Tag: ‘Security’

‘Mosquito’ teen repeller fails to stop vandals

24 Jun 2009

The Mosquito in Adachi ward, Tokyo --

A vandalized toilet at Kitashikahama Park in Tokyo's Adachi ward is raising questions about the effectiveness of the park's controversial new "Mosquito" alarm -- a device designed to repel teenagers by emitting an obnoxious high-frequency tone that only they can hear.

The Mosquito, which was installed at the park on May 21 to discourage teens from hanging out there after hours, now operates every night from 11:00 PM to 4:00 AM. The device produces a high-pitched tone of around 17 kHz, which is unbearable to teen ears. The sound has no effect on older people, as the ability to hear high frequencies declines naturally with age.

The broken toilet, which was discovered on the morning of June 21, appears to have been smashed with a baseball bat. Spent bottle rockets were also found at the site.

Surveillance camera footage showed what appeared to be as many as seven teenagers hanging out in the park in the early morning hours of June 21, while the Mosquito was in operation. Authorities were unable to determine whether the teens in the video were responsible for the vandalism.

According to Adachi ward officials, teen vandals inflicted 700,000 yen ($7,400) worth of damage in the park last year. Unable to solve the problem with extra patrols, the authorities began searching for new measures. They eventually turned their attention to the Mosquito, which is already in use at some Tokyo-area convenience stores plagued by loitering teens.

The prospect of using the Mosquito has been controversial, and critics question whether it is in the city's interest to use such a device that discriminates against young people as a group, even if they are responsible for causing problems. In the end, the officials decided to test the device at the park until March 2010.

The smashed toilet is first case of vandalism at the park since the Mosquito was installed.

[Source: MBS]

Cautious cosplay: Shokotan in hazmat suit

16 Mar 2009

Shokotan in hazmat suit --

"I am in danger. You are in danger. Japan is in danger. Protect yourself with yellow."

Shoko Nakagawa in hazmat suit --

So reads the text on a billboard advertisement at the west exit of Shinjuku station, the latest in a series of Norton Symantec security software ads starring multi-talented otaku idol Shokotan.

Shoko Nakagawa in hazmat suit --

Yellow suits her well.

(Thanks, randomcommenter, for the translation tip!)

Security firm proudly uses imitation Yahoo logo

16 Jan 2009

Yaroo Security logo --

The company logo for Yaroo Security, a security guard firm based in Tokyo's Katsushika ward, looks suspiciously like the one for Japan's most popular search engine. In this video, a camera crew visits Yaroo headquarters to ask about the resemblance.

A company spokesman flatly denies that their logo is an imitation of Yahoo's, although he admits, with a smile, that the logo designers did refer to it a little bit. Later in the interview (edited out), the spokesman explains that the name "Yaroo" is a play on the word "yaru" (meaning "do") -- a reference to their do-anything style of business.

NTT Firmo transmits data through skin

24 Apr 2008

RedTacton human area network -- NTT has begun selling a device that transmits data across the surface of the human body and lets users communicate with electronic devices simply by touching them, the company announced on April 23.

The new product, called "Firmo," consists of a card-sized transmitter carried in the user's pocket. The card converts stored data into a weak AC electric field that extends across the body, and when the user touches a device or object embedded with a compatible receiver, the electric field is converted back into a data signal that can be read by the device. For now, Firmo transfers data at 230kbps, but NTT is reportedly working on a low-cost 10Mbps version that can handle audio/video data transfers.

Firmo is based on NTT's RedTacton human area network (HAN) technology, which is designed to allow convenient human-machine data exchange through natural physical contact -- even through clothing, gloves and shoes.

NTT initially hopes this human area network technology will appeal to organizations looking to boost convenience and security in the office. Obvious applications include secure entrances and keyless cabinets that recognize employees when they touch the door handle (thus bypassing the need for card-swipers and keys), or secure printers that operate only when you touch them.

For now, a set of 5 card transmitters and 1 receiver goes for around 800,000 yen ($8,000), but NTT expects the price to come down when mass production begins.

[Source: RBB Today]

NEC helps Big Brother watch foreigners in Japan

15 Nov 2007

NEC fingerprint and face scanner --

To anyone planning a visit to Japan, please note: YOU WILL BE TREATED AS A POTENTIAL TERRORIST WHEN YOU ARRIVE. As many foreign residents in Japan are already painfully aware, a new law that takes effect November 20, 2007 will require non-Japanese people entering the country to be fingerprinted and photographed in the name of fighting terrorism.

Over the past few days, Ministry of Justice officials at airports across Japan have been staging promotional events and showing off the new hardware that will be used to collect the fingerprints and scan the faces of the estimated 5 to 6 million foreigners potential terrorists that enter the country each year. The devices, which proudly bear the NEC logo, consist of a monitor, two fingerprint readers (one for each hand) and a camera that captures mugshots. The devices are being installed at immigration counters nationwide so that you can be fingerprinted and photographed while immigration officials ask you the usual questions about the purpose of your visit and your intended length of stay. Your biometric data will then be stored for an extended period of time in a database, which law enforcement officials will somehow use to thwart terrorist attacks.

Under the law, called the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, all non-Japanese citizens -- except for state guests, visitors using diplomatic or official passports, people under the age of 16, and special status permanent residents (such as Korean nationals who grew up in Japan) -- are to be treated as potential terror threats and must be fingerprinted and photographed when they enter the country.

The new law makes Japan the world's second nation to fingerprint and photograph its foreign visitors. The United States was first.

Japanese lawmakers, who passed the law with little public debate, conveniently overlooked the fact that Japanese people -- not foreigners -- are the ones with a proven history of committing terrorism in Japan. Japanese citizens have been responsible for every terrorist incident in modern Japanese history (i.e. the Aum Shinrikyo gassing of the Tokyo subways in 1995). The fact that foreigners have no record of committing terrorism in Japan calls the government's true motives into question.

At the very least, if lawmakers truly believe that blanket fingerprinting and face-scanning is the way to prevent terrorism, then why not require all people in Japan -- citizens and non-citizens alike -- to keep their fingerprints and other biometric data on file? Without a doubt, NEC and other companies that develop biometric system hardware and software would be more than willing to supply the government with the equipment they need for the job.

Regardless, for now at least, the xenophobic government seems content with invading the privacy of millions of law-abiding foreigners who live, do business, visit and study in Japan each year.

Thanks a lot, Japan.

[Photos via Sankei, Asahi]

Rabbit-shaped police lights

26 Oct 2007

Rabbit light for Osaka police --

The Osaka Prefectural Police Department this year has reportedly purchased 800 rabbit-shaped roof-mount strobe lights for use on special patrol cars that cruise the streets around schools. Custom-built by warning equipment manufacturer Patlite, the blue bunny beacons are designed to win the admiration of children while they send the bad guys packing.

Here is a short video of the rabbit lights on display at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show.

[Via: Gizmodo Japan]

Steering wheel finger vein authentication system

23 Oct 2007

Hitachi biometric finger vein verification technology embedded in steering wheel --

Over the past few years, Hitachi's finger vein authentication technology -- which identifies individuals based on the unique pattern of blood vessels inside their fingers -- has appeared in everything from ATMs and computers to building entrances and cardless payment systems. Hitachi's latest development puts the biometric security technology inside the car steering wheel and couples it with a system that allows the engine to start only for drivers whose finger vein patterns the vehicle recognizes.

While providing an extra layer of security against car theft, Hitachi's steering wheel finger vein authentication system also works to improve in-vehicle comfort when used with seats, mirrors and air conditioners that auto-adjust according to the preferences of the driver touching the wheel. Furthermore, the finger vein reader, which is small enough to be embedded inconspicuously on the back of the steering wheel, can be used as a programmable multi-purpose switch that lets the driver perform different functions with different fingers. The driver could, for example, use different fingers to turn on the stereo, open the sunroof, and operate the navigation system -- all while concentrating on the road and maintaining a natural grip on the wheel.

The company also sees great future potential for the steering wheel finger vein reader as cars become smarter and equipped with increasingly complex IT-based functions. In Hitachi's vision, the reader will one day be used with on-board electronic payment systems that literally keep you in the driver's seat while making secure payments at drive-thrus, as well as with services that let you pay for and download music while on the road.

Hitachi first brought their finger vein authentication technology to automobiles in 2005, with a keyless car door lock that checks finger veins and opens only for the vehicle's registered driver. The technology, which Hitachi originally developed in 1997, relies on image sensors and near-infrared light passing through the finger to measure the vein patterns inside. Each individual finger has a unique pattern of blood vessels, much like a fingerprint, which can be used as a form of biometric identification.

A model vehicle equipped with Hitachi's steering wheel finger vein authentication system will be on display at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show from October 27 to November 11.

[Source: Hitachi press release]

Curry-flavored mock terror drill

27 Aug 2007

Curry rice flavored mock terror drill --

Curry rice flavored mock terror drill --

Curry rice flavored mock terror drill --

In these video stills from a Japanese TV news report, law enforcement officers engage in hand-to-hand combat with a mock terrorist armed with a curry-rice banner -- the kind commonly placed on sidewalks in front of restaurants. The training exercise was designed to test the response to an invasion by foreign terrorists coming ashore at Tokyo Bay. It is unclear whether curry restaurants are considered a likely terror target, but the fact that the enemy obtained his deadly weapon in a part of town where restaurants are scarce shows a remarkable level of sophistication. We can all take comfort in knowing that law enforcement agencies recognize the potential threat and are training appropriately. Either that, or these images are fake.

[Link: Netamichelin via Korokoro Zaeega]

‘Tondon’: Balinese-style robot janitor

02 Aug 2007

Tondon, robot janitor --- An autonomous robot janitor built by Subaru (Fuji Heavy Industries) and Sumitomo has landed a job cleaning the outdoor hallways of a new 14-story Bali-themed luxury apartment complex in Tokyo. Lovingly nicknamed 'Tondon' in an apparent reference to a legendary Balinese snake god, the robot is a close relative of RFS1, the autonomous floor cleaning robot that received Japan's 2006 Robot of the Year Award last December.

Like the RFS1, which currently cleans hallway floors inside ten Tokyo-area office buildings, Tondon works unsupervised and relies on an optical communication system to control the building's elevators, allowing it to move freely from floor to floor as needed. To improve the robot's ability to clean gritty outdoor surfaces, Tondon's makers have added a set of heavy-duty brushes designed to sweep up leaves and dirt from hallway floors and drains. Furthermore, Tondon's outer shell has been strengthened and waterproofed to protect its internal components from the elements, and it has been painted with a unique design to complement the apartment building's Bali-themed decor.

Tondon also has a number of safety features that help it better coexist with the building's residents, including proximity sensors that help prevent collisions with people, as well as bumper switches that stop the robot in its tracks when it is touched. A protective guard around the brushes prevents the robot from giving people unwanted shoeshines, while lamps and voice announcements provide ample warning when it is approaching.

A set of video cameras has also been added to the robot. With four cameras that record the robot's every move and a hard disk that stores the video feed, human overlords can keep close tabs on Tondon to make sure it doesn't nap on the job. The cameras can also be used for hallway surveillance, the company says, allowing the robot to double as a watchful security guard as it cleans.

[Source: Fuji press release]