Bomb threat on Wikipedia Japan

On April 24, someone posted a bomb threat on Nagano station page on Wikipedia Japan targeting Olympic torch relay on April 26. The Wikipedia posting has been since deleted. The online and Internet security is a growing problem and changing its shape and size all the time. Here’s how Japanese government is coping with it.

Bomb threat on Wikipedia Japan Nagano police station received a report on April 24 about a bomb threat posted on Wikipedia Japan’s Nagano station page and Beijing Olympic page. The post said, “A hand made bomb will destroy Nagano station at noon on April 26. It will kill passengers, station workers and everyone there.” The post has been deleted, and Nagano police is investigating the case. Beijing Olympic’s torch relay is scheduled to go through Nagano on April 26.

User generated content is great, but it’s also true that the benefits of Web2.0 can also become issues and problems to the site owners and users. Beside the obvious issues such as:

  • too much information makes it difficult to find what you are looking for,
  • many conflicting information (not sure what to believe),
  • difficult to manage and to control new content,

I think it’s a bigger problem in Japan because of their tendency to:

  • believe what they read, especially on the popular sites and the authoritative sites,
  • believe that many user generated content are monitored and trustworthy,
  • believe that it’s secure and safe,

and sadly, the anonymity side of these application brings the worst of some people, which leads to problems like this bomb threat on Wikipedia, and hate messages on blogs and rapidly growing unofficial school sites.

Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) has “Web2.0 study group”. I’ve read their meeting minutes. The discussion has been focused on how to implement Web 2.0 application rather than the issues and the problems with them. MIC also has the Online Information Security site, which talks about the virus, spam mails, online shopping, security, privacy, phishing, etc., but nothing about the user generated content.

I value and believe in the freedom of speech, but I’m also concerned about these problems, which will only increase in near future, and won’t go away. Is it a site owner’s responsibility to monitor and manage the content? Maybe to the certain level, but if they over do it, it would kill what great about these applications.

Last year, Cabinet Office Government of Japan (CAO) conducted a survey about the Internet Security Awareness. It shows that 45% of people has concern about the safety of Internet, mainly about the scams and the security issues. I thought it was interesting that the online security issues related to dating sites and community sites were limited to children under 18 on that survey. More than 70% of people think that the site owner is responsible to monitor and manage the content.