Investigative Journalist Andrei Soldatov and Citizen Lab Senior Security Researcher Morgan Marquis-Boire were interviewed for a New Yorker article on the surveillance in Sochi, Sochi’s Other Legacy.
Below is an excerpt from the piece:
“It’s important to remember the F.S.B. [the Russian Federal Security Service] is not only about counter-terrorism. They are a counter-intelligence service, and it is very apparent in Sochi,” Andrei Soldatov, a leading expert on the Russian security state, told me during a recent interview in New York. Along with Irina Borogan, Soldatov first reported on the Kremlin’s plan to monitor communications at the Winter Games after discovering significant amendments to phone and Internet infrastructure in Sochi, as well as plans to standardize SORM’s capabilities across the nation. Soldatov noted another surveillance measure that’s currently being tested through Sochi’s visitor-registration system: requiring all users to identify themselves before connecting to any public Wi-Fi network in Russia. He estimates that the requirement could begin rolling out nationally within the next two months.
While some of these security enhancements are meant to address legitimate concerns, given previous terrorist attacks and Sochi’s proximity to national borders, “the biggest problem is self-censorship,” Soldatov told me. Most of the surveillance, he added, exists simply “to send a message” to journalists and activists “to think twice about what you’re doing,” knowing that everything they say and do will be captured and potentially analyzed later.