Russia to eavesdrop on all Olympic communications

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Russia to eavesdrop on all Olympic communications
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Sochi visitors warned.

Russia is preparing to monitor the communications of athletes and others taking part in the Sochi Winter Olympics at an unprecedented level, according to official documents.

Government tender documents indicate all communications equipment at the Black Sea reasort will be tapped, including wi-fi and mobile phone networks, to allow eavesdropping through the Russian SORM (System for Operative Investigative Activities) interception system, The Guardian reported.

Documents seen by Russian journalists Andrei Soldatov and Irinia Borogan point to deep packet inspection (DPI) being used to filter all communications around Sochi, with intelligence agencies being able to sort these, search for keywords and identify and monitor people.

The monitoring plans were discovered on the Russian government Zakupki ("purchases") procurement agency website. By law, all Russian goverment agencies must buy equipment through Zakupki. This includes the country's intelligence agencies.

SORM was set up in 1996 to monitor telephone communications in the country. Two years later, SORM-2 was introduced to cover the internet.

Beyond the Russian Federal Security Service FSB, several other agencies including tax authorities, police and customs have access to SORM.

The United States State Department has already issued a warning to business travellers that sensitive information may be captured and shared with Russian government agencies and private competitors in the country. 

A State Department leaflet recommends removing batteries from phones when not in use and to only travel to Russia with clean devices, according to The Guardian.

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