Team USA prepares to send its athletes to the Beijing Olympics with the games a few weeks away, but the trip reportedly comes with a serious caveat: keep your personal phones at home.
The US Olympic team warned athletes traveling to Beijing to be wary of possible digital surveillance by the Chinese government abroad. USA today reported Thursday.
“Like computers, the data and applications on mobile phones are subject to malicious intrusion, infection and data corruption,” Team USA’s advisory reportedly stated, adding that “burner phones” were “encouraged.”
The Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee told the newspaper that China takes the importance of protecting personal data seriously.
“Personal information collected by Beijing 2022 will not be disclosed unless disclosure is necessary,” the committee said. “Information from accredited media representatives will only be used for purposes related to the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.”
Team USA was not the only country to warn of possible Chinese surveillance.
Canadian athletes were also warned.
Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge said: The Canadian Press that protecting laptops and mobile phones was a priority.
The Netherlands Olympic Committee said it “anticipated Chinese surveillance during the games”.
The Olympics start on February 4.