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Accused Child Predator Allegedly Used Nintendo's Swapnote Service

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On October 31, Nintendo suddenly announced it was ending its SwapNote service for the 3DS. Nintendo said Swapnote had been "actively misused" to transmit "offensive material" among system users, including minors. Now we know how offensive and unsettling some of that material was.

Japanese newspaper Mainichi reports that charges for child pornography have also been filed against another man, aged 44, who had allegedly two girls—then aged 11 to 12—send nude photos through Swapnote, or "Itsu no Ma ni Koukan Nikki" (いつの間に交換日記) as it's called in Japan. This man, a resident of Aichi Prefecture, has allegedly confessed to the acts.


Swapnote was a free Nintendo-made app that let users create and share hand-written notes and drawings. Users could connect the program to the Internet and, with SpotPass activated, transmit and receive notes. It became available in December 2011. The service's online support ended on October 31.

According to news site Yomiuri Online, two other men have been arrested for allegedly performing "improper acts" in hotel rooms with a 12 year-old girl on multiple occasions earlier this year. The girl met both men—one is a 49 year-old Yokohama resident and the other is a 36 year-old Chiba resident—through her 3DS. Yomiuri Online doesn't specifically mention Swapnote and says that the girl used the 3DS's online function to access an online dating site. A Mainichi News report, however, does mention Swapnote.


In the above articles, both Yomiuri and Mainichi note that parents had initially turned off the 3DS's internet function, but the children had turned it back on.

Kotaku is contacting Nintendo to clarify if these incidents led to SwapNote's sudden cancellation.


Update: Clarified the Yomiuri Online report. Removed the line about other arrests for statutory rape and indecency through compulsion being made because of this investigation as they may not be directly related to the 3DS.

Update 2: Nintendo released the following statement to Kotaku after being asked if these incidents lead the discontinuation of Swapnote's online support: "Nintendo stopped the SpotPass feature of Swapnote in our ongoing efforts to provide a positive experience for all consumers and limit the risk of any inappropriate activity or misuse of a service."


3DSで出会い系に接続した女児を乱暴した疑い [Yomiuri Online]

わいせつ画像:ゲーム機で送信させる 女児被害、容疑者を書類送検 [Mainichi]

To contact the author of this post, write to or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.


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