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Santa Claus Confirms NSA Attack on Naughty or Nice Database (edri.org)
246 points by kushti on Dec 22, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 94 comments

I don't see what the big deal is. If you've been a good little boy or girl, then you have nothing to hide, right?

I've never managed to work out of Santa keeps a list of _everyone_ on earth and then indexes them as either Nice or Naughty, or if I manage to get added to one of the two for doing something particulally noteworthy over the last year.

Or to put it another way, if _only_ the nice list gets leaked and I'm _not_ on it, does that mean I'm really naughty, or does it just mean I'm one of the 60% of people on earth who aren't Christian?

I'm not sure that the whole Santa Claus thing is in the bible or part of Christianity.

I can't reply to BuildTheRobots below, but the white Santa thing begins to get a little dark if you dive in. Black Peter and Saint Nicholas are where you start. Edit: I may be too harsh on the racism thing, but I'm not certain. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinterklaas

(disclaimer: I'm Dutch, where Sinterklaas is a real big thing)

We're working on it. I agree that Zwarte Piet (Black Peter) is indeed racist, although (mostly) not intentionally so.

I never gave the tradition a second thought either, until some years back I read the English Wikipedia on Zwarte Piet. I was a bit confused at first (happy childhood memories were suddenly badwrong) but then I read further into it and, yes it's racist (IMO).

One of the problems is that over here we're not really taught a lot about the whole minstrel/blackface traditions. The Dutch did do slavery, but unlike the US, we didn't bring them home (instead exploited them in Indonesia and South Africa), therefore the cultural impact of that is very different over here. The people with a history of that exploitation for a large part do not live here.

But when I did read about blackface/minstrel traditions, it's impossible to deny that yes, it's not just that his face is "black like soot" (an excuse we came up with in the second half of the 20th century--see we don't want Zwarte Piet to be a racist character), because also Zwarte Piet's costume is exactly like those blackface minstrels. Most Dutch people don't know that bit.

The difference today, however, is globalisation. For a bunch of decades already, people from all over the world came to live here. And some (perhaps a lot, even) of those people have that history (in their families, etc). Those people have lived here for a long time now, started families in NL, etc. And for them, to see that image of Zwarte Piet, it hurts. And they have just as much right to have an opinion about what should and should not be "Dutch culture". Just like others would have a real bad feeling if there was a festive holiday about people parading around swastikas and putting naughty children on trains (sorry for the Godwin, but I think it's a useful analogy in this case, and otherwise just ignore it).

The problem, however, is that I don't know what the right solution is either. It's a tradition that nearly everybody has extremely happy (and not racist) childhood memories about. It's hard (as a culture) to let that go.

You can't have Sinterklaas without Pieten, just like Santa needs his elven helpers. Sinterklaas is played as a really old man, slightly forgetful etc, he needs them, it's part of the play. But, say, if you paint Piet's face a different neutral colour (blue or yellow or whatever, kids don't care, we know this), he (or she, Piet has been multi-gender for quite a while--even though it's a male name, it's used as a title, like Smurfs) still wears that costume. But if you also change the costume, then Piet is no longer Piet, because those were their defining characteristics. At least that's how it seems right now.

So it's hard, no obvious solution. But the positive thing, what I'm seeing is, there is a growing awareness. There is also (loud) resistance, of course, but the cat is out of the bag now. We probably won't fix it next year. But maybe the year after that.

I really believe that, in a few years, we will figure out some variation on the Sinterklaas theme that is not hurtful to parts of the Dutch people. And the kids will love it regardless, so that's good.

edit/afterthought : Sinterklaas keeps his naughty/nice list in a physical book which he carries around everywhere he goes. Santa's mistake for going digital :-P

True. He's the one we truly worship now. We have for decades. God bless our favored corporations that enable consumerism. Merry Christmas! And to all, a good night!

Interestingly, I've discovered over the last few days that Christianity in the uk doesn't seem big in to Santa.

The few openly Christian people I know have all told their kids (4yo) that Santa isn't real. That's kinda ruined it for our kids.

Not judging, but I find it astoundingly hypocritical to dismiss one made up figure while religiously worshiping another!

Santa is a falsification of the real thing.

With Santa, there's no room for grace. You're either naughty or nice, and then you are rewarded accordingly.

The Christian story, as told in the Bible, is quite different. First of all, you're not working for presents, you're working for God Himself. Secondly, we're all naughty: there is no way to be nice apart from Christ. And finally, you are not supposed to simply "believe" God exists; your faith is inseparable from your works. And by working faithfully you are rewarded immediately as well as eternally... "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

That's perceptive, but with that understanding what purpose does "Santa Claus" serve? ISTM for many people the truth about Santa presages an eventual revelation about the nature of Christianity in general. The prior experience gives us psychological permission to experience further disillusionment. The Church Lady was right about this one.

Well said.

It's not hypocritical if you believe the other is not made up.

Much as I'm not a believer in a higher power, I really dislike these kinds of easy swipes at something that others (including people very dear to me) consider the foundation of their entire lives. It feels cheap and condescending.

My comment about it being hypocritical was meant to be somewhat tounge in cheek (as vaguely hinted at by the exclamation mark), though I can see how it could be offensive (and wasn't obvious). Apologies.

There is a deeper interesting conversation to be had around this topic though. Unfortunately I'm not in the position to engage in it at the moment and I suspect the tone might already be set in the wrong way (given that a sibling comment here has already called me an asshole).

You see this again and again on HN. Apparently it's some sort of signalling, although what it signals besides "I'm an asshole!" remains unclear.

Mocking obvious logical fallacies and contradictions is an easy way to condemn religion as a farce, and religious people as being hypocrites at best, or imbeciles at worst. It signals intellectual superiority on the part of the skeptical in-group.

Something strange is happening and while I couldn't reply to you before, I can now. Regarding the UK attitude to Santa, does anyone have any thoughts on a perceived "Americanisation" of the whole character? I've often heard the British refer to him as Father Christmas. Perhaps this is behind the different attitude to him?

It is not.

At all.

It may have some influence from "Saint Nicholas" but that was, I'm pretty sure, after like, 1000 AD.

So, uh, yeah.

Some people want to take Santa out of Christmas to focus more on Christ, and I would generally agree.

Well, I think there's a pretty solid argument for Santa being a stand-in Jesus, at least in our current conception of him. You're punished for evil and rewarded for nice and he's watching you all the time?

My understanding from listening to some guy on the radio, almost certainly on NPR, is that's a fairly modern conception. It's like they couldn't put the Christ back into Christmas, so they shoehorned St. Nick into Christ instead.

If so, not a very good stand-in imo.

"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.". John 3:17

Christ didn't come to reward the people already doing good, and punish those doing evil.

Rather, "[...]for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [...]"

People are not justified by being "good enough" by themselves, but rather, are "[...]justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, [...]".

Your description of "You're punished for evil and rewarded for nice and he's watching you all the time?" is, I think, a very misleading and simplistic idea of Christ.

Yeah, the algorithm needs its viral hook: being good enough is not enough, you need to spam 10 people with this message to achieve full redemption.

Not sure how you're getting that from what I said. I didn't mention evangelism at all?

Why would you not include that in the "being good enough" part?

I wasn't just saying that "being good enough" isn't enough. I was saying that no one (except Christ) is good enough. That one cannot, of oneself, earn or achieve justification, but that one is given justification, that one cannot deserve, as a gift.

I was hoping to say "or I'm one of the x% of people in the world that doesn't believe in Santa" -but I entirely failed to work out what percentage of the populus that actually is; Christianity was my fallback stat.

Whilst googling for that nonsense I did find a buzzfeed article [1] claiming that 43% of Americans believe in Santa and that 32% agree that "it's a verifiable fact that Santa Claus was white".

Wowzer... well, seems like it's time for me to get my coat, fill the pockets with bricks and try and imitate Jesus on a large body of water...

[1] http://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/war-on-christmas-pol...

If you don't appear on the nice list this year, it's probably because you used an HN comment thread about the NSA hacking Santa's database to start a religious discussion.

I honestly wasn't trying for a religious discussion (if I wanted one, then I probably wouldn't pick Christianity -I can speak about others with more depth.

I was honestly amused by the idea of nice/naughty being X or Y and if !X==Y or not... this all kinda spiralled out of hand o_0

Naughty or nice makes for a crappy index. I'd imagine he'd use some sort of weighted distribution to determine niceness and naughtiness.

I'd think it's not just the NSA that wants to see this dataset. Can you imagine the gold-mine that would be for demographers? I mean, this isn't a sample of data, this is the entire population! Amazon and Target ain't got nothing on Santa Claus.

Actually, now that I think of it, that kind of makes him a bit creepy.

I'd bet that the Facebook database (et al) would have a better dataset that the Santa one, and without a doubt it's creepy.

This leads to an interesting discussion: We are okay with Santa knowing if everyone was nice or naughty because we get something in return.

Maybe if the government gave out christmas gifts based on if people were nice or naughty we’d be more okay to accept their spying?

Well, we kind of aren't, given Santa doesn't exist. If he did exist, then I'd be quite concerned that a strange man was compiling dossiers of information about my children and breaking into my house to leave gifts for my kids!

This has been warned about in the security community for years. Even if the person guarding such a database is a saint, which he is, the mere existence of the NON database is a threat to the privacy of everyone on the planet.

> a post on Santa’s blog said that his NON-database is, actually, a non-database – a decoy, in other words.

No no, just NoSQL. Even Santa has "Big Data" in the cloud.

That might explain why even naughty children get presents from Santa every year. MongoDB.

Last time I heard that Santa Claus was neither compliant with UK Data Protection Act [1], nor the Canadian Privacy Act [2].

[1] http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/29/contents

[2] https://www.priv.gc.ca/leg_c/r_o_a_e.asp

No but he is clear violation of the European Data Protection Directive for sure since data of EU nationals is stored in the NON database presumably at the north pole. Santa Claus also does not appear to respect the "right to be forgotten" ruling as the gifts just keep coming despite constant unsubscribe and that removal requests.

As the footnote of the article says, he really lives in Finland (I'd say Lappland, but opinions vary).

That's in the EU, so he's fine.

Serious question: Would Santa Claus be subject to HIPAA compliance?

Unless Santa has diversified rather far afield, I'm pretty sure his enterprise does not meet the definition of a Covered Entity[1].

[1] https://privacyruleandresearch.nih.gov/pr_06.asp

The best way to understand if something is a HIPAA violation is "Can someone who isn't the patient or doctor find any PHI?"

So unless Santa stores health information in his Naught/Nice list, he's HIPAA compliant.

Are 'naughty' and 'nice' slated to be recognized conditions in the DSM-VI?

No, but they will certainly be in the BDSM-VI.

Santa Claus must store some health information about some children that have mental illnesses.

Serious question: Was that really a serious question?

What about his commercial pilot license?

Great, I thought my chimney was a back door accessible only to Santa. Now anyone with this database has the key to my chimney.

IP addresses associated with the attack were traced to the US National Security Agency (NSA)

I demand plausible satire!

They were in the range of -, well known NSA addresses.

I think it's a Chinese Black Flag operation.

Clearly black frog freight who is secretly controlled by the Mittani and we all know Mittani is playing both the Chinese and NSA.

Why hasn't he logged on in over 2 years? because hes been busy with doxxing other nations. --- i see eve doesn't leave me alone


They were traced to "North Korea". There.

That's it, I'm clearing my Christmas cookies.

We need a Manhattan-like project so the people in the technology industry can collaborate with the United States to allow the authorities to access the NON-database. A backdoor isn't the right door but there has got to be a way. They can figure it out.

We just have to ask Bill Gates

Rudolf was an NSA plant. That red nose should have been the giveaway.

He wasn't a communist?

Rudolph's "red nose" actually refers to his uncanny ability to sniff-out communist sympathizers. As you might imagine, Santa simply can't afford delays like labor strikes or communist revolutions.

I find it frankly shocking that someone on the naughty list is permitted to purchase a handgun.

Not receiving floofy slippers was probably the last straw for the NSA. Hell hath no fury like a legion of 5-eyed naughties with freezing tootsies.

Freezing? It's been 65 degrees in Fort Meade this month!

....Or so i've been told.

Just did a search on the online naughty or nice checker and yep, my email address is there. Looks like more than the NSA hacked this DB. Now I'm just waiting for the extortion requests to roll in.

Reminded me of this awesome ACLU Christmas video:


Naughty list: Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald...

"18 months of credit monitoring? Crap, I've already got two of these."

Only activate one of them at a time and hope that the others don't expire...

SELECT * FROM Children WHERE naughty=false;

Little Bobby Tables isn't getting anything for Christmas this year.

Or everything, I guess it depends on how the implementation handles failure conditions.

as you seem to have some inside information can you share some details about the database schema: is naughty field not null or nullable? what about indexing a table on a boolean column?

Niceness is an ENUM

  'not known',
Additionally, the nice list is a bitemporal table, and CheckStatus is also an ENUM ( 'nunce', 'once', 'twice', 'more' ). Foreign keys go to the Person and Elf tables.

He's making a database

He's sorting it twice

SELECT * from contacts WHERE

behavior = 'nice'

SQL Clause is coming to town

(Saw it on Facebook, I don't know the source.)

Nice try, but everyone knows that Santa keeps his database in 6NF.

This is an obvious false flag, typical state-planted bullshit. Wake up sheeple, NSA didn't hack Santa. Santa's elves are not outraged here.

Santa is complicit in NSA's spying. Probably not seen in any of the Snowden leaks, but anyone who has been paying attention the past couple decades has seen this coming from a mile away.

You're telling me you thought a single man could effectively build a meaningful dossier on what amounts to nearly everyone on the planet, working ALONE?

The government wants us to think that Santa didn't see this coming. I don't buy it. The more I think about it, this whole narrative of Santa doesn't make much sense at all. Something is seriously amiss here, but I can't put my finger on it.

Santa is a hypocrite. His army of Elves who break into homes to monitor the occupants [0] dwarfs any misdeeds of the NSA.


The only difference is that this is what you willingly signed up for right by inviting Santa into your home on Christmas Eve?

Well, at least there must be some parent consent that is.

True. True. But I can't get him to leave. There doesn't seem to be an opt-out. Should have read the EULA more closely, I guess.

Ahh yes, that's why the EU created the Santa's Cookies and Milk consent notice. Basically, if you don't agree, you have to use a different home which does have an opt out, or doesn't use cookies and milk to track your activities with Santa.

Offering cookies and milk once a year doesn't mean I consent to a whole month of monitoring!

I didn't realise the offer was negotiable. I always left a mince pie and sherry.

"It is well known that Santa lives in Korvatunturi, Finland."

Thank you.

It has to be said that according to "Babar and Father Christmas" by Jean de Brunhoff, Santa lives in an underground lair near the town of "Prjmnestwe", found in the Bohemian region of the Czech Republic. The book's illustrations feature a cross-section of the entire complex.

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2010/dec/03/babar...

Clearly Stallman is proved right again, somehow.

We all know Santa is deeply embedded in the FVEY surveillance alliance: https://twitter.com/sigint_santa/status/545966850253664256

I wonder if this attack merits deploying the holiday special forces - i.e. Elven boots on the ground?? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1446192/

I believe in Santa terminology it would be "elfin" boots on the ground. This is the North Pole, not Middle Earth.

Good call! Yeah, that was my former Dungeons & Dragons=playing self coming out there. ;-)

Well, it seems it's only fair. I never knew my login was not on the sudoers file

I was going to make a "This incident will be reported" joke, but it turns out that, as usual, XKCD trod this ground first: https://xkcd.com/838 . (In retrospect, that's probably what you were referencing.)

Seems kind of like "The pot calling the kettle black"

Real serious question: this is a Christmas Fool joke?

No, Santa Claus' database really was compromised.

I still have hopes that an episode of _Person of Interest_ will reveal that The Machine was made at Santa's request.

Looks like Santa wants the terrorists to win.

Santa Claus.

A white, male christian superhuman with the power to violate national sovereignty and property rights at will. Laws and locks are meaningless to him. He rewards the loyal with material goods, and punishes the wicked, all based on a secret list of names only he has access to. We've been raised to consider this not only normal, but just. He's on Coca-Cola cans, after all, so he can't be bad. Everyone loves Coca-Cola, right?

Santa is the undisputed, unelected and untouchable master of a global industrial machine run on slave labor, subject to no environmental or labor laws, in which the slaves are brainwashed through candy and mindless jingoism into accepting their brutal lot as necessary for the greater good. It really is the ultimate American "limited government" power fantasy, down to the junk food and constant repetition of loyalty oaths to a theocratic God-king.

Clearly, one can tell from reading this thread that American style pop-cultural propaganda is alive and well on Hacker News. Congratulations on supporting the military industrial complex and furthering America's goal of global cultural genocide by paying any attention at all to this "parody", which only serves to mock and ridicule the very real and present threat that the NSA poses to human rights and civilization. I'm sure your handlers will reward you with milk and cookies. Or a nice refreshing Coke.


Edit: downvoted by NSA shills... typical.

> Congratulations on supporting the military industrial complex and furthering America's goal of global cultural genocide by paying any attention at all to this "parody", which only serves to mock and ridicule the very real and present threat that the NSA poses to human rights and civilization.

Were Soviet satirists, or their readers, guilty of propping up the Stalinist regime?

The honest answer is, probably not.

One could argue that there is possible danger in satire if it makes the target seem less threatening, or allows the audience to become more comfortable with the presence of the system being ridiculed. But that effect, if it exists, is probably minor.

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