New York Times: Beware the Elf on a Shelf, Privacy Watchdogs Warn

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Caitriona Fitzgerald, deputy director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a public interest research group, said children need private spaces to grow up with a sense of autonomy and independence.

“If kids think they are always being watched, even when the watcher is a magical elf, that can have real effects on how they see themselves in the world,” she said.


The elf was a subject that at least some privacy organizations, which typically focus on the deadly serious consequences of overstepping governments and the creeping reach of technology companies, had a bit of fun discussing.

Calli Schroeder, the global privacy counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, responded to a reporter’s questions about the elf with lyrics, to be sung to the tune of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.”

It begins: “You better watch out / Look up on the shelf / Don’t accept spies just because they are elves / Santa’s spy is watching your kids.”

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