Recently, the news has been filled with stories about customer data being leaked from large companies to shady individuals. This activity, which is called “information theft,” is explored in depth on TV Tokyo’s business documentary program “Dawn of Gaia” (Tuesday, 10 p.m.). Such leaks are not a new phenomenon, but until recently the numbers were relatively small. This year, however, there have been several large leaks that have indicated how lucrative info trafficking has become. Yahoo BB’s list of 4.5 million customer names has been the biggest leak so far. The famous president of JapaNet, the country’s biggest TV shopping company, has suspended broadcasting for 47 days to take responsibility for a leak of 660,000 customer names. The program looks into how stolen information is used and how it makes its way to the people who use it. According to one anonymous information broker interviewed on the program, a company employee secretly sells the list to the broker, who then sells it to any number of underground companies who use it for extortion and other illegal activities. The broker can make as much as 100 million yen with just one list.

Acommon feature of many variety shows is placing individuals in situations where they are asked to live on a limited amount of money for a specified length of time. The show that popularized this activity was TV Asahi’s “Ogon Densetsu (The Legend of Gold),” and on Thursday at 7:04 p.m., there will be a special two-and-a-half hour installment dedicated to nothing but penny-pinching situations. Seventeen celebrities comprising six separate groups will “compete” on the show for the studio audience’s favor, depending on how “interesting” a group’s particular activity is. One group comprises two comedians who are dropped on a desert island with no food and are thus forced to catch their own. Another group consists of three overweight comedians who must live together on a pittance. And a third group is charged with creating a full meal for 10 persons with only 500 yen.

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