Photo: Pakutaso (Edited by SoraNews24)
crime

Kyoto police using targeted YouTube ads to warn would-be voyeurs

22 Comments
By SoraNews24

The crime of taking secret photos and videos of other people is sadly nothing new, but in the prefecture of Kyoto it appears to be a particularly growing problem. According to the Kyoto Prefectural Police Personal Safety Division, arrests for voyeur recordings are already up 25 percent from last year, and it’s still only October.

As a result, the authorities there have decided to take matters into their own hands with a more pro-active approach. They’ve produced a six-second ad with the simple but strong message: “Voyeurism is a crime. Someone is watching! Punishment will be strict.”

▼ News report about the new ads

The above video is a news report showing the ad, because we couldn’t get a proper video of the warning itself. The reason is that it only appears as an unskippable ad to certain users on YouTube as well as other video streaming sites and social media platforms, targeting males over the age of 18 who have terms such as “peeping” and “small camera” in their search histories.

In other words, those very same dubious targeted advertising practices that infringe on people’s privacies to push goods and services online are now being used against people who would infringe on the privacy of others in the real world.

However, it was this bit of poetic justice that rubbed many netizens the wrong way, and opinions were mixed on whether this was a good idea or a case of two wrongs not making a right.

“So they’re peeping into all our search histories to stop peeping?”

“I get that it’s possible and might even work, but I still don’t like it.”

“This is a terrible idea.”

“I hope this doesn’t get out of hand and they start surveilling people based on search history.”

“Targeted ads should be illegal in the first place.”

“So the police are sponsoring YouTube content now?”

“Isn’t it possible that a lot of normal people are interested in small cameras too?”

“Finally, a good use of targeted ads.”

“I feel like our surveillance society is really coming along.”

“Isn’t it just like those FBI warnings to stop people from copying VHS tapes? Those didn’t stop anything.”

The ads will run until the middle of November, and Katsushi Nishida with the Kyoto Police said, “We want people who see the ad to keep in mind that they will be caught.”

It’s of course hard to gauge how effective the move will be in the end, but it certainly is creepy when your computer seems to know exactly what you’re interested in and up to.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun via Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Kyoto police set up system to predict when and where crimes will happen

-- Pervert hunter arrested by Tokyo police for less-than-pure intentions

-- How safe is Japan? New interactive map reveals reports of crime around the country

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

22 Comments
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Does Youtube give its users' search history to the police? Who authorized that? Who else do they give it to?

I very much doubt this story.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

The ads will run until the middle of November,

After next month it'll be gone

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Ironically, the attached news also video shoots ‘below the belt’: depicting a walking woman’s legs, skirt & high-heeled shoes traversing a crosswalk. Won’t she will be equally surprised when she recognizes her legs & attire?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

So if someone you know says that he has seen the ad, then you will know a little bit more about this person than before.

Does Youtube give its users' search history to the police? Who authorized that? Who else do they give it to?

According to how the article is written this is not the case, the police pays for the ads to be targeted and youtube simply shows them to the people according to their searches without having to give any information to anyone.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I hope this works but It probably won't.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

“Voyeurism is a crime. Someone is watching! Punishment will be strict.”

Oh the irony.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Yes, much better idea than say a national sexual predators list or harsher penalties that are actually enforced on the guilty.

And how many of the cops who this video is supposed to represent, are a part of the actual guilty party?

Waste of time. As usual.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

While this is a positive step to put deviants on notice, hopefully it will not lead to additional police abuses against other, legitimate and tourist photography in public venues in Kyoto.

- “The crime of taking secret photos and videos of other people is sadly nothing new, but in the prefecture of Kyoto it appears to be a particularly growing problem.” -

Just speculation based on the numerous Kyoto community complaints in recent years about non-consensual and ‘unauthorized’ photography of the daily comings & goings of certain entertainment professionals, particularly within the Gion.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Having access to the internet made me an expert in the topic of YouTube.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Does Youtube give its users' search history to the police? Who authorized that? Who else do they give it to?

I very much doubt this story.

Intenet 101: YouTube (Google) sells ads that target people based on selected search words. The advertiser (in this case, the Kyoto police) doesn't get the names of people targeted - it's all done by bots. Usually the advertisers for these terms would be porn companies selling peeping videos. Google (YouTube) has a record of everything you have ever searched for. These records are not turned over to the police without a warrant specifically targeting you. (For example, they suspect you of a specific crime.)

There is no reason to doubt this story, as it can be easily verified if you want to bother with it.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

So if someone you know says that he has seen the ad, then you will know a little bit more about this person than before.

Not really. That someone could just be curious about an unfamiliar term, or checking to verify whether this article is accurate. I gets ads for all kinds of things that I could never have any interest in, based on Google misinterpreting my search history. It's far from an exact science.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

For those who are outraged, the general targeted ads work the same way.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

People checking for home security CCTV systems, going on holiday or needing to protect themselves from others may search for 'small camera' reviews. If you are writing a crime novel, you will be searching for the same things as a (fairly dim-witted) serial killer.* This is why AI (and most online targeting) is so lousy. It can't contextualise.

UK TV has so many documentaries on murderers and serial killers that you can probably learn all you need to know from your sofa, without leaving any clues on Google's snitchbase.

As none of the mainstream streaming sites permit illicit porn, only idiots and kids would be searching for it on them. 99% of those who want it will go straight to porn sites and click on the relevant sections.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

From recent news, it would be better if they showed these warning videos to new and existing police officers

2 ( +3 / -1 )

“We want people who see the ad to keep in mind that they will be caught.”

even if caught the penalty is too light.... ineffective and a waste of money!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

yup, a lot of young people only watch YouTube. Get the message out there!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

“Voyeurism is a crime. Someone is watching! Punishment will be strict.”

Oh the irony.

I know, right? I was like WTF????

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Targeting users because of words in a search history is completely bonkers and not the way it should be done.

Of course sites catering to this content should be closed down, but there has to be a better way. Like, for example...closing sites that cater to this content.

This is probably the final warning for regular people to get a dedicated VPN account.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The links to samples were good. They showed which photos acceptable and which kinds were not. My hubby agreed as he checked them out.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Any advertiser, large or small, can target any user by their Google search history. Google makes this available to advertisers.

If I wanted to target men ages 34, who live in a certain ward in Tokyo, who have recently typed into Google 'best ramen shop' I can.

And I can serve them an ad of my ramen shop. Note: this is just for example, I do not own a ramen shop nor live in Tokyo.

.

.

Like it or not , this is 100% legal and designed to give people ads they want to see.

Big companies do not do this level of targeting, hence all the ads on YouTube you are not interested in.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Excellent idea.

I live not too far from Kyoto. We own a rather large empty lot next to us which we use for parking. Anyway, there was this old coot letting his dog crap in it but not cleaning it up. He'd just leave it there so it was like a miinefield of doggy do-do out there. One time my in-laws told the guy that he was on private property. The old coot got angry and began taking photos of them and telling them he was going to post their photos online.

That my major issue with posting candid photos online. Anybody is fair game to what amounts to basically cyber bullies. The same holds true for anybody with a grudge who wants to attack somebody else for any number of reasons.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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