Japan's most popular online bulletin-board service, 2channel (pronounced ni-chaneru), recently experienced what is probably the biggest problem in its 14-year history when its promise to keep users' anonymity was severely broken by an information breach.

2channel was founded by Hiroyuki Nishimura in 1999. It rapidly gained popularity by offering anonymity and has become one of the most popular websites on the Japanese Web. What made 2channel special and successful was it supported anonymous posting. In that realm Japanese were free from the social roles and pressures expected of them in daily life, so could express unbiased opinions, even to the point of being antisocial.

On Aug. 26, it was reported in the media that user information had been leaked from 2channel's Viewer service.