Photosensitive Epilepsy - Public Responsibilities

Public Responsibilities

The effects of stroboscopic lighting became apparent when it first became popular in discotheques during the 1960s. Many authorities responded by regulating the permissible frequency ranges of flashing lights in public places.

Photosensitive epilepsy was again brought to public attention in late 1997 when the Pokémon episode "Dennō Senshi Porygon" (aka "Computer Soldier Porygon") was broadcast in Japan, showing a sequence of flickering images that triggered seizures simultaneously in hundreds of susceptible viewers (although 12,000 children reported symptoms which may be attributable to mass hysteria).

In March 1997, the 25th episode of an anime series called YAT Anshin! Uchū Ryokō had a similar incident when a reported four children were taken to hospitals by ambulances when a scene with red and white colors flashed.

In March 2008, the Anonymous group of hackers was claimed to be behind an attack on a forum for epilepsy sufferers. The hackers, part of Anonymous blamed the Church of Scientology for the attacks saying they were made to hurt their image. The attack consisted of GIF images flashing at high speeds that were hidden in threads with innocuous-sounding titles. The technology website Wired News considers it to be the first physical attack on Internet users.

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