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Why are U.S. Olympic athletes being told to use burner phones in Beijing?

Answer: Because of cybersecurity risks.

U.S. athletes headed to Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics have reportedly been told to leave their personal electronic devices behind. Due to concerns around cybersecurity, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee recommended that they instead use burner phones while at the Games.

The committee said that “every device, communication, transaction and online activity may be monitored. Your device(s) may also be compromised with malicious software, which could negatively impact future use.” Additionally, teams from Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands and the U.S. have been informed of the risk of connecting to public Wi-Fi networks.