This is horrific.
According to media reports, an obsessed fan assaulted a J-Pop star after determining where she lived by zooming in on selfies she had posted on social media, and examining the reflection in her eyes.
26-year-old “fan” Hibiki Sato attacked Japanese idol Ena Matsuoka outside her home, after zooming in to a reflection of a sign in her eyes’ pupils in a photograph she had posted online.
According to AsiaOne, Sato was able to uncover the general location through Google Maps’ Street View.
He was then able to further narrow down the location of 21-year-old Matsuoka’s home by studying other photos she had published online, including ones which included her curtains and by examining the angle of sunlight.
On the day of the assault, September 1st, Sato lay in wait at the station after the young member of the Tenshi Tsukinukeni Yomi J-Pop group had performed a concert, and followed her back to her home where he dragged into a corner and molested her.
Sato was arrested on September 17th, and immediately admitted to police that he had both committed the assault and that he was a big fan of Ena Matsuoka.
Quite how you can be both a fan of someone and the person who assaults them beggars my belief…
What I mean by that is that if you consider yourself to be a fan of someone, the very last thing you should be considering is causing that person harm, or putting them in a position where they might experience anxiety or fear. If your feelings or actions are leading you in that direction then you’re not a “fan”, you’re a potentially dangerous fanatic.
Of course, if you’re that dangerously obsessed with someone then reason might be a stranger to you.
According to media reports, Tenshi Tsukinukeni Yomi confirmed via social media that it was Ena Matsuoka who had been attacked.
At the end of last year, another member of a J-Pop group was said to have been assaulted by obsessive fans at her home. 23-year-old Maho Yamaguchi, a singer with NGT48, claimed that her music management company had not supported her after the assault and – outrageously – ended up apologising on-stage for “causing trouble.”
Meanwhile, in 2016, 20-year-old J-Pop singer Mayu Tomita was stabbed 34 times by an obsessed fan, leaving her partially blinded.
It’s no wonder that more and more people are growing increasingly concerned about being digitally stalked.
We’re used to popular social media services removing the EXIF metadata which might reveal the GPS location where a photo was taken. I wonder what could be done to blur or excise sensitive details which may be hiding in the reflection of someone’s eyes.
Because I really can’t see modern smartphones reducing the quality of the high definition images that can be captured with their cameras…
The rapid advance of new technology and its growing involvement in our lives is, I suspect, providing worrying new opportunities for innocent people to be stalked.
Hear more discussion of this topic in this episode of the “Smashing Security” podcast:
Further reading: “Reflected hidden faces in photographs revealed in pupil”, a research paper from 2013.