Friday, 30 December 2016

State Letter To Grandfather

In another sign of the times, some Russian websites have been offering letters to Grandfather Frost (the Russian Santa Claus), which also collected children's personal details. Russia's media regulator is actually investigating 76 such sites for data misuse offences.

Father Frost Gives Presents To All Good Little Boys .... Have You Been A Good Boy Vladimir?

However, in a bid not to look too mean spirited, its offered its own state sponsored version of the traditional letter to Grandfather Frost.

After the spaces for their first name age and behaviour it proceeds .... "This year I have been studying very well... I was obedient to my parents" .... then some lines on the local weather that Grandfather Frost might have to face (I guess it differs from Siberia to the Black Sea), then the immortal money shot lines  "They say that you give presents to children for the New Year. Please give me and my parents [blank]. I would be very grateful for this present. Thank you!" ... signature space.

I found the words 'They say' rather odd, and harking back somewhat to the communist era when religion was mocked, but it was the advise they added on their website that told you we live in really different times. It added the caution to both parents and children, that the real Grandfather Frost "will never ask for your precious personal details" such as full name, date of birth, address or school. Data misuse is a worldwide problem, even in a land where state hackers thrive.

There was some mocking of all this, but with Russia's economy struggling, I guess many Russian children may not be getting a visit from Grandfather Frost this year anyway.

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