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Athletes at the Beijing Olympics told to leave their phones at home

The US Olympic Committee The advertisement athletes who will participate in the Beijing Winter Games to leave their phones at home so as not to risk being monitored during their stay in China. In a document containing the guidelines on participation in the Olympic Games obtained from Wall Street Journal what if USA Today It was also recommended to become familiar with the use of private networks (VPN) that allow shielding at least part of the Internet traffic.

American athletes weren’t the only ones to receive similar advice. The British Olympic Committee he offered its members on temporary phones, but will not prohibit them from using theirs. A spokesman told al. guardian: “We have provided athletes and staff with practical advice on choosing whether or not to bring their own personal devices. If you prefer not to bring your own equipment, we will provide you with temporary devices.” Everyone involved in the Games, from athletes to service personnel, will have a mobile device running MY2022, the app that will, among other things, be used to store personal documents and health information.

The Dutch and Canadian Olympic Committees have adopted the American line and will provide athletes and staff with phones and PCs that will be deactivated at the end of the event. In Italy, CONI “has not given advice of any kind or documents” to the members of its delegation.

Fourteen years ago China hosted its first edition of the Olympic Games. At the time, however, normal cell phones were still in use and the various mobile devices were not as widespread or used as they are today. For the Winter Olympics that start on February 4, the Beijing government has promised participants partially free internet access in the event areas and the suspension of the so-called Great Firewall that normally blocks access to platforms and social networks scattered around the world. other places like Facebook and Youtube.

The Chinese embassies in the aforementioned countries have also defined the concerns expressed in recent days by the Olympic committees, which however continue to be insistent, “completely unfounded”. Larry Diamond, a researcher at Stanford University, he said to Bloomberg to agree to the use of secondary cell phones by athletes during their stay in China, “where the most sophisticated authoritarian state of digital surveillance is being built.”

Meanwhile, the organizing committee of the Beijing Games, after prohibiting the presence of foreign spectators, has decided not to sell tickets to the public residing in China so as not to run the risk of increasing infections in the country, where the “zero-COVID strategy ” is in place “. And the restrictions are intensified even in the presence of slight increases. The organizing committee will allow access to the competition venues only to selected groups of spectators.

– Read also: One month at the Beijing Olympics