The SpotPass service that allows the sending and receiving of drawings and photographs in Swapnote (Nintendo Letter Box in Europe) has been indefinitely disabled. The online service had been used to distribute "offensive material" to minors, Nintendo said.
The software - downloadable from the 3DS eShop - is designed in such a way that users can only exchange content with other users if they are first registered on the 3DS console's friends list. Unfortunately, there appears to have been instances of children posting their Friend Codes to online forums, something that Nintendo strictly advises against.
In a statement, Nintendo said that it is working hard to inform parents of the system's Parental Controls. In this case, we can't help but feel that the best form of parental control would have been something a little more low-tech - not letting your child post personal information to an unregulated message board, for instance.
You can find the full statement below.
Thank you for your support.
Nintendo has learned that some consumers, including minors, have been exchanging their friend codes on Internet bulletin boards and then using Swapnote (known as Nintendo Letter Box in other regions) to exchange offensive material. Nintendo has been investigating ways of preventing this and determined it is best to stop the SpotPass feature of Swapnote because it allows direct exchange of photos and was actively misused.
Nintendo always wants to provide a positive experience for all consumers and limit the risk of any inappropriate activity or misuse of a service. We feel it is important on this occasion to take this action.
We are very sorry for any inconvenience to the many consumers who have been using this service responsibly; however this decision was made considering the point that many minors also use this feature of Swapnote. Thank you for your understanding.
Nintendo will continue to work to ensure more consumers are aware of our Parental Control features, which allow parents to manage their children's experience on our systems. For more information, please click here.
Service stop date: Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, 7 p.m. PT
Service being stopped: Nintendo 3DS software Swapnote - Sending and receiving notes using SpotPass
Affected regions: All regions where the service was offered
Special Notes services are also stopped