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Privacy and Power Around Beijing 2022 Olympics: Legal and Political Perspectives

by Qianye Zhang

Repository Citation

Qianye Zhang, Privacy and Power Around Beijing 2022 Olympics: Legal and Political Perspectives, Winter 2021 Int’l J. L. Ethics Tech. 60(2021).
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Author Information: Consultant, the World Bank.
Abstract: The Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games launched a smartphone application,
MY2022, to monitor the health status of participants in order to control the spread of
the SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, Citizen Lab, a Canadian research institute, found
that the protections of the data storage and transmission process of this application were
either weak or completely unencrypted, leading to users’ privacy being at risk of
potential leaks. In addition, the study found that the app’s instant messaging feature
contained a list of sensitive words that had not been activated. Although Citizen Lab’s
report pointed out that these security vulnerabilities might be unintentional failures by
developers rather than an intentional arrangement by the Chinese government, the
criticisms were still widely cited by international media, bringing pressure on the
Chinese Olympic Committee and the Chinese authorities. Despite the fact that both the
International Olympic Committee and the Chinese Olympic Committee declared the
bugs had been fixed since the release of the initial research report, Beijing has much to
learn beyond the scope of technical issues.
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, MY2022, privacy, cybersecurity, censorship

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