Author Topic: Russia plannin 'near-total surveillance' of vistors, athletes at Sochi Winter Olympics  (Read 392 times)

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Online rangerrebew

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Russia planning 'near-total surveillance' of visitors, athletes at Sochi Winter Olympics

Security measures at the Sochi winter Olympics will include such extensive electronic eavesdropping and surveillance that the US State Department has advised Americans headed to Russia to leave smart phones and laptops at home, an investigation has revealed.
Russia planning 'near-total surveillance' of visitors, athletes at Sochi Winter Olympics

By Roland Oliphant, Moscow

10:02PM BST 06 Oct 2013
Research by Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan, two Russian investigative journalists who specialise in covering the security services, reveals a picture of near-total surveillance, Soldatov said.

The Russian authorities have gone to great lengths to lay on the best communications support any Olympic event has seen at the February games, including 4G coverage and free WiFi throughout the city of Sochi.

But Soldatov and Borogan's research indicates that the internet, telephone and other communications providers involved are obliged to build networks in such a way that the security services have full and unimpeded access.

“There is an element of meta-data gathering, but Russian security services are not so interested in meta-data. This is about content,” Soldatov told The Telegraph, citing an “information security concept” document laying out these measures. “The idea seems to be to make communications in Sochi totally transparent for the Russian authorities.”

The monitoring programme, which is run by the Federal Security Service, Russia’s internal security agency and the main successor to the KGB, is aided by software that helps identify key words and phrases of interest being used in electronic communications. “It is a very useful way of knowing who in a given region is talking about Navalny, for example,” said Soldatov, referring to a Russian opposition leader.

An FSB statement and other documents also revealed that the FSB and the Russian interior ministry have both acquired two kinds of drones for surveillance during the games, he added, as well as a vast network of closed circuit television in the city.

While the measures bear some resemblance to security at the Beijing Olympics, Soldatov said that taken together it is probably the most comprehensive surveillance in Olympic history. Drones had been considered for surveillance at the London Olympics, but were not used in the event.

Soldatov said the depth of surveillance was so comprehensive that the US State Department has advised its citizens “that it would be better to forget your laptop or smart phone in your home country, because it will be intercepted.”

The measures are ostensibly aimed at securing Sochi against possible terrorist attacks during the games. Sochi neighbours Russia’s turbulent North Caucasus, where federal forces are fighting a long-running Islamist separatist insurgency. Doku Umarov, a rebel leader who has claimed responsibility for a number of suicide bombings in Moscow in recent years, has called on his followers to attack the games.

In August Vladimir Putin signed a decree establishing restricted zones around the city and banning public demonstrations for the duration of the game.

Earlier this week an FSB spokesman told reporters that security would be unintrusive compared to the London Olympics.

But Soldatov said the nature of the measures and key personnel appointments suggested other priorities.

The chief of Olympic Security, for example, is Oleg Syromolotov, the head of FSB Counter Intelligence – a spy catcher rather than a counter terrorism expert.

“Taken together, it looks to me like these people still see the main threat to the Olympics coming not from the North Caucasus, but from outside the country,” said Soldatov.

The research, part of a joint investigation with the Guardian newspaper, is part of a wider project looking at Russian surveillance practices.

The research is not yet complete and the full report has yet to be published, Soldatov said.

No one at the FSB was immediately available to comment on Sunday evening.

I don't understand why the American government would have a problem with such surveillance since it is practiced every day here? :shrug:
« Last Edit: October 07, 2013, 05:24:48 AM by rangerrebew »
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