The Belgian, Dutch and British Olympic committees have warned their athletes against bringing their personal laptops and smartphones to the upcoming Beijing Games, out of cybersecurity concerns. Matthias Van Baelen and Geert Slot, spokesmen for the Belgian Interfederal Olympic Committee and the Dutch Olympic Committee respectively, told local media and Reuters that cybersecurity is a risk in their assessment for the trip to China. Van Baelen told Belgian public broadcaster VRT that the committee is “aware of certain risks regarding cybersecurity, as is the case on all foreign trips”. “Our conclusion is that there is a need for caution. We’re not banning anything, but we want athletes to be aware of the risks. We prefer to play safe and follow the advice,” said Van Baelen. . @SenRubioPress in letter to @POTUS on next month's Winter Olympics in China: "What measures is your administration taking to protect the cybersecurity and personal privacy of American athletes and attendees at the upcoming Beijing Olympics?" https://t.co/Xr3DsTMg1n — Bryan Lowry (@BryanLowry3) January 12, 2022 Slot, spokesman for the Dutch Olympic Committee, responded to a Post query, saying: “In the run-up to each Olympic and Paralympic Games, [the Dutch Olympic Committee] seek broad advice at an early stage about all local circumstances and safety and health aspects. This has been part of our previous Games’ policy and will be the same in the future.” Telephones and SIM cards will be available for Belgian officials and athletes, reported VRT. Meanwhile, Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant cited an anonymous source that the team would be provided with clean devices. A report seen by The Telegraph revealed that the British Olympic Association will be providing electronic devices for athletes and staff travelling to Beijing. “We’ve given athletes and staff practical advice so that they can make their own choice as to whether they take their personal devices to the Games, or not. Where they do not want to take their own equipment, we have provisioned temporary devices for them to use,” said a spokesperson from the British Olympic Association. Chinese embassies at the Netherlands and Belgium have denied there should be concerns about surveillance. The embassy to the Netherlands called this safety issue “groundless”, with the embassy in Belgium dismissing the risk of espionage on visitors as “completely unfounded” and “unnecessary”. The embassies stated that information security of all foreigners and Chinese nationals are protected under the law. A private investigator who has worked with Chinese sources told the Post on an anonymous basis that mainland apps may present cybersecurity concerns. “If you have WeChat, then it’s definitely a concern,” they said. WeChat is a Chinese communication app akin to chat platforms such as WhatsApp. However, the investigator said this concern is not limited to China. “If you go to the US, authorities can easily put something on your phone as well,” they said. The Belgian Interfederal Olympic Committee has been contacted for comment.