Japan mulls allowing '911' calls from Twitter, social networks
The Japanese government has hosted the first of a series of panels on using social networks for emergency calls when phones go down
IDG News Service - The Japanese government on Wednesday hosted a panel in Tokyo on allowing emergency "911" calls to be placed through social networks such as Twitter during natural disasters.
The national Fire and Disaster Management Agency held the event in central Tokyo, the first of three it plans to hold through March of next year. Panel participants included the head of Twitter Japan as well as officials from Yahoo Japan, Japanese social network Mixi, and NHN Japan, which runs the popular group chat application "Line." Representatives from government agencies and emergency services also attended.
"This is a discussion for when traditional voice-based infrastructure goes down during a natural disaster, to see if social networking can be used," said Yosuke Sasao, an official at the agency.
Twitter Japan head James Kondo tweeted from the event that he'd like to strengthen the service's ability to serve as a lifeline during crisis situations. Also Wednesday, the company's Japanese blog posted a series of entries on how to use Twitter during emergencies, including posting and searching for emergency and transport information, as well as calling for help and how users can provide updates about their condition.
"If your circumstances allow, please add #survived to your tweets. This will help when family and friends that are worried about you search on your welfare," one entry said.
As in other countries, a host of Japan's emergency services are currently accessible through telephone services, which include fixed-line, mobile, and IP-based telephone. The emergency number in the country is "119," which corresponds to the "911" number in the U.S. and "112" in much of Europe.
But during large-scale natural disasters, such as the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan's east coast last year, voice networks often clog up under the dual strain of damaged infrastructure and a sudden surge of lengthy voice calls. The country also employs a system that blocks everyday users from phone networks to give emergency crews and government officials better access.
For many in Japan, social networks and online chat services were the only source of information in the hours after the disasters in March of last year, when much of the country was without power and phone lines and email services were overwhelmed.
In the months after the disaster, volunteers roamed shelters in hard-hit areas and posted pictures online of handwritten lists with survivors' names and locations, to help family get in touch. Services such as Google's Person Finder, a public database with information on individuals in disaster areas, were widely used by individuals and government organizations to keep track of survivors.
The use of social networks like Twitter jumped in the days after the disasters. A survey by local marketing firm IMJ two weeks later found a surge in new users signing up mainly to get information about their friends and family.
Japan's official government agencies are also increasingly using services such as Twitter to make official announcements. On Wednesday the Tokyo Fire Department started its official account, @Tokyo_Fire_D.
The next meeting on using social networks to make emergency calls is due to take place in November.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
NSA: Riding on Facebook's horse tail.
The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is once again close to denying reports that it is indiscriminately monitoring every computer on planet Earth. This time, the freshest, newest, most recent report of NSA mass-surreptitiousness (courtesy Edward Snowden -- ta) alleges the sneaky agency infects computers with malware via a fake Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) login page.
In IT Blogwatch, bloggers play keep-away with the man-in-the-middle.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
- This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- Gartner 2013 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup/Recovery Software
- See why CommVault was positioned as the #1 leader in Gartner's 2013 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup/Recovery software for the 3rd year in...
- Forrester Report: CommVault is a Leader in Enterprise Backup and Recovery
- In this report, Forrester takes a deep dive into the evaluation criteria, how CommVault is positioned and the features and functionality that make...
- Forrester Wave for Enterprise Backup and Recovery
- Read this report to see how CommVault continues to outpace its competitors and why Forrester positioned CommVault Simpana as the top backup and...
- Architecting the Network of the Future
- Networks need to change, as does the way IT thinks about and manages them. In addition to reliability, IT must now add higher... All Government IT White Papers
- Four Myths of High-Productivity App Dev Debunked Debunk the main myths surrounding high-productivity application development and how both platforms have overcome them.
On-Demand Webcast: 7 Reasons to Choose VoIP
Thinking about a new phone system for your business?
Be sure to watch this informative webcast. Steve Strauss, small business columnist for USA...
- Top 8 Communications Tools for Small Businesses Powerful technology is available to help your small business improve its communications with customers, employees and suppliers. View this free On-Demand Webcast produced...
- Webinar: Building a Big Data solution that's production-ready Big data solutions are no longer just a nice-to-have.
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- All Government IT Webcasts