The Russians

Russia Is Going to Creep on ‘All Communications’ at the Winter Olympics Because It’s Russia

Do NOT use Grindr.

Looks like a fun time. (Photo: Sochi 2014)

Looks like a fun time. (Photo: Sochi 2014)

Russia will apparently be monitoring every piece of social media, telephone and email communications sent during the Winter Olympics, just in case you were worried this wouldn’t be the most Russian thing ever.

The Guardian reports that the country’s Federal Security Service (FSB) is tracking tampered telephone and Wi-Fi networks around the country to “ensure extensive and all-permeating monitoring” of anything that’s said. Called Sorm, the system has been installed by the country’s telcos so the FSB can filter out keywords, phrases and conversations across all platforms.

According to Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan, the two Russian journalists that discovered the plans, Sorm makes PRISM look like a toy from a Checkers kid’s meal:

“For example you can use the keyword Navalny, and work out which people in a particular region are using the word Navalny,” says Soldatov, referring to Alexei Navalny, Russia’s best-known opposition politician. “Then, those people can be tracked further.”

Sorm has been in development since 2010, when the FSB told telephone companies they were required by law to install the boxes. The installation of the boxes lets the FSB access and log the data without the companies knowing.  With Russian laws being as fluid as a vodka shot, the FSB is technically required to obtain a warrant before intercepting a communication, but it doesn’t have to show it to anyone.

Anyway, is anyone else excited to see Bob Costas’ sexts? No?

Follow Jordan Valinsky on Twitter or via RSS. jvalinsky@observer.com