The United States is among the numerous countries advising their Olympic athletes to protect themselves from Chinese surveillance at the upcoming 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.
According to USA Today, Team USA issued a statement urging its delegation to take “burner” phones with them so that their personal data is not compromised.
“Like computers, data and applications on mobile phones are subject to malicious intrusion, infection and data compromise,” the statement said.
The United States is hardly alone in its overconfidence about cybersecurity in Beijing.
The Dutch authorities “expect Chinese surveillance during the Games.”
The Canadian Olympic Committee said the Winter Games “provide a unique opportunity for cybercrime” and “recommended that [athletes] be extra careful when playing games, including considering leaving personal devices at home, restricting personal information stored on devices brought to the Games, and practicing good cyber hygiene at all times. “The UK Committee has made similar suggestions.
A statement from the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee did not deny that personal data would be collected, but claimed that it would not be misused.
“The Chinese government attaches great importance to the protection of personal data,” the organizing committee said in a statement.
“Personal information collected by Beijing 2022 will not be disclosed unless disclosed. Information from accredited media representatives will only be used for purposes related to the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.”
The Winter Olympics begin on February 4th.