TEAM GB stars have been advised to leave personal mobile phones at home – to avoid the devices being corrupted by Chinese spies at the Beijing Winter Olympics.
The British Olympic Association have given ‘practical advice’ to athletes travelling to China about potential cyber security risks while staying in the country.
Temporary ‘burner’ phones will be available for the duration of the trip and it is understood these have already been arranged for BOA staff.
This is a policy that has already been taken by the Dutch Olympic committee, who are concerned about individual phones being infected by spyware to track future movements or monitored by security services.
The Winter Games start on February 4 but have been dogged by the ongoing Covid crisis and China’s alleged human rights abuses.
In the IOC closed-loop system, there should be no restrictions on internet access, allowing athletes, officials and media to surf the web and access Twitter, Facebook or Google.
This is a contrast to the general public in China where platforms for those American internet giants are blocked by the State’s Great Firewall.
BOA officials are flying out to the Far East next week and hope to have a travelling team of close to 60 athletes.
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A Team GB spokesperson said: “We’ve given athletes and staff practical advice so that they can make their own choice as to whether they take their personal devices to the Games, or not.
“Where they do not want to take their own equipment, we have provisioned temporary devices for them to use.”
Last month, Boris Johnson announced that the UK would join a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Games in relation to China’s record on human rights.
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