The United States is among the numerous 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 an advisory urging its delegation to bring “burner” phones with them so their personal data is not at risk.
“Like computers, the data and applications on cell phones are subject to malicious intrusion, infection and data compromise,” the advisory states.
The US is hardly alone in its over concerns about cybersecurity in Beijing.
Dutch authorities are “anticipating Chinese surveillance during the Games.”
The Canadian Olympic Committee said the Winter Games “present a unique opportunity for cybercrime” and “recommended that [athletes] 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.” The British committee has made similar suggestions.
A statement from the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee did not deny personal data would be collected, but claimed 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 not be disclosed unless the disclosure is necessary. Information of accredited media representatives will only be used for purposes related to the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.”
The Winter Olympics begin on Feb. 4.