Today, Chinese President Xi Jinping will start a three-day visit to Finland, the motherland of Santa Claus. It is Xi’s first trip to Finland as Chairman of the Communist Party. It has however transpired that 7 years ago, as Vice-Chairman, Xi had met Santa Claus in his hometown of Rovaniemi, located on the Arctic Circle in northern part of Finland.
Letters from Chinese children were disclosed to Xi
It has also transpired that during Xi’s visit 7 years ago, Santa’s elf, Rita Matila, who was in charge of opening Santa’s letters, had disclosed to Xi contents of letters written by Chinese children to Santa. What I wonder is whether the consent of all of the Chinese children had been obtained prior to disclosing the contents of their letters to Xi.
The matter of personal privacy and confidentiality
If I write to Santa and I know that my letter might be disclosed to Xi, what I would write in my letter would probably be very different from had I knew my letter would be kept confidential to the eyes of Santa only. If the writer’s consent was not obtained by Santa, I think Santa might have breached privacy laws and/or the writer’s trust and confidence.
Does Santa respect personal privacy rights?
Don’t want to be betrayed by Santa? Next time you write him, include “private and confidential” and “please refrain from disclosing the contents of this letter to any third party including but not limited to any state leader and/or government official without my prior written consent.” Santa has all your personal data, including where you live.
In this day and age, personal data is worth a lot of money. Once obtained by shady businesses, it is sold to marketeers or stolen by fraudsters. We place lot of trust in who we give our personal data to, especially governments. But sometimes our trust is misplaced, as our government managed to have 3.7 million voters’ information “stolen.” So, next time you write to Santa, write “private and confidential.” Or else that man climbing down your chimney might not be Santa.