Friday, September 2, 2011

Police shake down for source of Docomo info leaks

It's been said here more than once that @juggly is a machine. Not literally of course, but he is a very prolific blogger. His blog is where I often go to get information. He is obviously some sort of insider with contact(s) currently (but likely soon to be past tense) inside Docomo. Docomo's smartphone releases have tended towards lackluster handsets that have languished with outdated Android versions. News of future handsets that aren't going to suck would likely have a negative effect on sales.

Yesterday, this tweet popped up.
The cops called, and it seems that Docomo has filed a complaint that the content of my blog violates the Unfair Competition Prevention Act. When I asked if I have the right to refuse to provide information, the cop's reply was startling, "So then, you wouldn't mind if we just came and seized it, right?"
This reminds me of the infamous "theft" of the "invaluable" iPhone 4 prototype.  In the Apple case, prosecutors have decided not to charge Gizmodo employees, given protections to journalists (a term applied loosely where Gawker is concerned), though the criminal case against the kids who found and sold it perhaps gives Apple more civil litigation options.

Apple calling in the cops when someone is dismantling and posting pics of their Next Big Thing© shouldn't have surprised anyone even remotely familiar with Apple's corporate culture. However, Docomo doing it is a bit surprising. There's been no physical theft here. @Durf provided a link to an English translation of the Unfair Competition Prevention Act. This most likely runs afoul of "disclosing a trade secret," as defined in Article 2.

Getting back to Juggly, it seems that Docomo has been trying to squash product information leaks for several months now.
For now, it seems that since June Docomo hired an agency to investigate the source of information leaks.
I've had a brief discussion with friends regarding this, and I honestly don't believe this is some scheme to bump Juggly's street cred. If you follow his blog, you'll understand that he's already got plenty. Juggly also felt the need to point out that this is not BS, preceeded by a warning to anyone else leaking Docomo information.
Any Docomo employee/contractor leaking information should be careful. Though I guess it's a bit late now.
Apparently, his cell phone number was obtained from this hosting service, (Remind me to scratch them off my lists of potential hosts.) I seriously doubt that the cops showed up at the hosting company with a court order. It's more likely the cops simply asked and the host readily handed over Juggly's information. If he had a juggly.blogspot address that was hosted on google's servers, it would have definitely taken a real warrant for a real crime, not just a threat of a lawsuit, to get his information.

This doesn't look like it will work out well for the source, especially if the cops are serious about raiding Juggly's servers for information. Finally, I'm left with one question. What exactly are the protections to journalists here in Japan and to what extent, if at all, are they extended to those outside of the kisha club?


  1. He shouldn't have hosted his site in Japan! Over my time here, I have noticed that most Companies, hotels, whatever are only too willing to hand over information to the police without efforts to protect the info and the police do not even have to produce a court order.

  2. 2channel realized this years ago.

  3. long live juggly!

  4. I have a question that is not related to this post but still I didn't know where I could write it so...

    What do you think of Emobile? it looks like there is a "new" offer that makes people call every cellphone number for free or something like that, they also give a smartphone that works as phone and pocket wifi so people who doesn't have internet connection in the house can use the smartphone for that...I don't know well but since your blog is always very informative about mobile plans it would be nice if you could actually make a post about Emobile too =)