese gov is making filtering standard for software manufacturers and schools and also the organization has been trying to spread usage. it is quietlly spreading because once gov related entity makes a standard, schools mostly follow it without making questions.

and for technical part, as similar to findings of http://www.peacefire.org/ in the US, the standard for those filters is enclosed. however, things unlikely to the US is the organization is semi government body, cannot use "trade secret" to protect what is in it. he could obtain some of the filitering documents by using Japanese version of FOIA. but I heard many parts had been blacked out.


Japan is by far not a liberal state yet.

Take the public building architecture as an example: The Tokyo metropolis government building is so high and big, while the Tokyo metropolis parliament building is like a kowtowing subordinate at the feet of the government. :)


Privacy is an important part of liberty, just like freedom of speech.

A low level of control seems reasonable. I love your mention of a mission creep danger once the door is opened.

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