Ask and ye shall receive data.

In Japan, the media has been focused on the recent problem of “AirDrop chikan.” The Japanese term “chikan” is often applied to “gropers” but can be used for all sorts of sexual harassment and offenses.

In this case, an AirDrop chikan will offer to send pornographic pictures to any or all other users within a nine-meter radius using Apple’s AirDrop function, which can send files between devices. Even though other users don’t accept the image, it will appear on their phone as a thumbnail when asking if they want to accept it, so the damage has been done regardless.

AirDrop chikans are said to do this because they get off on the reaction from those around them who see the image. So far there have been arrests in Osaka, Hyogo, and Fukuoka related to this crime in what appears to be a growing problem.

However, we shouldn’t be so quick to blame the technology for those who chose to use it in icky ways. The AirDrop function is a great way to easily share files among family and friends, and as professional MC and Twitter user Ryoran Hyakka (@ryouran2525) found, even among strangers on a train it can be used to bring people together rather than push them away.

▼ “I changed my phone’s name to ‘Please send cat pictures’ and played a dangerous game to see if strangers would AirDrop cat pictures. To the person on the train who gave me many, thank you.”

As shown in the screenshot, Hyakka’s experiment paid off and he received 13 photos of cats from an unidentified iPhone user as a result. This took an even more surreal turn when it turned out that the person who sent the images seen in Hyakka’s screenshot was also one of his Twitter followers.

“Ah! The other day I sent pictures of my black and white [cats] on the train!”

“Wha?! Is it really you?”

“It is! It is! My friend and I sent the cat pictures for fun.”

“Oh wow! It’s true! That’s the same cat that I had received! Amazing! Thank you for contacting me! It’s a miracle lol”

“It is a miracle! I didn’t think they actually happened lol”

“Thank you for going to the trouble of sending photos to an account that you didn’t know on the train. Thanks to your cute cats, I was able to have an exciting experience lol”

It would seem that Hyakka had tapped into a certain compulsion some people have to send cat photos, because even the replies to his tweet was flooded with pictures of other people’s felines.

“Check it out. They’re in our bowls.”

However, as he mentioned, this was a dangerous game that he was playing and he was leaving himself open to receive whatever images those around him wanted to send. Moreover, those sending photos to unknown accounts should also be very careful as they can also contain metadata such as your location and other personal information that is better left private.

Still, it’s a great example of how good things can happen when people put the same effort into being kind and generous to each other that some people put into being annoying and offensive to each other.

Source: Twitter/@ryouran2525, Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@ryouran2525
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