アノニマスの見解 Ep.21: デジタル庁の夜明け

Hello internet. And welcome back to ANONYMOUS NO KENKAI.

And how are you all enjoying 2021? With special guest appearances by two of the four horsemen…

Thankfully, Japan has managed to avoid some of the worst effects… so far, at least. There aren’t any shortages of fuel or food, and riots aren’t engulfing our cities. To the untrained observer, the worst of Japan’s current worries are wasteful spending on the Olympics and the incompetent bungling of an online vaccine reservation system.

But there’s a bigger threat lurking on the horizon, disguising itself under a layer of boring paperwork and government bureaucracy. The subject of today’s video…the Digital Agency. We’ve mentioned it before, but it deserves its own video for the threat it poses. Because the Digital Agency has the potential to centralize too much government power in too few hands, creating an unaccountable surveillance state. Or even worse, it could covertly place this surveillance apparatus under the control of multinational IT corporations.

But let’s begin with some background. Many in Japan have probably heard of the Digital Agency by now, if not the slogan they use to promote themselves… “Government as a Startup”. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga made it a central policy of his administration in 2020, with the basic direction decided in November last year. The Agency is set to begin operations on September 1st 2021.
とはいえ、まずは背景についての解説から始めましょう。今まで「デジタル庁」というこれから新設される省庁名について、…もしくはここのキャッチコピーである「Government as a Startup」をお聞きになったことがあるでしょう。2020年に菅総理大臣はデジタル庁を看板政策にしました。そして去年の11月に基本的方向性が定まりました。デジタル庁は今年の9月1日に発足します。

The Digital Agency will be responsible for the administration of government IT on the national as well as the local level, creating a unified standard to replace the current silo approach where each ministry or local government create their own (sometimes mutually incompatible) systems in isolation. To do this, the Agency will have (or at least appears to have) strong supervisory authority over the IT budget and planning for other parts of government.

The Digital Agency will also be in charge of the “digital transformation” of Japan… where the penetration of information technology “changes people’s lives for the better in every way”. To this end, the Agency is to be given control of the MyNumber system from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and will push to distribute the unpopular MyNumber Card to almost all citizens by the end of 2022.
デジタル庁はさらに、日本のDX(デジタル・トランスフォーメーション)をという分野を担当します…「 ITの浸透が、人々の生活をあらゆる面でより良い方向に変化させる」という概念ですね。そのために、マイナンバーの所管は総務省からデジタル庁の一元的な体制に移行し、2022年度末には全国民にマイナンバーカードが隅々まで行き渡ることを目指すと言われています。

All of these decisions have been made with a speed uncharacteristic of the Japanese government. Only six months after the Agency’s direction was decided, six new bills related its establishment and operation were enacted. Takuya Hirai, current Minister for Digital Reform and future head of the Digital Agency itself, commented that he was surprised at the “unusual speed” of these decisions.

So far this isn’t particularly alarming, though. The government is good at setting up agencies and committees, and most of the time they end up mired in red tape and incompetence. But unfortunately, the story doesn’t end there.

As future head of the Digital Agency, Takuya Hirai had a history with the private sector before his career in politics started. He worked in Japan’s famous (or infamous) advertising agency Dentsu for six years, then worked as the president of “Nishinippon Broadcasting Company”, a regional TV and radio company, for 12 years.

During his political career, he has also been a strong proponent of modernization and digitization. In 2013, he was instrumental in lifting a government ban on using the internet for election campaigning, as well as pushing for other IT and cyber-security related laws.

His history in the private sector may have an influency on his plans to staff the Digital Agency. Of the 500 planned staff, around 100 are to be recruited from private sector IT companies. Which companies exactly is still unknown, but the Agency will operate a “revolving door” policy, where staff move back and forth between the private sector, national government, and local government positions.

So why is this a problem? Are we against modernizing or streamlining government services? Not exactly. It’s true that coordinating policy between different Ministries and levels of government would make it faster and easier to manage the day-to-day bureaucracy of Japan. Unfortunately, this idea also has many drawbacks, most of which the government of Japan either doesn’t care about, or doesn’t want you to think about.

For one, the “digital transformation” of government bureaucracy on every level means that all government paperwork would be stored in “the cloud”…which is to say, government computers that are not only perpetually online, but organized using a single unified system. This creates a single target for attackers to aim at, and one security vulnerability could potentially expose the personal, financial, and medical information of every Japanese citizen to both criminals and foreign governments.

In the past few months alone, multiple failures or breaches of government cybersecurity have made headlines. The Ministry of Defense’s poorly managed vaccine reservation system was found to be rife with vulnerabilities, and unauthorized access to a software tool designed by Fujitsu lead to data leaks from Japan’s national cybersecurity center, two ministries, the Narita International Airport Corp, and the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee.

Given this litany of failure, it seems obvious that the government is incapable of securing the data it already has. Is it really wise, then, to increase the amount of data they hold, or to centralize the way they hold it? When each part of government manages its own IT systems, at least the damage of a single vulnerability is contained to that system. The unified approach espoused by the Digital Agency would allow a single vulnerability to potentially affect the entire country. And when leaked personal information exposes Japanese citizens to fraud, crime, or worse, it doesn’t seem likely that the government will give them any assistance defending themselves, or compensate them for any damage.

But worse than incompetence is malice. The Digital Agency creates vast potential for both the government and private corporations to abuse the information under their control.

The centralization of all government IT systems makes the creation of Chinese style surveillance easier than ever. The “strong supervisory authority” granted to the Digital Agency would allow it access to systems held by other parts of government. One of these may be the National Police Agency or NPA.

In 2013, the NPA was given access to “XKEYSCORE” by the American NSA. XKEYSCORE is a program that collects and analyzes global internet data. Given that the jurisdiction of the NPA is largely domestic, it seems reasonable to assume they’re using XKEYSCORE to monitor the online communication of Japanese citizens.

In 2019, the NPA acquired blockchain surveillance technology to monitor transactions of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other popular cryptocurrencies.

As IT-based systems, it seems reasonable to assume that the Digital Agency will have some level of access to both systems. And since the Digital Agency operates at the Cabinet level, and answers directly to the Prime Minister, national cybersecurity is hardly outside their jurisdiction.

The Digital Agency’s control over the MyNumber System also means it has access to records from the Ministry of Finance, given the connections to banking information and taxation.

Access to the surveillance powers of XKEYSCORE and blockchain surveillance from the NPA and financial information via MyNumber would allow to Digital Agency to not only collect all this information under one roof, but potentially to aggregate it. Functionally speaking, this is a Panopticon, where every aspect of a citizen’s life is monitored and recorded. Even if the current government doesn’t want to abuse this power, no barrier exists to prevent future administrations from doing so.

But the inclusion of the private sector only makes matters worse. Modern internet companies use surveillance as a source of profit. Google and Facebook are the most famous foreign examples of this, but Japanese IT companies are no different. The data collected under the Digital Agency is valuable to these businesses, and the “revolving door” policy for allowing private sector staff to easily enter and exit government positions creates the potential for backdoor access to this data, and inappropriate relationships with the government staff tasked with guarding it.

Even though only Japanese citizens are allowed to work for government, a Japanese citizen who moves between the Digital Agency and a foreign IT corporation creates a security threat. Limiting this to domestic corporations only doesn’t necessarily reduce the threat either. “Merchants have no country”, as the saying goes. Every company wants money, and valuable data acquired by a Japanese business can still be sold or traded overseas.

But the threat of the private sector isn’t limited to what they can take away from the Digital Agency, but also what they can bring into it. J.Score, for example, is a private company that gathers data on its users to assign them an “AI Score” which can offers rewards or financial lending…worryingly similar to systems like those created by Alibaba or Tencent in China.

J.Score is a joint venture by Mizuho Group and Softbank, two Japanese companies. Staff rotating between those companies and the Digital Agency would make it much easier to incorporate J.Score into a national Social Credit system like China’s. Remember, China initially authorized private companies to trial Social Credit as business ventures before adopting those same systems as a method of population control. There’s no reason to believe the same thing can’t happen to Japan.

As we’ve amply demonstrated, the potential harms of the Digital Agency far outweight any benefits they offer. But of course, this leads us to the question… what can we do about it?

Sadly, when the government is involved, there’s often little we can do to stop it. The Digital Agency will begin operations on September 1st, no matter what the citizens of Japan think or say. And refusing to give information to the government would not only make one’s life difficult, but in many cases is actually illegal.

So if our information is going to be stored in a government cloud where every hacker and corporation will steal it anyway, the very least we can do is attempt to minimize the amount of information they have.

The ability for XKEYSCORE to datamine your communications can be limited by using onion routing software like Tor or Lokinet, or a trusted VPN for daily internet use. On top of that, using software the incorporates End-to-End Encryption without requiring personal information also limits what information can be collected on you. Messenger applications like Session or the Matrix Protocol are good choices here, while mainstream applications like LINE or Facebook Messenger should be avoided at all costs. Software like OnionShare also allows short-term communication and data sharing with greater privacy and anonymity.

For social media and video, remember that companies like Twitter, Facebook, and Google are eager partners in surveillance around the world, including Japan. Using alternatives like Odysee, or federated systems like Pleroma and PeerTube on the Fediverse makes monitoring your online activity a little more difficult.

Operating Systems are no less guilty of cooperating with surveillance. While control over hardware is difficult for most people, there are options for control over software. Using Linux on PC, and either Lineage or Graphene on Android devices makes automated surveillance of your device more difficult. iPhone and Mac users… sadly, there’s little good news for you. You can choose to trust Apple if you wish, but otherwise you might want to look into new hardware.

On the financial side, avoid Cashless systems like PayPay at all costs. No matter how convenient they are, they record and share data on every transaction you make, and in the future they could be used to restrict your ability to spend your own money. Using physical cash for day to day transactions is still the most private way to do business. As long as cash remains popular and well circulated, businesses will be more hesitant to refuse it, and the government will have more difficulty trying to phase it out. India’s disastrous attempt at demonetization in 2016 failed in large part because cash remained so popular among so many. The more we insist on using cash, the harder it is for the government to get rid of it.

To escape blockchain surveillance, use privacy-respecting cryptocurrencies like Monero, Oxen, ZCash, or others. Rather conveniently, Japanese crypto exchanges were pressured into delisting these coins years ago. But fortunately, the decentralized exchange Bisq is available in Japanese. Buying Bitcoin or Ethereum with Japanese yen, and then converting it into privacy coins via Bisq is one path to restoring financial privacy in online, electronic payments.

Lastly, remember that not everybody in Japan is ready or willing to escape the systems of surveillance that are being created. The majority of Japanese citizens either don’t know, or don’t care about the threat of surveillance, and that thought alone makes it easy to fall into despair. But even if only 1% of Japan cares enough to actually do something, that can still be a community if we pull together and support each other.

We may be a small fraction of society, but using and sharing tools that allow us to secure our freedom and privacy creates a viable alternative to the Surveillance State being built by governments and corporations. And when those systems of control become too unbearable for the majority to tolerate any longer, we’ll be ready to grow and push back against the threat of the Digital Agency.

This was ANONYMOUS NO KENKAI… and until next time, MACHIUKENASAI.
これはアノニマスの見解でした… そして次回まで、待ち受けなさい。


アノニマスの見解 Ep.20: 「グレート・リセット」を防ぎ止めよう

Hello everyone. And welcome back to ANONYMOUS NO KENKAI.

The year 2020 is over, and a new year has begun. And as many people have come to realize, our problems don’t go away just by making a number increase. If anything, they’ve probably gotten worse. And promise to grow worse yet.

Of these problems, one of the biggest might be the (completely justified) loss of faith in mainstream institutions… particularly news media. To anybody paying attention, mainstream media has always been biased propaganda, of course. But over the last few years they’ve been doing a remarkably bad job of hiding it… to the point where even the common person in the street is starting to notice. And the vacuum created by this loss of faith is, unfortunately, filled by opportunists and lunatics in equal measure.

Now, I’m not saying this is necessarily by design… but it does result in a fog-of-war effect with regards to information online. Every nugget of truth is buried beneath overconfident speculation and straight-up lies. Hiding the truth in the age of information may not be easy, but a high enough noise-to-signal ratio makes it very difficult to verify, let alone find.

Case in point, the “Great Reset”. You may have heard the name before, but what exactly it is depends on who you ask. To some groups, it’s a plan by the World Economic Forum (WEF) to overthrow sovereign nations and install a communist one world government. To others, it’s a go-nowhere moonshot project cooked up at the Davos forum and doomed to failure. And to the media propagandists, it’s a fabricated conspiracy theory with no connection to reality.

Rather than argue over which version is correct, we’d like to cut through the fog of war entirely and examine the World Economic Forum’s own website on the Great Reset, where they make no effort to hide the fact that it does, in fact, exist and is being seriously considered by several world leaders. And as we’ll quickly see, even by the WEF’s own description, the Great Reset is a terrible idea that should never be realized.

The WEF begins by talking about the deep economic impact caused by COVID-19 lockdowns in countries across the world. These impacts are real, certainly… though largely caused by mandatory, government imposed closures enforced at virtual gunpoint. In the US and Europe in particular, businesses have been forcibly closed against the will of both owners and customers, and punishing fines have been given for the smallest infractions by the few businesses that are allowed to remain open. It’s interesting to note that a recent Standford study found “no clear benefits” to these lockdown measures… in other words, they did little to stop the spread of the Chinese virus. But they did, conveniently, bring about the “sharp economic downturn” that the WEF cites as justification for their plans.

“To achieve a better outcome, the world must act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions. Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed. In short”, says the WEF, “we need a ‘Great Reset’ of capitalism”.

What specific changes does this “Great Reset” involve? The WEF is short on specifics, but big on lofty rhetoric. According to their site, they want to “steer the market towards fairer outcomes” and for governments to “promote more equitable outcomes”. What exactly does this mean? Your guess is as good as mine, but words like “fair” and “equitable outcomes” are certainly red flags. They may conjure positive images in most people’s minds, but they’re also very subjective. What constitutes “fair” is an opinion that requires a central authority to determine, and where necessary, adjust outcomes to create the kind of “fairness” it envisions. This is completely different from “equality of opportunity”, where people are given the same starting conditions but have to achieve results through their own effort.
「グレート・リセット」はどのような変革をもたらすのか? WEFは言葉遣いは仰々しいですが、その中身は乏しいです。サイトによれば、「より公平性のある市場を目指し舵取り」をしたい、そして世界中の政府に「より公平な結果を促進すること」をしてもらいたい。具体的に何をすべきかは我々の想像に任せられたらしい。でも「公平性」や「公平な結果」という言葉遣いは、一目して肯定的なイメージを呼び起こしますが、これらの言葉は実際には極めて主観的であり、危険信号と言えるでしょう。何が「公平」で何が「不公平」であるかどうかは、それぞれ異なる個人同士の意見の問題だし、事実上、決定するためには中央権力機構が必要です。その中央権力機構が決定する「公平な結果」を実現するには「強制的な調整」も必要です。これは「機会均等」、つまり同じ出発点から自分の努力で結果を得ることとは全く違います。

We are given a glimpse, however, of the WEF’s vision of a post-Great Reset world in the form of their marketing material. As far back as 2016, the WEF’s Twitter account posted an image declaring that in the year 2030 “you’ll own nothing, and you’ll be happy”. Whether this was a suggestion, a promise, or a threat remains in question, since they deleted it last year after it started getting more negative attention than they wanted.
しかし、WEFは販促資料の形で彼らが部分的に「グレート・リセット後の世界観」を披露しました。かつて2016年に、WEFのTwitterアカウントはこの画像を投稿しました :「2030年、あなたの私有物は存在しなくなるだろう。だからこそ幸せになる」 これは提案なのか、約束なのか、それとも脅しなのか未だ不明ですが、その画像は去年に好ましくない形で注目を浴びた後、WEFが投稿を削除しました。

That image was based on a 2016 blog post by Ida Auken, a member of the Danish Parliament, who laid out her predictions for the year 2030 after the Great Reset was realized. These predictions include not owning your own clothing, sharing your house with random strangers, and living under round-the-clock total surveillance. Put simply, Ms. Auken’s idea of a perfect world was one where citizens owned no property at all, and only temporarily rented everything, including clothing and housing, from the government. Between “green energy” and recycling, Ms. Auken assumes there will never be a shortage of resources, and everybody can have whatever they want at any time.

After the post gained more attention, Ms. Auken attempted to clarify that this was not her utopia or dream of the future… but it’s very difficult not to read a tone of gushing praise in her predictions, nor the tone of condescension towards people who reject her fantasy world. As for the perpetual surveillance, her half-hearted concerns about it occupied a mere four sentences out of an 882-word essay. Hardly a balanced assessment of pros and cons.

It’s difficult to say whether Ms. Auken’s vision is representative of the WEF’s plans for the Great Reset, but the fact that her blog post made its way into their official PR material certainly suggests they approve of it. And that should be worrying for a number of reasons. No matter how utopian her vision of a post-scarcity future may be, it is built on the premise of stripping human beings of their agency. The reality of resource limits and the flaws of centrally planned economies means that inevitably, people will stop being able to get whatever they ask for, and will start being told what they can and can’t have… whether they’re happy with it or not. And when you own nothing, not even the clothes on your back or the roof over your head, this means your survival is completely dependent on whoever provides them to you.

The power to provide you with everything also necessarily means the power to deny you access to anything. Considering we already live in a world where mainstream political parties in the US or Australia are openly discussing denying banking or travel services to people for their political beliefs or medical decisions, it’s very believable to think a Great Reset government would happily do the same. Pair that with the total surveillance that Ms. Auken fully admits will exist, and you have the makings of a disturbing dystopia where you get to choose between total obedience to your benefactors, or being left a penniless outcast…similar to how Chinese Social Credit already functions.

Whatever the WEF’s real plans are for the Great Reset, it’s difficult to dismiss the whole thing as an impossible dream project. Leaders in the UK and Canada have already spoken in support of the idea, with terms like “build back better” as their slogan. And always insisting that COVID-19 has created a “small window of opportunity” that must be exploited quickly “before its too late”.

Rushed decision-making in a crisis is almost universally a bad idea, and sweeping changes to our society and economy should not be made by a small handful of oligarchs at the Davos Forum. Given that the WEF’s partners include Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and large firms with ties to the authoritarian Chinese government (to say nothing of other sinister, influential groups), there is almost no reason to believe the WEF’s ideas for a Great Reset will benefit the average citizen. Many of these partners are actively engaged in censorship and authoritarianism, and they will absolutely try to influence the shape of this new society to their own benefit. Far from Ida Auken’s utopia, the post-Great Reset world is more likely to be an Orwellian dystopia.
危機的状況の中で、重要なことに関して急いで決断してしまうと、物事は大抵劣悪な方向へ進むこととなります。また、とある判断が社会や経済にとって劇的な変化が伴う場合は、それをダボス会議に参加資格があるような、少数の選ばれたエリート達のみに任せるべきではありません。 WEFのパートナーの中にはグーグル、アマゾン、フェイスブック、アップル社、そして中国政府とつながりがある大企業(そして他の不吉な集団)も含まれていることも忘れないで欲しいのです。 WEFが計画する「グレート・リセット」という代物は一般の国民の利益になるわけがありません。そのパートナーの中には検閲や権威主義的な行為に賛同・参加する団体があまりにも多いのです。彼らはグレート・リセット計画に対し、自分たちの利益のために大いに影響を与えることでしょう。しかしそれは、イーダ・アウケン氏が夢想した理想的な世界とは程遠く、ジョージ・オーウェルが小説『1984年』で描いていたようなディストピアにすぎないでしょう。

Whether the Great Reset is a world domination plot or a foolish bureaucratic pipe dream, the threat it poses is the same. Sweeping changes on the scale the WEF proposes have all the same potential for damage either way. Rather than argue about the WEF’s intentions or loyalties, we’re better off focusing on our common area of interest: trying to prevent it from happening in the first place.
さて、一体グレート・リセットとは世界を支配するための計画なのでしょうか。それとも愚かな官僚支配主義的な妄想にすぎないのでしょうか。いずれにせよ、もたらされる危険は同じです。WEFが求めているような急激過ぎる変革は全世界の社会にダメージを及ぼす可能性が十分にあります。 WEFの本当の目的について議論するより、共通の目的に集中させる方が効果的です。

There’s no denying that problems exist in our societies and economies. And where an opportunity exists to make changes, it should be taken. But for these changes to be lasting and positive, they need to be created consensually by individuals and communities from the bottom up, not unilaterally by elites and oligarchs from the top down. The Great Reset is a bad idea, and the next time you see a wealthy executive or elite politician urging the need to “build back better”, you should remember that they don’t have your best interests at heart.

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

アノニマスの見解 Ep.19:アンチファの正体

Hello everybody. And welcome back to ANONYMOUS NO KENKAI.

Sadly, the descent into chaos and madness that is the year 2020 only seems to be accelerating month by month. Things are getting particularly dire for our American neighbors across the Pacific, as violent mobs burn cities, topple statues, and shoot bystanders under the pretense of protesting for social change.

It would be a mistake to say it’s only America’s problem, however. The same madness plaguing their country is starting to seep into Japan, and that brings us to today’s topic… Antifa.

For our overseas audience, the information in this video may be familiar, if not obvious. But what’s common knowledge abroad isn’t necessarily well-known in Japan, and one of our goals here is to inform our Japanese audience about the wider world.

In fact, some of our Japanese viewers may have heard the name “Antifa” before. Others might recognize their flags and symbols. Groups working under the banner of Antifa or their ideology have actually existed in Japan for many years… and I would know. Speaking personally, I’ve participated in some of their events in the past, though it’s an association I both regret and denounce now that I know them better.

More recently, Antifa flags have been seen at the numerous “Black Lives Matter” protests across Japan, to the degree where it’s fair to assume that their presence is both welcomed and encouraged by the BLM movement, such as it is.

But who, or what, exactly is “Antifa”? The answer to that question is more complicated than it may seem, in no small part because of the willful deception practiced by Antifa members themselves. So to understand the truth, we’ll need to peel back the layers of rhetoric and propaganda, and weigh their words against their actions.

But it is worth briefly looking at that rhetoric, if only to dismantle it. So let’s start with the first and most common fallacy:

“Antifa just means anti-fascist, so anybody who opposes fascism is Antifa”

This idea is a smokescreen often used to deflect criticism away from the ideology or actions of Antifa groups. This falsehood serves two purposes; it implies that opposing Antifa is morally equivalent to supporting fascism (an attempt to shame or silence criticism), and it whitewashes other, less palatable elements of the Antifa ideology such as the use of preemptive violence, or revolutionary Socialism.

When people say “Antifa”, they aren’t referring to the idea of being against fascism. They’re referring to discrete groups of individuals wearing a certain set of symbols, engaging in particular tactics (typically violent or coercive ones). Being opposed to fascism and hating Antifa are far from mutually exclusive.

“Antifa isn’t an organization, it’s just a set of ideas”

This one is interesting in that it’s technically true, but is often used in a misleading fashion. It’s certainly true that Antifa doesn’t have a top-down hierarchical structure, with a leader at the top giving orders to their forces around the globe. Antifa actually operates in a cell structure, with individual groups operating independently of each other following a common ideology.

This defense is often used to associate criticism of Antifa with supposed “conspiracy theories”. Saying that Antifa is a group isn’t the same as accusing them of them being a secret shadow army of the global elites.

The truth of the matter is, while Antifa may not function as a unified group, their organization makes it easy for them to be manipulated by outside forces. Many Antifa cells rely on outside sources of income, and that support can come with strings attached, or be selectively given to groups that align with outside interests. So while Antifa cells may be structurally and operationally independent, they can still be steered in a particular direction by whoever’s providing them with funding and resources.

So, beyond the rhetoric, what is the common ideology that unites these disparate Antifa cells?

It’s important to note that the concept of “Antifa” has existed at various points in history. In Germany in the 1930s, in the UK in the 1980s and 90s, and in Europe and North America from the 1990s onwards, just to name a few. There are common elements to these different iterations of Antifa, but for this video we’ll be focusing on the modern-day version in America, and its would-be imitators in Japan.

Fundamentally, there are two main elements to modern-day Antifa’s ideology. The use of coercive violence, and revolutionary Communism or at least Socialism.

Antifa uses coercive violence, or threats of violence, to terrorize critics and ideological opponents into silence. Antifa justifies this policy by claiming that their targets are fascists and that preventing them from having a platform to speak on, even peacefully, prevents them from gaining influence in society.

On both points, however, Antifa’s logic doesn’t hold water, and the claim that their targets are “only fascists” is extremely facetious. The reality is, anybody who opposes or criticizes them is conveniently labeled “fascist” in order to preemptively justify the use of violence. Alternatively, when targets are mistakenly attacked, the incident is either quietly ignored by Antifa or the target is retroactively labeled fascist to save face.

This creates a circular logic where any and all violence by Antifa groups becomes automatically justified. “I only attack fascists. I attacked that man, therefore he’s a fascist. If you oppose me or defend that man, you’re a fascist and I can attack you too”.

There are numerous incidents of violence by Antifa in America that illustrate this practice, and we’ll outline a few here:

The Berkeley Bike Lock Basher

On April 15th, 2017, an Antifa-affiliated man named Eric Clanton participated in counter action against a conservative speaking event on the UC Berkley campus. During the event, he used a bicycle lock as a weapon in multiple unprovoked assaults, seriously injuring three people.

The Portland Flag Incident

On August 4th, 2018, Paul Welch (a Bernie Sanders supporter) went to a rally carrying an American flag. In spite of the fact that he had nothing to do with the alt-right or fascism, he was attacked by multiple Antifa members leaving him with a bleeding wound and a concussion. Incidentally, Portland is the territory of “Rose City Antifa”, a named and branded Antifa cell mentioned in the Project Veritas leaks we translated for this channel. When reached out for comment, Rose City Antifa did not respond.
2018年8月4日に、ポール・ウェルシュ氏(バーニー・サンダーズ氏の支援者)はアメリカ国旗を持ちながらデモに参加しました。ウェルシュ氏がオルタナ右翼やファシストやらと無関係であるにも関わらず、複数人のアンチファメンバーに襲撃され、頭部に重症を負い入院しました。ちなみに、このチャンネルに翻訳し投稿された「Project Veritas」の動画で述べられたとおりに、ポートランド市は「ローズ・シティ・アンチファ」という団体の支配地域です。ローズ・シティ・アンチファはこの事件に関するコメントを求められましたが応じませんでした。

The Attack on Andy Ngo

In June 2019, journalist Andy Ngo was assaulted by an Antifa mob in Portland as he was documenting their march. In addition to putting Andy in the hospital with injuries, Antifa members also stole film equipment from him after he fled the violence. Prior to the event, Andy had been targeted by threats of violence from Antifa, presumably to discourage him from reporting.

The “Minds IRL” Event
「Minds IRL」イベント事件

In August 2019, American political commentator and vocal critic of Antifa Tim Pool hosted a speaking event titled “Ending Racism, Violence, and Authoritarianism”. This event included left- and right-leaning speakers, and focused on encouraging conversation between different political groups instead of violence. Both the event and the venues hosting it were targeted by violent threats from Antifa, including a threat to burn the venue down that nearly led to it being canceled.

The Tucker Carlson House Call

In December 2019, the “Smash Racism DC” Antifa group posted the home address of FOX News anchor Tucker Carlson. Shortly thereafter, a group of Antifa members gathered outside his front door to threaten his family.

These are only a few examples, but they adequately demonstrate how Antifa operates. In all them, Antifa uses indiscriminate violence, or threats of violence, against journalists, critics, and even just random passersby. The idea that their violence is limited to “fascism” is pure propaganda.

Several mainstream media outlets in America, most of them overtly partisan, run cover for Antifa by framing their events as “protests” and blaming the violence on other groups. Other Antifa-supporting individuals will claim the violence is done by infiltrators and provocateurs.

But among Antifa, there’s a popular saying… “respect the diversity of tactics”. In other words, even Antifa members who don’t personally participate in violence will provide support and cover for those who do. Nonviolent groups and protestors who “respect the diversity of tactics” assist more militant Antifa members by shielding them from police, and selectively framing responses to Antifa violence as an attack on the protest event itself.

Many will also participate in what they call “Black Bloc tactics”, where people dress up in matching black outfits and masks, to make it harder to identify individuals who participate in violence, letting them vanish into the crowd.

The use of violence aside, there’s also Antifa’s overt support for revolutionary Communism or Socialism. While I’m personally not a fan of either Communism or Socialism, it’s the “revolutionary” part that’s the bigger problem. Antifa like to advertise themselves as “Resistance fighters”, saviours out to stop the rise of fascism.

What many people fail to realize is that Antifa’s ideology views any government, particularly capitalist governments, as enemies that need to be completely overthrown. Few of them are happy to talk about the chaos, death, and destruction that will result from the process of doing so.

In the wake of George Floyd’s widely publicized death in police custody, various groups including Black Lives Matter and Antifa took advantage of public anger to launch a campaign of destruction that would result in countless more victims than police violence could ever hope to create. While the tearing down of statues across America was a symbolic image that resonated with many, it was the wanton destruction of homes, business, and neighborhoods that showcased just how bloody and painful Antifa’s revolution would be for the average person in the street. Antifa, of course, has no time to talk about the little people crushed under the wheels of their glorious revolution.

Even fewer members of Antifa are happy to talk about their plans for after the revolution succeeds. Some naively believe that Antifa’s goal is to create a more humane society for everybody by toppling the pyramid of power run by the elites.

In reality, Antifa’s goal is only to displace the elites, not to abolish the pyramid. Once existing power structures are toppled, Antifa and their backers will fill the vacuum, creating a new power structure with themselves at the top. What would such a society look like? For a sample, one need look no further than Seattle’s “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” or “the CHAZ”.

On June 8th 2020, the CHAZ was established when Antifa and other far-left rioters drove the police out of the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington and took over the police station. Following this, they built a set of big beautiful walls to keep foreign invaders out and handed out guns to loyalists to “keep the peace”. The results were very predictable.

In the space of a month, the CHAZ saw five shootings, two of them fatal, alongside other violence and abusive behaviour by CHAZ’s self-appointed militia. Antifa may have told everybody that they were protesting against fascism and police brutality, but as soon as they had control of even a small amount of territory, they immediately transformed it into a violent police state with themselves in charge. Expect more of the same if they ever succeed on a wider scale.

To be completely fair, it’s possible that some Antifa members want to oppose fascism but also oppose violence…and don’t “respect the diversity of tactics”. It’s also possible that naive or ignorant people participate in Antifa without fully understanding them. Again, I can point to myself as an example. To those people, our only advice is this. Look at the examples we’ve provided, look at the people around you, and ask yourself whether you want to be associated with a brand so deeply tied to violence and authoritarianism.

Back in 2008, Anonymous was started as a legal, peaceful, and largely fun set of protests against the Cult of Scientology. It later broadened into a global movement for freedom of expression online. But following Operation AntiSec in 2011, it began to morph into something else. Soon, groups of self-proclaimed hacktivists began to indiscriminately hack and threaten targets at random. Many lied and made up stories to justify their actions.

Around that time, we in Japan made a clean break from those other groups and their movement. We declared our adherence to legal, peaceful activities. We stood for the principle that creating victims and violating the rights of individuals is never justifiable. And we dedicated ourselves to creating tools and helping people communicate, instead of attacking and destroying.

Those who want to oppose fascism without creating victims, we invite you to break from Antifa, rebrand, and join us in condemning all forms of violence and authoritarianism by all groups, left or right.

And to all our viewers in Japan, remember this. The right to protest legally and peacefully is guaranteed in the Constitution, and should always be respected. But if you ever see these symbols in the ranks of the protestors, understand that it stands for violence and authoritarianism. It exists to exploit legal protests as cover for its campaign of terror.

If you’re a member of a protest and you see Antifa symbols, speak to your organizers about expelling them. If they refuse to expel Antifa, you may want to remove yourself from the protest completely. No matter what our politics may be, authoritarianism should always be our common enemy. Whether it comes in the form of State police violence or Antifa’s revolutionary violence, we can…and should…take a stand against it.

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

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 in total.

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 surveillance 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.

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.

アノニマスの見解 Ep.16:検閲屋からAdpocalypseまで

Hello everyone, and welcome back to ANONYMOUS NO KENKAI

It’s been a while since the last episode. 2019 has been an eventful year, and we’ve been busy with various projects. But at long last, it’s time to talk about something very close to home…YouTube.

It’s no secret that the platform has many problems, and the ones feeling the worst of it are the Content Creators. ContentID and malicious copyright strikes were already problems for a long time, but recently YouTube has been much more aggressive about Demonitization. Japanese viewers are almost certainly familiar with the problem…it’s so ubiquitous it’s mentioned by VTubers and non-political Japanese YouTubers alike.

Of course, in typical YouTube fashion, Demonitization is neither reasonable nor balanced. Videos are inexplicably demonetized for the smallest infractions, or sometimes no infractions at all, while certain channels can blatantly break the rules and suffer few or no consequences.

At the same time, the YouTube algorithm seems to promote large, corporate content more while burying small independent Creators. Meanwhile, the Media around the world seems to routinely demonize YouTubers, casting them in the most negative possible light at every opportunity.

But is all of this unrelated, isolated cases? Or could there be a common thread connecting these problems, and if so, what is it? This is a puzzle with many pieces, and before we can put them together, we first need to study them individually.

A lot of what we want to talk about here won’t be new for our English-speaking audience. This topic has actually been covered extensively by a variety of English language channels. But it isn’t covered so extensively in Japan, or at least not that I’ve seen, so it’s important to provide this information for local viewers.

When talking about the YouTube situation, we need to understand five different groups; YouTube itself, Content Creators, Corporate Advertisers, The Media, and the NGO/Activists (or “the Censors” as we’ve referred to them in a previous video). All of these actors have their own goals, but as we’ll see, many end up pushing in the same direction.

First, YouTube and the Content Creators. Many people think YouTube’s main purpose is to operate a video platform, but they’d be wrong. YouTube’s main purpose is to sell advertising space. The Creators are only useful to YouTube by giving them free content to advertise on, and attracting an audience to advertise to. This was more or less confirmed by a Washington Post report, where a former YouTube moderator claimed “our responsibility was never to the creators or to the users, it was to the advertisers”. Certainly, Content Creators can earn a small percentage through the Partner Program (unless they get demonetized), but in general the Creators are volunteer labor for YouTube’s bottom line.



Second, the Advertisers. Their goals are simple…they want to sell their products. YouTube provides them with a big audience of potential customers, but there’s one problem…not all of this content is “family friendly”. Having their ads appear next to controversial content creates the risk of bad press, which damages their brand. So they want to maximize their advertising benefit while minimizing their risk.

Next, the Media. Whether print, broadcast, or digital media, they’re the dying remnants of an old era. Based on an informal survey, both online and off, Japanese people below a certain age seem far more likely to get their entertainment from YouTube than anywhere else, and I imagine that pattern will hold globally. While the Media does often USE YouTube, they don’t generally make content FOR YouTube, which makes it difficult for them to compete directly with Content Creators. Media companies have huge budgets, hundreds of staff, and expensive equipment…but in many cases, they’re outperformed by individuals with nothing more than free software and a webcamera. Independent Creators are also usually better at making a closer, more authentic personal connection with their audience, something that old-guard Media companies can’t easily do.

Finally, the Censors…working through NGOs and activist groups. As discussed in ANONYMOUS NO KENKAI 13, these are people fixated on identity politics who want to force their worldview on others against their will, and for all opposing viewpoints to be silenced. They have connections inside YouTube and the Media, and exploit both to deplatform opponents and critics alike.

So how do all these pieces fit together? What’s the chain of events that led us to the present situation?

First, it starts with the Censors. For whatever reason, they decide a target needs to be deplatformed. This target could be an individual, or a group, but the tactics are the same. Using their contacts in the Media and NGOs, the Censors carry out a smear campaign of their target.

One famous example is Pewdiepie. Just one naughty word during a stream was enough for him to become the target of every major newspaper, branding him a neo-Nazi or worse. Another example is the so-called “Alternative Influencer Network”, or AIN. The AIN is a network of YouTubers outlined in a report by Rebecca Lewis, member of a left-leaning NGO called “Data & Society”. The report suggests that the “far right” uses this network of alternative media and opinion YouTubers to spread propaganda and radicalize people online.
有名な例は人気ユーチューバー「Pewdiepie」です。彼がゲーム実況ストリームの中の単なる1つの下品な発言のせいで、主要新聞に「ネオナチス」や「レイシスト」というレッテルを貼られました。他の例はいわゆる「オルターナティブ・インフルエンサー・ネットワーク」(別名:AIN)。AINは左翼系NGO「Data & Society」の会員「Rebecca Lewis」が作った報告書に述べられている政治的ユーチューバーのネットワークです。Lewisの報告によれば、このネットワークは人々を右翼系団体に採用するため、そして極右思想の宣伝するために使われていると思われます。

Naturally, the AIN report is plagued with bad data and massive leaps in logic. It made connections between YouTubers that didn’t make sense, and grouped all opposition to progressive talking points as “far right” for the purpose of problematizing it. The report was carefully analyzed and debunked by Software Engineer Mark Ledwich in a Medium post in late 2018, but by that point the damage had already been done, and arguably the AIN had fulfilled its purpose.
当然、AIN報告書は誤ったデータや論理の飛躍だらけです。Lewisは関係の全くないユーチューバーを無理やりにお互いに結び付けて、問題にするために広範囲の異なった批判の意見を「極右過激派」という誤ったラベルを貼りました。AIN報告書はソフトウェア・エンジニア「Mark Ledwich」のMediumブログで徹底的に分析され、暴露されました。とはいえ、その頃には、被害は既に与えられてしまっており、AINの本当の目標は達成されました。

While these sorts of tactics are seen less often in Japan, they do exist…Huffington Post Japan posted an article in early August talking about the “Intellectual Dark Web”, an almost identical smear campaign against academics who dared to disagree with liberal orthodoxy. HuffPo Japan ridiculously claims the members of this “Dark Web” are a “Dark Renaissance” that stands in opposition to human rights and democracy…claims that are as laughable as they are false.

Censors in the Media and NGOs push these smear campaigns, but the Media in general has every reason to help them. To mainstream Media, popular YouTubers are their competitors on this new platform. As such, every YouTuber that gets shut down decreases the market share of that competition. Business is war, after all.

Once the Censors and the Media have pushed their smear campaign far enough, eventually the Advertisers take notice (or are made to notice). Wanting to minimize the risk of brand damage, the Advertisers threaten to pull funding from YouTube if their ads appear next to all the “far right” content they’re hearing about in the news. Whether these reports are true or not, whether they’re fair or not is unimportant. The only thing that matters to them is brand image.

As major brands are a big source of income for YouTube’s advertising market, the site is quick to respond to their complaints. The rules suddenly become stricter, and channels find themselves mass demonitized for reasons that are hard to understand. This is what’s called an “Ad-pocalypse”…a name that should be familiar to English YouTubers, but may not be so familiar to Japanese audiences. An article on the site “Nuts & Freaks” is perhaps the best Japanese-language write up of the subject, and I encourage all viewers to read it to better understand this phenomenon.

While it sounds like YouTube is a victim in all of this, the fact is YouTube also has an interest in helping this process along…and not just because of the Censors within their own ranks. With thousands upon thousands of videos uploaded to YouTube daily, the supply of advertising space on the site is huge, which keeps the market value of advertising low. Reducing the supply of available advertising space means driving the market price of that advertising up…something YouTube would definitely be interested in.

Similarly, smaller independent YouTubers are harder to control and more likely to do or say something controversial, which upsets Advertisers. But big corporate channels don’t have that problem. And so the YouTube algorithm favors big corporate “family friendly” content while shutting out the smaller Creators, in order to keep the Advertisers happy.

In fact, YouTube may be going a step further in their desire to control their platform…by propping up YouTubers of their own creation. A YouTuber by the name of Jennelle Eliana has recently become wildly and inexplicably popular, getting thousands of views, likes, and followers seemingly out of nowhere. Many YouTube users have reported finding themselves automatically subscribed to Jennelle Eliana without having done so themselves.
実は、YouTubeは自身のプラットフォームをより直接的に管理するためにさらに一歩進めているのかもしれません・・・、Youtube運営側が自ら創ったユーチューバーを支援することによって・・・。というのも、最近「Janelle Eliana」という名前のアメリカ人ユーチューバーが、驚くほど早く人気になっています。短期時間にもかかわらず、異様に多くの視聴数や「いいね」、そして登録者数まで上がっています。多くのYouTubeユーザーがアカウントは何の確認・承諾なしに、自動的にJanelle Elianaのチャンネルと登録されたと述べました。

There’s too much to go into here and now, but in a nutshell it appears that YouTube is artificially generating Jennelle Eliana’s popularity…and given that YouTube is one big black box system, it’s certainly possible. But if it’s true, it would finally give YouTube total control over the ad space on their platform. And it would finally complete the transformation of YouTube from an open platform for the average everyman…into Cable Television 2.0.
話が長く成るので、今回は詳しい説明を割愛させてもらいますが、手短に言えばJenelle Elianaの人気は人工的に生じさせられている可能性が十二分にあります。YouTubeのアルゴリズムはブラックボックス・システムなので、視聴者の反応データを簡単に改ざんできます。でも、もしこれが本当の話であれば、YouTube上の広告スペースの完全な支配の最終段階の到達を意味します。そして、ようやくYouTubeの変化は完了されます。民主的ユーザー生成コンテンツのプラットフォームから、単なるケーブルテレビの第二世代に変化されるでしょう。

At the end of the story, once all the dominos have fallen, everybody has gained something. The Censors deplatform their targets. The Media weakens their competition. The Advertisers protect their brands. And YouTube drives the price of ad space up while reducing the risk of rogue users. The only party who loses in this scenario is you…the users and the Content Creators.

Of course, there will always be cases of demonetization that aren’t based on smear campaigns from the censors. Some Content Creators will take things too far on their own, and YouTube or Advertisers will respond on their own. But at the same time, the cycle of activist smears leading to Adpocalypse has happened too often to ignore.

So what do we do? In truth, the source of this problem is simple…YouTube’s near total monopoly over the video hosting space online. A monopoly that’s only made possible by the deep pockets of Google, or rather Alphabet Inc. And by the daily use and attention of us, the users and Content Creators.

The most painfully accurate thing said to me about YouTube was this: “the worst thing Google ever did is convince us that hosting video online was free”. At great expense, Google has provided us free space to host our videos, free services, and even free money in the form of the YouTube Partner Program. In exchange, they set our standards so high that no other company on Earth can possibly satisfy them.

Any competitor to YouTube will be unable to afford the same quality of service. So unfortunately, if we want to weaken Google’s grip on power we need to learn to settle for less.

PeerTube, a decentralized alternative we’ve promoted, does not offer advertising space or monetization for users. Individual instances need to pay for hardware or hosting, and for domain registration.

But what PeerTube does offer is true creative freedom and autonomy. No advertisers can complain about you, no YouTube staff can delete your channel. You and you alone control your experience online. That’s a price worth paying.

If you’re a Content Creator on YouTube, consider learning how to set up a PeerTube instance, or else creating an account on one that exists. If you’re a user, make the effort to seek your favorite Creators on alternative platforms, or encourage them to expand to those platforms if they haven’t already. For those who move to decentralized alternative networks, make the effort to support them financially if you can.

It won’t be easy, and it won’t happen overnight. But if real change is ever going to happen at all, it needs to start with you and me from the bottom up.

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

アノニマスの見解 Ep.15:”EUNOMIA”又は”私は如何にして心配するのを止めて社会信用システムを愛するようになったか”


Hello everyone. And welcome to another episode of “ANONYMOUS NO KENKAI”. And a very exciting episode it is, because we’ve got an insider leak of some interesting info about a project called “EUNOMIA”, in coordination with the Fediverse’s own “Free Speech Axis”.

Long time viewers of this series might remember Episode 5, where we talked about Mastodon, GNU Social, and Plemora. In particular, you might remember a man by the name of Gargron, also known as Eugen Rochko. He’s going to be important to this story, so you might want to go watch that episode if you don’t know why he’s important.
このシリーズの長年のファンは「マストドン、GNUソーシャル、Plemora」についての第5話を覚えてるかもしれませんね。特に、「Gargron」(別名Eugen Rochko)という男も思い出すかもしれないですね。彼がこの話にとって重要なので、新登録者はぜひ第5話をご覧下さい。

But first, let’s talk about “Fake News”. Fake News is a really big problem these days, if you listen to media and politicians. Spies, extremists, and scammers are all supposedly using the internet to spread fake stories and trick the public into believing the wrong information.

And of course, the same media companies and politicians are ready…eager, even…to offer solutions to the problem. Journalists name and shame online personalities. Silicon Valley companies like Facebook and Twitter routinely engage in purges of “fake news” from their platforms, silencing or even banning accounts that spread it. How exactly they discern fake news from truth remains a mystery, unfortunately…

Some governments, notably China, have taken stronger measures. China’s infamous “social credit” system does a lot of things, but apparently one thing that can reduce your national loyalty score is “spreading fake news”…of course, the Chinese government gets to decide whether news is fake or not. The military government in Thailand, meanwhile, has been very active in using its own “Computer Crime Act” to arrest its critics, claiming they spread “false information”.

But the civilized nations of the Western world insist that they’re different from their totalitarian counterparts. Their campaign against fake news is sincere, and in the best interests of democracy. Interestingly, though, they have little to say about the fake news they participate in creating. Fake news like the Covington High story, where multiple supposedly reputable American news outlets spent days reporting flat-out lies about a group of high school boys, while Twitter looked the other way as outrage mobs led by celebrities harassed and threatened children. Thankfully the truth was livestreamed, but where was their concern for fake news then?

Then there’s the RussiaGate scandal…two years of politicians and media companies insisting that US President Donald Trump was a secret Russian asset, until an investigation disproved it as conspiratorial nonsense. No matter one’s opinion on the man, these are reckless and irresponsible lies.

These are only two examples, but there are more…far too many to go into here. And in none of these cases do the media or politicians admit responsibility. Yet they want to tell us what news is fake or real?

The reality is, no matter where you go, its not uncommon for the authorities to say one thing and do another. And the unilateral solutions they impose always seem to create more problems than they fix.

And that brings us to our main topic, “EUNOMIA”…an EU initiative to create a software solution to solve the fake news problem. …yeah, I think you can see where this is going.

From the European Commission’s own website, they describe EUNOMIA as “a fully decentralised, intermediary-free and open-source solution for addressing three key challenges: which social media user is the original source of a piece of information; how this information has spread and been modified in an information cascade; and how likely it is to be trustworthy…EUNOMIA actively encourages democratic citizen participation in content verification by allowing voting on content trustworthiness and influencing the reputation of content generators and sharers”.

In other words, EUNOMIA is going to keep track of who said what, when, and where. It’ll track who shared that information, and with whom. Finally, it’ll host an online popularity contest to decide who’s telling the truth or not, and brand people with a number score based on the results. I think it should be clear how much of a bad idea that is. It sounds worryingly close to Chinese social credit.

But who cares, right? It’s just the EU, and Facebook and Twitter are already heavily censorsed hellscapes. Well, yeah…about that. Remember when we mentioned Mastodon and Gargron? Guess who’s on the list of contributors to the project…getting paid 63,290 euros to participate? Eugen Rochko, Gargron himself.
でも大した問題ではないでしょう?EUの問題ですし、FacebookやTwitterはすでに監視されてる。いえいえ、実際はその点には面白い話があるのです…動画の冒頭でマストドンとGargronさんについて述べましたよね?6万3千ユーロの引き換えに、誰がEUNOMIAの開発に参加しているのでしょうか?Eugen Rochkoさん、Gargron本人です。

Why would the creator of Mastodon be working on EUNOMIA? Maybe because Mastodon, and the wider Fediverse, is intended to be its testbed. In fact, the EUNOMIA project description itself clearly states that it is “ideal for evaluation on similarly open, decentralised and federated new social media networks”.

To be clear, the Fediverse…a decentralized federation of alternative social media services…is the place where people go to escape the censorship, authoritarianism, and surveillance of mainstream social media. It’s a place where they can speak freely and tell jokes without fear of being banned, or even arrested. What EUNOMIA proposes is to bring in the worst aspects of both mainstream social media and Chinese style social credit. No surprise it’s so unpopular.

Of course, the creators of EUNOMIA are quick to deny this. The project’s own Mastodon-dot-social account says it will “not in any way involve Mastodon social, and…will not involve anyone without their explicit consent”. All well and good, but it’s worth noting that we have no guarantee that this will always be true, or even if it’s true now.

Comparisons to social credit are also denied, since the project claims its purpose is “to assist social media users in determining trustworthiness of information”. In other words, it isn’t a central authority deciding what’s true, it’s just a tool to help other people vote on what they think is true. Personally, I don’t enjoy the idea of crowd-sourced social credit any more than the centralized variety. If anything, the outrage mobs and groupthink we’ve seen on Twitter makes me fear social credit by mob-rule even more.

But aside from that, there’s no escaping the reality that such a system would necessarily entail tracking and analyzing conversations, necessitating a panopticon-like surveillance of discourse across the Fediverse. Even if they claim that participation is voluntary, once the infrastructure is built, how easy would it be to just expand it after the fact? Or for other people to inherit the project and expand it later? This could especially be worrying to Japanese Fediverse instances, as these software tools will likely be localized and imported by certain characters if they prove successful in the EU.

Moreover, the idea of voting or scores to rate trustworthiness implies a system that discourages individuals making their own assessments about the truth, and instead blindly trusting the opinions of the majority. The creation of cliques and groupthink in such a system would be inevitable, and any search for truth would quickly be drowned out.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one who had these concerns, because somebody inside the EUNOMIA project decided to leak chat logs from their internal discussions. And some of the things they have to say only deepen my concerns.

For one, EUNOMIA will likely involve datamining instances via public APIs. No surprise, given datamining firms like SYNYO GmbH are key members of the project. They claim it will be opt-in and anonymized, but given the volume of data they’d likely need to build their models, its hard to believe that promise will last long. As for anonymisation, studies have shown how easy it is to re-identify users from aggregate datasets.
まず第一に、EUNOMIAはインスタンスの公開APIを使ってデータマイニングを行うそうです。「SYNYO GmbH」というデータマイニング企業がプロジェクトに参加するので、驚くほどではない事実です。収集はオプトインのみ、個人情報は匿名化されると言われますが、統計模型を築くために大量のデータが必要だと思います。自主的参加が足りない場合、その約束を守れるのでしょうか?そして匿名化について、データ匿名性を奪うのは意外と簡単だということを調査は示しています。

Secondly, EUNOMIA appears to be using some very questionable sources as reference for their models…namely the New York Times and Facebook. Remember, the NYT was central to spreading both the Covington High lie and the RussiaGate hoax. And Facebook has repeatedly been exposed as a biased actor in the way it controls how information trends on its platform. Hardly credible experts on identifying fake news when they couldn’t even identify their own.
第二に、EUNOMIAは統計模型を築くには信頼性に疑問のある情報源を利用している。特にNew York TimesとFacebook。忘れないてはなりません、New York Timesはコビントン高校とRussiaGateのデマを広めることに最大の影響を与えました。そしてFacebookがトレンディング・トピックを歪曲していることがすでに発覚しました。自分で作ったフェイクニュースを発見できなければ、情報の信用性を究明する資格があるのでしょうか?

Lastly, they internally refer to criticism of the project as “paranoia”, downplaying the validity of concerns and showing a lack of self-reflection, or even an understanding of why the Fediverse reacts negatively to them.

Bottom line, given the people involved, the histories of behaviour, and the attitudes on display, there are a lot of red flags surrounding the EUNOMIA project. What we can do to avoid it or mitigate the damage it may cause isn’t clear, yet. But identifying the threat is a good first step. The leaked info is linked in the description. I’d also like to make a Japanese translation eventually.

Fake News does exist, and it can be a problem, but it’s not going to be solved by an app or an algorithm. Technological solutions cannot fix human problems, and trust scores do nothing to encourage critical thought. If the goal of EUNOMIA is to help people determine trustworthiness without defining it, then objective metrics shouldn’t be involved at all, no matter how democratic the process leading up to them. The only thing that can help social media users to seperate fact from fiction is critical thinking, common sense, and personal responsibility when both producing and consuming information. And if they lack those qualities, then no piece of software is going to save them.

To every member of the Fediverse, the answer is clear; Say No to Eunomia. And Eugen…if you really want to make the Fediverse a better place, consider donating your 63,000 euro bribe to a media literacy program instead.

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

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。