Saturday, December 19, 2009

Another Leak, the worst so far:

You're probably talking about this terrible security disaster already: the largest database leak ever. Arweena, a spokes-elf for Santa Claus, admitted a few hours ago that the database posted at WikiLeaks yesterday is indeed the comprehensive 2009 list of which kids have been naughty, and which were nice. The source of the leak is unclear. It may have come from a renegade reindeer, or it could be the work of a clever programmer in the Ukraine. Either way, it's a terrible black eye for Santa. Arweena promised that in the future, access to this database would be restricted on a “need to know” basis. And you know who that means!

The size of this database is astounding; it's not just for Christians. Abu Dhabi and India have registered official protests over the inclusion of their children in the comprehensive worldwide listings; And there have been howls of outrage everywhere about the inclusion of sixteen and seventeen year-olds. Santa's list is an inexcusable invasion of privacy for teenagers everywhere.

The myriad of inaccuracies (see Cory Doctorow's critique at Boing Boing) makes matters much worse. The majority of the children are accurately identified by their age, addresses, birthdates and (where possible) national identification numbers. All United States kids with Social Security numbers are now sharing their identities with the whole world. But in some cases, and for a few countries, the kids are identified by name alone. Aristotle Makektikutis, a thirteen year old Athenian, insists he is not the Aristotle Makektikutis in Santa's Greek records whose naughty deed is listed as “pollution.” His parents have issued a statement that their son does not even know how to pollute.

But it gets worse. In fact, this reporter thinks that any sober assessment of Santa's database can come to only one conclusion: it never should have been, and it should never be again. The mistakes! Jane Doe (actual name withheld), who is fully identified in the database and stands accused of “weak morals” is actually twenty-six, not eleven as shown in Santa's data record. Jane Doe has had to disappear into the FBI witness protection program to hide from the crowd of men seeking her company. Frequent age errors in the database mean that grown men and women who used their social security numbers as banking passwords are now losing their life savings. This outrage cannot go on.
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