The upcoming Olympics in China are shaping up to be an event where the world can see what China as a country has to offer. For the most part, the includes genocide, slavery, and plenty of mass surveillance.
According to the New York Times, the MY2022 app that Chinese officials have deemed mandatory for all athletes to install on their phones is riddled with security “flaws”. However, it’s not much of stretch to believe those flaws are indeed intentional.
But what is intentional is the censorship tools built into the app. Chinese officials have claimed the app is to speed up covid testing and health information for athletes. However, the app also includes code to censor certain political words and phrases according to Citizen Lab which conducts cybersecurity audits.
Considering the Olympics are a competition and given China’s love of cheating, it stands to reason this app will also be used to spy on foreign athletes to give Chinese athletes an edge if possible.
But it could also be worse. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have situations where certain foreign athletes who are competitive with Chinese athletes have a sudden “false positive” test result that removes them from competition or throws them off their usual schedule as they jump through hoops to try to get back in the games.
If you remember, the last time the Olympics were in China there were huge cheating scandals. Even before that, there was the age scandal of Chinese gymnasts in the 2008 games where the team was obviously younger than the allowed age to compete.
It’s no secret that the Chinese government is obsessed with cheating, even sometimes for the most petty reasons. So for them now to have access to every athlete’s phone and communications seems like too much of a temptation for them to resist.
Of course, we’ll have to wait and see how things pan out when the games kick off on February 4th. But don’t be surprised if we start hearing about cheating scandals coming out of China before the games are even over.
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