Japan’s ‘digital shoplifting’ plague


Japanese bookstores are set to launch a national campaign to stop so-called “digital shoplifting” by customers using the lastest camera-equipped mobile phones.

The Japanese Magazine Publishers Association says the practice is “information theft” and it wants it stopped. It is the kind of thing that most Japanese young women wouldn’t think twice about doing.

They might spot a new hairstyle or a new dress in a glossy fashion magazine and they want to know what their friends think – so they take a quick snap with their mobile phone camera and send everybody a picture.

But the publishers of those magazines feel they are being cheated out of valuable sales.

Together with Japan’s phone companies, they are issuing stern posters which warn shoppers to be careful of their “magazine manners”.

People in Japan use their mobile phones to do much more than talk. When international footballer David Beckam arrived recently at Tokyo’s Narita airport, his thousands of screaming fans captured the moment with their mobile phones.

And only this weekend, newspaper ads warned phone users to avoid walking and writing emails at the same time. But the success of this new campaign is open to question.

Japan’s bookshop owners have already said their staff cannot tell the difference between customers taking pictures and those simply chatting on their phones.


New generation of television detector vans hit the streets

TV Licensing today (Tuesday 24 June) launches its new generation of detector van, the 10th to be rolled out in more than 50 years.
TV Licensing today (Tuesday 24 June) launches its new generation of detector van, the 10th to be rolled out in more than 50 years.
The new vans use the most advanced technology available and are the first to be designed with removable TV Licensing branding, designed to make them look like any other white van on the streets.
Vanessa Wood, TV Licensing spokesperson, said: “These new vans really are a case of ‘now you see it, now you don’t’. Because we are able to remove the TV Licensing logo, licence evaders won’t know we’re in the area unless we want them to. 50 years ago you could spot the first TV detector vans coming a mile off as the aerial on top was as wide as the van. This is the first time we have used covert vans and they will be only one part of our activities to target licence evaders.”
Last year TV Licensing caught over 440,000 evaders. The technology developed especially for this new generation of vans means that evaders are even more likely to be caught.
Vanessa Wood said: “The new vans are so powerful they can tell if a TV is in use in as little as 20 seconds. And once the television is detected, the equipment – which works from up to 60 metres away – can pinpoint the actual room that the television set is in. However, the technology is so secret that even the engineers working on different detection systems worked in isolation – not even they know how the other detection methods work.”
For the first time the detector vans will use GPS satellite technology to track down targeted addresses. This will enable TV Licensing to precisely target individual evader homes using up-to-the-minute information from its database of 28 million addresses.
TV detector vans help TV Licensing catch around 1,200 evaders every day. Anyone caught without a licence risks a trip to court and a fine of up to £1,000.
It is illegal to use or install television receiving equipment to receive television programme services if you are not properly licensed.
For further information about the many ways to buy a licence or the concessions available please call 0870 241 5590 or visit www.tvlicensing.co.uk.

Young ‘prefer texting to calls’


Text messages have superseded phone calls as the most common use for a mobile phone among young people, a new survey reveals.

Mobile phone text messaging has more than doubled since March 2002, according to the survey by mobile phone insurer CPP.

And, the younger people are, the more likely they are to text.

More than eight out of ten people under the age of 25 are more likely to send someone a text message than call.

But, at the other end of the scale, just 14% of those aged over 55 said they preferred to text.

Using text to make flirtatious suggestions was popular, as was contacting an ex-partner.

But sending a birthday or other greeting was the most popular use of text, closely followed by arranging and cancelling a social engagement.

The survey may alarm greeting card sellers.

But the Greeting Card Association claims it is benefiting from Britain’s mobile obsession.

“Text messaging is of benefit to greeting card sellers as it helps people to keep in regular touch with friends,” said spokesperson Sharon Little.

“As a result, when a special occasion does arrive later down the line they are more inclined – not less – to send a card.”


Hutchison sues UK 3G partner


A row between the owners of the UK’s first national 3G mobile phone network has resulted in legal action.

Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa, which controls the 3 UK network, is suing one of its partners in the project, Dutch phone firm KPN.

Hutchison’s action came after KPN refused to provide a £150m ($248m) loan to the UK business earlier this year.

“We have instituted legal proceedings in London against KPN mobile for breach of contract and to claim damages for that breach,” a Hutchison spokeswoman said.

n April this year, the 3 UK network asked its shareholders for £1bn of loans to help fund the roll-out of the network.

Hutchison provided £650m and Japan’s NTT £200m, in proportion to their 65% and 20% stakes in 3 UK.

But KPN refused to provide its share because it said the agreement under which it owned 15% of 3 did not require it to lend the money.

The Dutch firm has already written-off the value of its stake in 3 UK and offered it for sale last year.

When KPN failed to provide the financial backing, Hutchison stepped and increased the size of its loan from £650m to £800m.

In the past few days 3 UK has slashed its prices in an attempt to poach customers from rival networks.

The firm launched two new pricing packages which it said undercut the price of similar packages on other networks by up to 50%.

Hutchison’s network launched in March after considerable publicity about its new services – including video clips of Premiership goals – but critics have said sales are running below forecast.