The US National Security Agency ("NSA") Christmas Awards responded today to the critics of their Christmas Gift Award program, defending its objectives and choices.
The NSA award for 'Best surveillance toy' was given to 'Elf on the shelf'.
An anonymous NSA spokesman explained, "This toy is really cute. Parents can put it in a location that is out of reach of their youngsters, and add surveillance as a central feature of Santa story. The idea is that the Elf is watching the child to see if they are 'naughty or nice', and flies back to the North Pole every night to report to Santa. Parents can move the doll to new locations to confirm the illusion. This constant surveillance concept is a blessing for parents, whose children become more compliant with authoritarian suggestion."
But psychologists are becoming increasingly concerned at toys which promote paranoia about minimal or non-existent threats, purely in the interest of making life easier for authority figures. They claim the "surveillance society" that the NSA is promoting, where parents are encouraged to acclimatize their children at a very young age to disciplinary surveillance, is causing lasting psychological damage. They have even suggested that the NSA may have provided secret funding for the development of the toy, and its marketing message.
Today, defending the NSA position, an anonymous NSA spokesman said, "We must prepare future generations for a constant surveillance environment. The only way we can guarantee the freedoms we have enjoyed in the past from the encroachment of terrorists is to become more vigilant than ever in the future. Getting children accustomed to being watched in every private minute at a very young age means we will be able to give them the security of knowing that, when they get older, somebody will be listening to their phone conversations, and reading their email, and using video surveillance, so they can be protected from dangerous terrorist thoughts and antisocial activities, even in their own homes."
He continued, "We have thousands of psychologists on our staff, who are working on ways to make the future "Surveillance society" easier for people to accept. There will always be some people who want to create problems for these wonderful social programs we are engineering, but we are learning a lot from using artificial intelligence to scan the billions of emails, phone conversations, and video feeds that we are capturing every day. We fully expect to have a disciplinary environment that will weed out potential terrorists, that will also be acceptable to over 85% of the American people."
Senator Dianne Feinstein, who is responsible for the US Senate's oversight of NSA programs, strongly approves of the 'Elf on a Shelf' NSA award.
She said today, "The potential benefits for the rest of the world are enormous. Our national surveillance programs are developing technology that will provide a huge new global market for American companies. As well, our global surveillance program will also help us in spreading representative democratic concepts, so that Governments can weed out anti-social terrorists in their midst. We all understand that secret Government is essential to freedom from terrorism. Most people want to be able to vote on things that they see as important, and do not want to know about the thousands of terrorist threats we are resolving every day, because it would only upset them."
Senator Feinstein would not comment on Senatorial oversight programs. She said, "The actual oversight programs are top secret. We are satisfied that the NSA can run these programs on their own, and elected representatives are only involved on a need-to-know basis. I have complete faith that the NSA does not need interference from elected representatives to do their job."
When questioned about NSA chief James Clapper lying to Congress, Ms. Feinstein pointed out that only a few 'wingnuts' were concerned about this. "Those of us in charge are very aware of this, which we label as inadvertent statements, and we encourage Mr. Clapper to continue to inform Congress as he sees fit, in the interests of national security. Some mistaken exaggeration about the terrorist threat ensures the $300 billion of funding needed to continue our secret surveillance programs."