Russia Openly Says They Will Spy on You at Winter Olympic Games - The UpStream

Russia Openly Says They Will Spy on You at Winter Olympic Games

posted Sunday Oct 6, 2013 by Nicholas DiMeo

Russia Openly Says They Will Spy on You at Winter Olympic Games

I didn't think I would ever say something like this but here it goes. If you want the true definition of transparency, just ask Russia how they're doing it. That's because in preparation for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia has said that their Federal Security Service (FSB) will be heavily and actively monitoring any and all communication from the Games' athletes, fans, directors and staff.

While the program's name, Sorm, doesn't rival that of the NSA's PRISM, it does bear a good resemblance to the US SkyNet, as Sorm is a joint effort from dozens of security companies and IT specialists. This team has given FSB the ability to see and hear anything from phone call data to Internet activity, and also includes a nifty little program that'll pick up pre-identified words or phrases in social media, emails and chats, among other activity on the net.

Russian security expert and journalist, Andrei Soldatov, put it like this:

For example you can use the keyword Navalny, and work out which people in a particular region are using the word Navalny. Then, those people can be tracked further.

Director of Citizen Lab and University of Toronto professor, Ron Deibert, said that Sorm is kind of like "Prism on steroids" and that,

The scope and scale of Russian surveillance are similar to the disclosures about the US programme but there are subtle differences to the regulations. We know from Snowden's disclosures that many of the checks were weak or sidestepped in the US, but in the Russian system permanent access for Sorm is a requirement of building the infrastructure. Even as recently as the Beijing Olympics, the sophistication of surveillance and tracking capabilities were nowhere near where they are today.

This is pretty intense, even for Russia. However, we shouldn't be too surprised that countries like this are going to be tracking and monitoring data, and are doing it so openly, especially when things like transparency reports are being released here in the States. This is such a strong effort though, that the FSB has been working on this system since 2010 and has been actively testing it since early last year.

The good news is that Russia issued a friendly reminder in form of a leaflet sent to the US Bureau of Diplomatic Security, warning travelers of what's going to go down once they step foot outside of Sochi's airport.

Business travellers should be particularly aware that trade secrets, negotiating positions, and other sensitive information may be taken and shared with competitors, counterparts, and/or Russian regulatory and legal entities.

So Russia will be spying on you, looking for your next Facebook or Netflix idea, while you're watching your favorite curling teams out-slide each other in a game of ice darts. At least the country also advised you to take the batteries out of your devices when you land, so as to not let them turn on your device remotely. I guess it would suck to have an iPhone if you're at the Games.


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