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NORAD still tracking Santa despite government shutdown

Neither snow nor rain nor political impasse can keep its defense satellites from trailing St. Nick and his reindeer on Christmas Eve.

Michelle Meyers
Michelle Meyers wrote and edited CNET News stories from 2005 to 2020 and is now a contributor to CNET.
Michelle Meyers

About 1,500 volunteers answer questions about where Santa is every year. 

Dennis Carlyle

Ever wonder how Santa feels about data privacy and being tracked in the lead-up to Christmas Day?

Well this year he's not catching a break, even despite the partial government shutdown that started Saturday.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command, the organization that protects the airspace above the US and Canada, announced Friday that despite the shutdown, it'll continue to do its whimsical tracking of Santa's journey.

"Military personnel who conduct NORAD Tracks Santa are supported by approximately 1,500 volunteers who make the program possible every year," the command said in a tweet.

In fact, it's been 63 years since the agency starting training its defense satellites on Santa, all because a typo in an ad directed kids to call St. Nick at what was actually a secret military hotline. NORAD's Santa tracking operation enables all sorts of tech, including radar dishes and strategically placed "SantaCams."

In addition using NORAD's Santa tracker website, you can also follow Santa around the globe via the Twitter account, @NoradSanta or through NORAD's mobile app.

Also competing again this year in the Santa-tracking business is Google, which launched its own Santa tracker website back in 2012. Google's Santa tracker is filled with games and activities and can also be tapped via its Chrome extension, app or a Google Home. Amazon's Alexa also features a Santa Tracker skill you can access through its devices.

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