Nintendo’s Swapnote Service Was Allegedly Used By Child Predators

nintendo_3ds_xl_blackNintendo disabled the 3DS’ Swapnote service – known in the UK as Letter Box – on October 31 due to “offensive material” found between users. Now, information has been unearthed which reports the letter exchanging service was allegedly used by child predators.

A report, initially discovered by Kotaku, from the Japanese newspaper Mainichi indicates that a 44-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of child pornography after he asked two girls – aged between 11 and 12 – to send nude photographs through the Swapnote app. Recent reports also say that the man – a resident from Aichi Prefecture – has allegedly confessed to the charges.

In light of Nintendo disabling the Swapnote service, another case by Yomiuri Online reports two men have been arrested after performing “improper acts” with a 12-year-old girl on a number of occasions, while in a hotel room.  The 49-year-old male from Yokohama and the 36-year-old male from Chiba met the girl through the use of an online dating site from her 3DS.

In both of the above cases, the parental controls had been used to limit online activity, but the children simply switched them off. Upon disabling the 3DS feature, Nintendo sent out a message apologising to its users, which you can see in full, here.


88 thoughts on “Nintendo’s Swapnote Service Was Allegedly Used By Child Predators”

        1. They’re closing the service to prevent further mis-use. It could ruin Nintendo’s public image if cases like the ones in the article went viral.

          I’ve said it and I’ll say it again: I think that was the best decision they could take. Hopefully they will implement Miiverse on the 3DS, with no support for cameras of course.

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    1. This is disgusting.

      Regarding the parental features, one does not “simply turn them off.” There’s a 4 digit pin.

      This is still neglect on the parents end, resulting in mass punishment. Now their kid will use Facebook or twitter, and we will still be without swapnote.

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      1. There are a lot of unresponsible parents out there. You can’t really expect all the parents to bother with the parental controls feature, which is sadly why we have this article…

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      2. I bet it was just 1234. That’s still a common password these days. In fact, even if it’s not that, it may be pretty easy to figure out. It could be one of the parents or even the kids birthdays (either month/day, month/year, or day/year). Perhaps a relatives. I don’t know about Japan, but maybe the pin was their house number, or part of their address. Also, on a somewhat unrelated note, the pins on the demo stations at Best Buy stores are the store number, if I remember correctly. That’s generally the password for the computers at Sams / Walmart stores.

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    1. I’ll NEVER understand how anyone can get aroused by little kids? I have absolutely no sexual feelings when it comes to kids. Even if a little girl was naked, I wouldn’t. I’m SO thankful for that.

      Like in any case, there’s always a weirdo that causes cool things to be ruined for everyone else.

      Even when I walk into a public restroom (mostly at lakes etc.) and see they have no mirrors (sometimes just a piece of metal instead), I know it’s probably because of idiot vandals (or graffiti freaks).

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      1. ummm…. kids by like 6 years old mr.kidnintendo like nudity…. & you fuckers banned me on miiverse for talking about stupid cod player’s makeing stupid emblems whatever!!!!! you fucking morons can go die in hole & someone i know got banned for talking about his emblems seems like nin don’t want COD players showing that gamer emblem or his emblems just plain sad nin or miiverse assholes

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        1. I may be a Christian who thinks homosexuality’s wrong, but that doesn’t excuse me from saying stuff that’ll offend them.

          It’s like saying “All Muslims are sick in their heads”. Just because I believe they’re not saved doesn’t mean I could just go ahead and bash them.

          That’s not showing love, which is a key part of true Christian life.

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                    1. But that doesn’t mean all Christians are homophobes. Yes, homosexuality might be considered a sin according to the bible, but that doesn’t mean Christians judge or hate gay people. I certainly don’t hate them.

                      Sorry that I’m so defensive. I don’t like homophobes either, and I’m certainly not one, just to make that clear.

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                    2. I don’t don’t like all Christians either…

                      Well I respect you though, can’t say the same about the other guy since he thinks love is loving someone else being false while secretly judging them…

                      That’s hate in my ears…

                      But kudos to you sir…

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      2. I won’t give out my identity but I get aroused by little kids, and it’s not something I expect people to understand. There are literally thousands of fetishes out there, and some of them happens to be illegal. We’re still human, you know.

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    1. I actually saw the comment before it got removed! :) i know exactly what it was ” am a lil boy looking for an older men to be my best tes friend and do the things i did whith my dad swap note my in kidnote predator yay”

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  1. We may not like what Iwata is doing by targeting children and casuals, but it works from a business standpoint. However, I think that once Mario Kart and SSB is released, they will bring the lesser selling games like Metroid and Starfox because there will be a safety blanket provided MK and SSB.

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  2. Yea, I felt somethin’ like this would happen…
    Being that the 2DS/3DS online is full of young players, it was basically what those people had always been lookin’ for.

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  3. Nintendo is in the right on this and you idiots who are bitching about this need to grow the fuck up and look at what was happening. Think if you were the parents of these children what would you like to see happen. It just shows children who use Nintendo products are not ready for the online features. So stop your crying and bitching and for once try to understand what Nintendo is trying to stop. If anything Nintendo gets extra points from me for getting rid of a stupid feature like this…

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    1. While I agree parents need to be more responsible, your comment is still disgusting. NO parent can control every single aspect of a child’s time. The parents set parental controls, and the children bypassed them. Parents cannot stand over their children’s shoulders each and every time they communicate with people. As whiny and self centered as children are becoming these days, they would likely try to claim “abuse” if the parent was that strict, and would hate their parents and cry about it on facebook, telling us all how horrible their lives are. That said, It’s not the children’s fault. They don’t fully grasp the consequences of their actions. They THINK they have the whole world figured out, and feel that they should be treated as adults, so when someone offers to give them that treatment, they jump at it. It’s only after the fact, do they realize how incredibly wrong it is, or they roll with it, and it destroys their lives. These predators are terrible, and are only hurting these children, physically and mentally. These children involved will be psychologically damaged their entire lives. It will affect relationships, lead to prostitution or suicide. You are pointing your finger at the parents and the “brats”, but not the fully grown adults that know what they are doing is inexcusable.

      Nintendo did the right thing here. I’m not a believer in mass punishments 99% of the time. I was in the Army, and they did that all the time, and it drove me nuts. However, when it comes to the safety of children from sexual predators, I’ll gladly accept their decision.

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  4. i’ll be honest, i only use it to send notes to a few friends i have on my 3ds but then there is miiverse. i dont use it much and i sorta saw this coming. we get nice things and some a-hole has to ruin it for everyone. maybe its good that ninty did the right thing

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  5. Haha that just sad. The 3DS is a game system you sick fucks. But again Nintendo its not your job to babysit kids, its their parents.

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  6. Better disable every single internet service and stop selling any T-M rated games whatsoever “because kids turn off the parental controls”

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  7. Once again this is the negligence of the parents and not Nintendo. Nintendo should release software like Parent Age: Improve Your Parenting Skills In Minutes A Day to address bad parenting and not punish it’s consumers for the crimes of pedophiles. I really miss being able to communicate with people on here such as Mike S. and Jaded_Drybones on Swapnote. Great bunch of gamers that made Swapnote fun.

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  8. how disgusting, though i stopped using swapnote a while ago anyways so swapnote dying doesn’t mean much to me, email and skype or even google + are more efficient means of communicating

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  9. It’s great that Nintendo took down the service to stop these scumbags, but now everyone who used Swapnote responsibly are the ones paying the price. Plus, this is why parents should monitor a kids internet activity, especially when there are these kind of scumbags on the web. I miss Swapnote and miss communicating with my friends, plus one of my friends recently got a 2DS and I met a new friend online, now I wont be able to send messages on it, but taking down the service was a worthy cause. Like Optimus Prime says, “Sometimes we must make sacrifices for the Greater Good”

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  10. That’s the parents fault for not taking responsibility and not restricting anything. THEY left their child open to that, not Nintendo. This stuff is to be expected on Social Media, and parents know this. That’s why 5 years olds don’t have Facebook or Instagram. So this shouldn’t have been any different. Nintendo did nothing wrong here. I understand that it is upsetting about what happened, but that stuff happens all the time and its unaccounted for. It happens or iMessage. But Apple doesn’t delete that. Some more are Instagram, Snapchat, Kik, and WhatsApp. If parents don’t want their child exposed to this stuff then they need to prevent it themselves, because its their responsibility to. Not the company who’s making it. And plus, I think its BS that the child “simply unlocked it.” They would have to know the password that the parent had set on it. And if it was something obvious, then shame on the parents.

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