Edward Snowden’s New Home Plans to Monitor ‘All Communications’ at the Winter Olympics
In case you were wondering what a real surveillance state might look like: Russia to Monitor ‘All Communications’ at Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Athletes and spectators attending the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February will face some of the most invasive and systematic spying and surveillance in the history of the Games, documents shared with the Guardian show.
Russia’s powerful FSB security service plans to ensure that no communication by competitors or spectators goes unmonitored during the event, according to a dossier compiled by a team of Russian investigative journalists looking into preparations for the 2014 Games.
In a ceremony on Red Square on Sunday afternoon, the president, Vladimir Putin, held the Olympic flame aloft and sent it on its epic journey around the country, saying Russia and its people had always been imbued with the qualities of “openness and friendship”, making Sochi the perfect destination for the Olympics.
But government procurement documents and tenders from Russian communication companies indicate that newly installed telephone and internet spying capabilities will give the FSB free rein to intercept any telephony or data traffic and even track the use of sensitive words or phrases mentioned in emails, webchats and on social media.
Ron Deibert, a professor at the University of Toronto and director of Citizen Lab, which co-operated with the Sochi research, describes the Sorm amendments as “Prism on steroids”, referring to the program used by the NSA in the US and revealed to the Guardian by the whistleblower Edward Snowden. “The scope and scale of Russian surveillance are similar to the disclosures about the US programme but there are subtle differences to the regulations,” says Deibert. “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.”