By Simon Davies
Following a complaint to the Icelandic Prime Minister over surveillance activities by Christmas trolls, the Privacy Surgeon has escalated its campaign against intrusive Christmas entities by writing to Russian president Vladamir Putin to formally complain about mass surveillance being routinely conducted by Santa Claus. The complaint is set out below.
20th December 2016
Dear Mr Putin,
I am writing to express my concern about the surveillance activities of the data processor known as “Santa Claus” and to ask that you investigate actions by him that have breached European and North American privacy laws.
I am addressing this complaint to you because of your well-publicised claim that Russia owns the North Pole, and thus has full jurisdiction over activities that take place there. Santa Claus claims to conduct his operations from that territory.
You will, of course, be aware that this character has been active for several hundred years, intimidating young people and causing extreme discomfort and cost to citizens. The existence of an organised band of criminal entities (elves, talking reindeer etc) who constantly monitor the “goodness and “badness” of people cannot be healthy for any society. Privacy and Data Protection rules are designed to restrict such intrusive surveillance.
Russia, of course, has a parallel figure known as Ded Moroz, who I understand you visited at his home in Veliky Ustyug in the Vologodsky Region. While Ded Moroz has superficial similarities to Santa Claus, the two cannot be easily compared. The Santa Claus activity is a full-scale surveillance operation over goodness and badness behaviour, where Ded Moroz appears to just spend his time in the forest all year reading childrens’ letters.
In this age we would not tolerate a mafia-style operation monitoring people with the intention of securing information for the purposes of inducement or intimidation. Nor should we allow a red-suited criminal entity to spy on millions of innocent people.
The trigger for writing to you is that we received a complaint from a young Privacy Surgeon reader from London who was told by an official Santa Claus delegate in a shoe store that she “had better be good because Santa knows everything you’ve done”. This admission has caused severe psychological trauma.
How can Santa possess such detailed behavioural information and – just as important – what protections exist over the further use and disclosure of that data? In the view of some commentators, Santa Clause should clearly be identified as “Stasi Claus”.
Until now we had been unable to find any authority that could claim responsibility for this activity, but now it is clear that Russia has that mandate.
Russia is not permitted to collect and process data on EU nationals without assurances of adequate protection of that data – and it certainly cannot do so in any circumstance where consent has not expressly given. I am sorry to advise that it is our view that Santa Claus is monitoring the activities of citizens globally in this manner, in violation of privacy rules. We understand that millions of intimate written disclosures are made to Santa each year, and yet there are no assurances of confidentiality. Even the church had the veneer of ‘confessional sanctity”.
The Santa Claus troll operates outside the required data protection guidelines. How, for example, are people able to lodge a Subject Access Request for their data when there is no address for communication other than “North Pole”? Technically, there isn’t a specific address, and of course there is more than one North Pole (geographic, political, magnetic etc). The Russian postal service has confirmed to us that it would be unable to deliver correspondence to such an address.
How too are Russian authorities able to properly enforce data protection standards if there is no possibility of serving notices on the Santa Claus data processing entity?
The Privacy Surgeon has also received a number of other complaints from European citizens, all of whom argued that the collection of data by the Santa Claus gang is unfair, unnecessary and disproportionate.
In this age we would not tolerate a mafia-style operation monitoring people with the intention of securing information for the purposes of blackmail or intimidation. Nor should we allow a red-suited criminal entity to spy on millions of innocent people.
I respectfully urge you to take action on these violations before they get even more out of hand. When Santa Claus gets his hands on new technologies of surveillance there may be an escalation of this intrusive activity.
The Privacy Surgeon