While you won't hear it on the news so much (and I probably shouldn't be writing about this in public...), almost all big companies in Japan have had incidents with illegal bugging for whatever reasons. It is seen as the norm here. What happens is that they do not want it to go public and they just cover it up... sweep it under the mat, no harm done, right?
Last September, a TV crew accidentally found a wiretap disguised as an extension plug in the Osaka education board while shooting a series on wiretapping in Japan. (kind of ironic, eh?)
Eventually one employee admitted he planted the bug but before that Osaka's Governor Hashimoto was interviewed to get this thoughts on this. I watched this on TV.
I was naturally expecting to hear him say something like: "I am absolutely outraged by this! We are going to track whoever did this down and take appropriate action..."
However, as everything in Japan is 180 degrees backwards from Western thinking, he said something approximately to:
"Hey, it wasn't me guys, I swear! I don't know who did this but look, I wouldn't even use an old model bug like that. But hey, this happens all of the time. No biggie, let's just forget about it, ok? I swear it wasn't me..."
So yeah, some keen people picked up on the little statement about how he wouldn't use an "old model" like that... I see. Well, in order to make a statement like that you must be pretty familiar with the different types and latest models of bugging equipment, which means that you probably have experience using them, which means..... oh well, as you say, its commonplace in Japan anyways, so lets just forget about it!
So this incident made the news for one day and then people forgot about it.
(Here comes the culture reference! Get ready for it....)
Yes, if something is commonplace in Japan, unless the act results in something ridiculously bad, people will not make efforts to rectify it. And even if they do, there is a strong chance that it won't change anything. This happens all of the time and I can probably cite a hundred different examples that occurs in various aspects of life here. Sticking to tradition or doing something one way for the sole reason of "well, its always been done that way so we shouldn't change it" thinking is certainly not particular to Japan and happens all over the world in every culture every day. The only reason I mention this is because this kind of thinking is much more prominent among Japanese compared to elsewhere in the world. This is naturally changing with the younger generation but the younger generation does not have the power to change anything here because in order to succeed and be in a position to change things you have to pass one qualification above all others first. That is, you have to be older then everyone else. (Which usually means you are at least in your mid-50's). And by the time you reach that age your mind gets pretty warn out from the 30 years of 20-hour work days and become brain-washed into thinking what your elder tries to force you to think for those 30 years... So yea, it is going to be a little while before this type of thinking starts to filter out..
Anyways, I have only seen this "reasoning" result in something negative and often times this includes security.
Kind of like the familiar story of "Hey, we found a vulnerability in this software because they had old code that was there because nobody knew why it was there or they figured it was bad but they just left it be because that's how it was."
Lesson to learn: If there is a tradition to do something a certain way but everyone has forgotten why it was done that way in the first place or if people are starting to find problems with doing it that way, you should quickly question why it is that way and change it to fit the present day.
Ok, so this post originally was a tangent I went off from the previous post that I decided to make it into a separate post to be clearer to understand, but then went on another culture tangent which is sort of unrelated in a way but in another way everything is related.. So I am ending up with random unrelated but related thoughts everywhere... which I guess is how I think...
Anyways, the last point I want to make is actually the starting point of what inspired me to write about this topic in the first place...
As mentioned in the two previous posts, people are now becoming interested in recording what is going on in the computer. (i.e. key logging). While these are just two examples and I can not give solid statistics as all of this is happening underground, they are certainly signs that bad guys are realizing the "benefits" of moving to more sophisticated means of the much loved hobby/full-time job of illegal wiretapping/filming. While I can say for certain that backdoors/key loggers have been and are still used much more widely in other countries, as Japan is years behind in the hacking scene, I would predict that once people catch up it will be included as one of the obsessions here in the future.
(Hopefully my prediction is wrong...)