The United States is among many countries advising their Olympic athletes to protect themselves against Chinese surveillance at the upcoming 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.
According to USA Today, Team USA issued a notice urging its delegation to bring “engravable” phones with them so that their personal data is not at risk.
“Like computers, mobile phone data and applications are prone to malicious intrusion, infection, and data compromise,” the advisory said.
The United States is not alone in worrying about cybersecurity in Beijing.
Dutch authorities “anticipate Chinese surveillance during the Games”.
The Canadian Olympic Committee said the Winter Games “present a unique opportunity for cybercrime” and “recommended that [athletes] be extremely diligent at the Games, including considering leaving personal devices at home, limiting personal information stored on devices brought to the Games, and practicing good cyber hygiene at all times. The British committee made similar suggestions.
A statement from the Beijing 2022 organizing committee did not deny that personal data would be collected, but said it would not be misused.
“The Chinese government attaches great importance to the protection of personal information,” the organizing committee said in a statement.
“Personal information collected by Beijing 2022 will only be disclosed if disclosure is necessary. 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 4.