Clive Robinson January 2, 2018 8:04 AM

@ Bruce,

meaning that it’s not a real camera. Instead, it just gets children used to being under constant surveillance.

I’ve actually seen the device in question (Aldi is a European origin “stack it high knock it out cheap” supermarket that is a recent and popular entrant in the UK market).

My thoughts at the time are shall we say “not permissible before the watershed” with out extensive use of the naughty word button…

Are you familiar with the Yourkshire (in England) expression,

    All t’worlds mad cept thy an me

This idea just strikes me as utter madness even in a distopian setting. George Orwell and Franz Kafka would be both intrigued and horrified by such a device.

Oh the good news if there is any is it’s now onky 99pence…

@ Wes Reynolds,


I suspect the number on the end of the URL has changed due either to the markdown or as some kind of UID, though I suspect the former more than the latter.

Reinoud January 2, 2018 8:32 AM

It has always been the case that we ‘teach’ children Santa is always watching you. It has been that scary for ages. There’s this guy who is spying on you every day.

The fake cam is only a modern twist to a story that had some really disturbing elements to start with….

wumpus January 2, 2018 10:45 AM

Back in the 1980s when the Reagan escalation of the War on Drugs was going on and drug testing was barging into industry somebody tried to sell a “my first drug test” to parents/children. It doesn’t appear to exist anymore, and I can’t imagine it selling enough to justify itself (presumably somebody with an agenda subsidized it, but possibly only by being high enough in management to not care how much the company lost. Or possibly this was a hoax and Snopes didn’t exist yet).

Just pointing out that the world has always been this mad (although I suspect the “Elf on the Shelf” existed for similar reasons) and that authoritarians presumably want to raise little authoritarians.

Rachel January 2, 2018 11:02 AM

It is definitely worth reporting this to consumer ‘watchdogs’

And reporting to the EFF and complaining to the manufacturer

echo January 2, 2018 11:39 AM

This device is very creepy. After earlier sexualisation and privacy scandals hasn’t anyone learned any lessons? What were they thinking?

Children are protected for a reason. By way of example Advertising Standards Authority guidelines and rulings exist. I personally believe this device is harmful when a childs development psychology and later social consequences are considered in the round.

Finally, advertisers should ensure that there is nothing within an ad that is addressed to, targeted at or features a child that could result in a child’s physical, mental or moral harm. Ads must be prepared responsibly and will fall foul of the Code if they encourage children to enter strange places or talk to strangers. ( Inc, 17 April 2013). Equally, advertisers should steer away from depicting children in dangerous situations unless the purpose of the ad is to promote child safety. (The Win Green Trading Company Ltd, 20 July 2011).

J Lilly January 2, 2018 12:19 PM

“He knows when you have been sleeping, he knows when you’re awake. He knows if you have been bad or good so be good for goodness sake!”

Do you know that song remains the best selling Christmas song of all time? Over 50 Million records copies sold worldwide since 1934.

So what is new about our surveillance society is not the urge. What is new is the vast accumulation of data (big data) and the all pervasive mentality (Google).

albert January 2, 2018 1:30 PM

Brilliant! Social satire in the marketplace.

Millions of kids (and adult-sized kids) are already terrified of their omniscient, omnipotent God. The all-seeing, all-knowing Santa was just a song…until now.

. .. . .. — ….

VinnyG January 2, 2018 1:37 PM

@CliveR – I’m guessing some of the restrained language would be on the concept of conditioning youngsters to unquestioningly accept a lifetime of 24-7 surveillance. I agree, “despicable” is far too mild… re: “All t’worlds mad cept thy an me” – “and I’m not too sartain about thee” is something I’ve heard appended to that in the past (authentic or not, I have no idea…)

wumpus January 2, 2018 3:45 PM


I’m sure Aldi can send the cameras over to their US stores (I think they are related, but might have different owners by now). Nobody in the US would dare interfere with the sacred bonds of a child and their advertiser.

Chris January 2, 2018 7:02 PM

There are two Aldi brands which are owned by two different heirs of the original founder. However, the US and UK brands are both ALDI SÜD (as indicated by the shared logo).

So, yes, if they expected this item to sell in the USA, they would probably offer it there as well. I suspect they weren’t too sure it wouldn’t. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t sold in Australia, either (another ALDI SÜD country).

tyr January 2, 2018 7:47 PM

I’ve always felt that Santa should be
explored at some depth due to his drug
connections with Amanita Muscaria and
the motifs of commercialized Xmas.

Reindeer and evergreen trees, the red and
white suit. The self transforming machine
elves of DMT trips and their toymaking.
Once you penetrate the surface of jolly fat
man it opens the abyss to psychedelic
madness lurking just below. Once you see
his transdimensional powers the attempt of
the trivial IC to ride on his coattails
is merely pathetic.


I always thought that Kim Dot Com and his
case was always about his informing NZ
about the IC surveillance state rewriting
their laws. Exposure of that dragged them
into a public debate, something they have
shown a great fear of in the past.

you might like to know about this.

Clive Robinson January 3, 2018 10:10 AM

@ tyr,

The self transforming machine elves of DMT trips and their toymaking. Once you penetrate the surface of jolly fat man it opens the abyss to psychedelic madness lurking just below. Once you see his transdimensional powers the attempt of the trivial IC to ride on his coattails is merely pathetic.

Hmmm which moss have you been “in jesting” the one on the rocks or straight from the can[1] 😉

With regards,

I always thought that Kim Dot Com and his case was always about his informing NZ about the IC surveillance state rewriting their laws

Actually it’s a bit more complicated than that. A few years ago an investigative author found out that the NZ SigInt agency was in effect run by the NSA not the NZ Gov. Basically the office of the head of their SigInt agency had a senior NSA person in the office next door. Appart from domestic administration most of the orders came out of that second office. It was an embarrassment to the then NZ PM to discover that the NZ payed for agency was run not for or by the NZ Gov but both the NSA and GCHQ and most of the intel gathered was never seen by anyone in NZ even the NZ guys running the kit… The reason that AUS Canada and NZ were in the FiveEyes was little or nothing to do with any relationship to the NSA, but where they were located with regards both Cables and Satellites. The kit they ran was designed by GCHQ and NSA and maibly manufactured by/for the NSA and was run by “local technicians” the intel was piped almost directly to the NSA where it was crunched on their computer systems using algorithms designed by both the NSA and GCHQ… It was the NSA assisted by GCHQ that decided originally what intel the other three nations got given back…

I gather a similar approach is still in place with the second tier members in Europe. Which might change a lot when the UK Brexits.

The cartoon on this page might amuse,

Think of it as a near Canadian listening post 😉

But yes the FBI stomping it’s indiscreet feet all over the place getting caught out lying and conniving with the local LEO’s to get an overly broad and illegal warrant, that alowed the FBI to illegaly duplicate Kim Dotcom’s hard drives and other privileged information and all sorts of other shady activity has not best pleased the NZ judiciary, a number of it’s politicians and quite a few of it’s citizens. That is they kind of don’t like being treated as an FBI doormat not even a vassal state, let alone a sovereign nation with laws to protect the citizens from such abuses from the US or any other entity. The problem is that the US DoJ and FBI firmly belive their writ applies where ever they chose, and that none shall deny them their self entitlement. For some reason they either don’t know or care about how it rubs people up the wrong way…

Which brings us onto more pleasant things,

I’ve been meaning to get over and see, it but I ended up in hospital then quite ill, so I’ve only a couple of weekends left to get over there. I was looking at rail fares from London Waterloo to Salisbury for a Sat morning and they range from 30-60UKP with no real rhym or reason as to why. The only disernable thing is there are two trains an hour about 20mins appart but ariving about the same time, the slightly slower one is in the bottom half of the pricing. I’m guessing it stops a couole of times where the the later one does not…

Anyway I need to consult with t’lad who is also a fan, and would be somewhat miffed if I did not drag him along 😉

[1] For those not in the know moss be it Irish, Jamaican or Caribbean is seaweed that has been turned into a drink, often sweetened and likewise with alcohol. Reindeer moss is likewise not a moss but a lichen, but is a staple food for Reindeer along with other lichens. However whilst it is just unpleasintly acidic those other lichens contain poisons with some having brain chemical altering properties thus “very high reindeer” are not unknown. Some people belive that this is something to do with the flying reindeer myth. Humans can and do eat the ordinary reindeer moss as its around 95% carbohydrate but you need to prepare it first. On method is by drying it out, another faster method is to boil it several times each time in clean water with a little bicarbonate. It can be used as a flour replacment/extender, as a thickener in stocks,soups etc and in making fruit jellies (real jello) often with quite tart berries. My advice from experience is unless it’s in a half cut scone with a slice of bacon and fried egg on top is give it a miss. The same applies to Laverbread products which are not a bread but a sauce made from an alginate seaweed so similar to Irish moss –but from Wales– it is used in all sorts of foods to thicken or add flavour, it also ends up in a lot of comercial ice cream. Again my breakfast scone/biscuit recomendation holds.

neill January 3, 2018 11:34 AM

at that price point i’ll take my chances, that some burglar will be scared off just by the red blinking LED, w/o spotting santa’s face on the cam (and fearing his denial of gifts)

tyr January 4, 2018 2:55 AM


There’s a horribly odd relationship among
the 5 eyes. I remember Canadian spooks
who were trying to recruit Jake A. and
said that NSA had to sign off on all of
their hirings.

Somewhere along the line the world seems
to have turned into a spook disneyland of
major delusional proportions. Nation states
seem to have all abdicated from their job
and developed total disregard for their
citizens opinions.

The trouble with noticing this is you can
start stringing it all into some master
plan instead of it being a second order
effect of arrogance+incompetence. That
path leads to conspiracy theories with
the assignment of blame to some nefarious

If you decide that no one is really in
charge and notice that there are few who
qualify as grown-ups involved it becomes
a better explanation for the state of the
spectacle. It means we have to stock up
on more popcorn though.

I have never been able to wrap my mind
around the concept of a woman who wanted
to change her name to Huma Weiner and do
it on purpose. The surreal nature of
Merkin politics makes Dadaists look to
be lacking in imagination completely.

I’ll believe in american government version
of omnipotence when they get the power back
on in Puerto Rico.

x2bike4u January 4, 2018 3:33 PM

Way back when in the late ’50s and early ’60s I remember my parents had a little stuffed elf dressed in green and red, named Barry. He was propped on a shelf around Christmas time and was supposed to be watching us. After we kids went to bed Barry supposedly relayed our naughties and niceties to Santa. I don’t remember his presence making any difference on our behavior. And I am still not used to being surveilled.

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