State Dept to Olympic Tourists: Don’t Expect Privacy

The U.S. Department of State has issued a fact sheet for travelers visiting China during the Olympics. The language is dry, but it covers everything from terrorism and protests to counterfeit goods and the occasional blocking of U.S. State Department web pages. It offers visitors some interesting advice both before going to China and once you’re there. For example:

PRIVACY & SAFETY: All visitors should be aware that they have no reasonable expectation of privacy in public or private locations. All hotel rooms and offices are considered to be subject to on-site or remote technical monitoring at all times. Hotel rooms, residences and offices may be accessed at any time without the occupant’s consent or knowledge. . . .

In other words, don’t be surprised if your room is bugged or searched.

According to ABC News:

This is similar advice that U.S. officials visiting China follow. The U.S. military has been increasingly worried about Chinese electronic capabilities.

ABC News was granted exclusive access to the head of the U.S. Pacific Command, Adm. Timothy Keating, as he met with top Chinese military leaders in January. Keating told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl that even his staff members leave their electronic devices behind for fear that the Chinese could hack into them.

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