When Sony was hacked in 2011, it was major news. People's personal information was put at risk. This latest PlayStation password story is not major news. It shouldn't even be on television.
TV Asahi, a major Japanese television network, is reporting that Ramos Angelo Miguel, 22, was arrested in Tokyo's Fussa City for using somebody else's PlayStation Network ID and password without permission. Ramos supposedly downloaded two on-demand movies.
The cost of the two movies totaled ¥1,200 or US$15.50. Ramos apparently stole the ID and password from a gamer friend. The password theft was discovered after charges were sent to the friend, who had no recollection of downloading these flicks.
"I wanted to watch movies, and I didn't have any money," Ramos told authorities.
That's right—some dude supposedly steals his friend's password, downloads $15 worth of movies, and then isn't only arrested but makes the evening news. All of Miguel's electronics, including the PS3 he used, were displayed for the press.
There are two words for this whole thing: fucked up.
Stealing is wrong—don't do it. This, however, is petty crime. The news reporters and camera crew probably spent more on gas and canned coffee covering this arrest than the fifteen bucks Miguel siphoned.
So what gives? Why is this young kid with Final Fantasy hair on the news? This story has three elements the Japanese media loves: crime, tech crime, and foreigners committing crime.
See, Miguel isn't Japanese. While he went to high school here, he's Filipino. A foreigner.
In the news clip (viewable here), you can see Angelo being dragged away by the cops and a dramatic freeze frame zoom in on Miguel.
You'd think the guy not only stole his friend's password, but also set his friend on fire, killed his dog and pissed on the guy's carpet.
Again, stealing is wrong. If Miguel is found guilty, he should be punished. But he should not be dragged out for national news media to support a stereotype about foreigners in Japan and crime.
In a perfect world, Miguel's friend would have confronted him, Miguel would have apologized, they would've worked something out, and the guy would have changed his password—or done a better job of protecting it in the first place.