Minister defends Japanese "Big Brother" idenity database as hackerproof
TOKYO (AFP) Aug 24, 2003
Japan's home affairs minister Sunday attempted to allay privacy fears surrounding a nationwide computer network holding sensitive information on citizens by challenging hackers to breach its security.

"Please try it hard," Toranosuke Katayama said in a talk show on the private Asahi network when asked about plans by one local authority to attempt to penetrate the system.

The remark came a day before the nationwide computerised system, criticised for ushering a "Big Brother" society in Japan, was due to expand its service.

Each Japanese citizen is assigned an 11-digit number in the new basic resident registry network which contains names, birth dates, gender and address and enables local authorities to identify people online across the country.

The system was initially launched last year but has been dogged by criticism, technical glitches, boycotts and legal acton.