Team USA has recommended its athletes use disposable computers and burner phones when they travel to Beijing for the Winter Olympics next month over concerns of Chinese surveillance.
“Like computers, the data and applications on cell phones are subject to malicious intrusion, infection and data compromise,” Team USA’s said in an advisory to the athletes.
The Dutch Olympic Committee first raised concerns about privacy in China — at least publicly — on Tuesday by “anticipating Chinese surveillance during the Games.”
Following the Dutch Committee’s comments, spokespeople for the British Olympic Association and the Australian Olympic Committee recommended their athletes also not bring their personal electronic devices to Beijing.
Team Canada issued similar advisories to its athletes:
“We’ve reminded all Team Canada members that the Olympic Games present a unique opportunity for cybercrime, and recommended that they be extra diligent at Games, including considering leaving personal devices at home, limiting personal information stored on devices brought to the Games, and to practice good cyber-hygiene at all times.”
Beijing’s 2022 organizing committee does not deny plans to collect personal information, saying it may just not release the findings. How kind is that?
“Personal information collected by Beijing 2022 will not be disclosed unless the disclosure is necessary,” the committee said in a statement. “Information of accredited media representatives will only be used for purposes related to the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.”
Of course, that’s probably a lie. Why wouldn’t it be?
It’s hard to imagine a worse host country for the Olympics than China. Yet the Winter Games begin in Beijing on February 4.