Russia Shower Surveillance In Sochi Hotel Rooms During Olympics a Real Concern
We're not going to lie: some of us are enjoying the hilarious, contemptuous Tweets from journalists in Sochi, and laughing over the fact that t.A.T.u will play at the Sochi Olympics opening ceremony. But this recent slip of the tongue from an official in Sochi doesn't have us laughing. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak accidentally announced Thursday that "We have surveillance video from the hotels that shows people turn on the shower, direct the nozzle at the wall and then leave the room for the whole day."
Hold on: Did Kozak just announce that Russia has surveillance cameras in Sochi's showers?
Soon after he made the comments, Kozak was pulled away from the mic. One of Kozak's spokespeople then attempted to clarify Kozak's comments to the Wall Street Journal:
A spokesman for Mr. Kozak later on Thursday said there is absolutely no surveillance in hotel rooms or bathrooms occupied by guests. He said there was surveillance on premises during construction and cleaning of Sochi's venues and hotels and that is likely what Mr. Kozak was referencing. A senior official at a company that built a number of the hotels also said there is no such surveillance in rooms occupied by guests.
We're not buying it. Olympic athletes and Sochi visitors probably won't either.
Potentially disturbing shower antics aside, it's understandable that Russia has amped up its security measures for the Olympics. Recently, the Department of Homeland Security told travelers to or from Russia to watch out for the possibility that someone could sneak toothpaste tube bombs onto a flight. Russia has also drawn up a brigade dedicated to performing background checks on Sochi Olympics spectators.
And it's also not as if Russia is trying to keep any of these measures undercover. "Everyone should expect that all their communications, all the technical devices like smart phones, laptops, will be completely transparent," Russian investigative journalist Andrei Soldatov told CBC news.
Looking on the bright side, isn't it better for a country to acknowledge its surveillance measures (even if inadvertently) rather than extensively cover them up until a whistleblower reveals all the dirty details?
But really — in the shower? Not OK.