Privacy of Olympic tickets

6.8 million Olympic tickets have been printed and will be carried by people attending Olympic events in China this year. What’s different this year is that each ticket will contain a tiny microchip.

This chip will contain visitor’s photo, passport details, address, email address, and phone number. (Photo and passport data will only be on tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies).

US passportThat’s a lot of information recorded on the actual ticket itself. Usually tickets just have a serial number, or sometimes even a person’s name.

Chinese Olympic organisers have their reasons, they want to protect the events against known protestors.

Another perspective is that this is a privacy risk for people purchasing and carrying the tickets. A visitor carrying one of these tickets has no control over:

  • who gets to read the information stored here
  • whether the information is accurate
  • any other information stored on the chip (you can’t know what’s on it)

There isn’t anything you can really do other than choose whether or not to attend. If you wish to attend and purchase a ticket just be aware that this private information will be written on the ticket and will be readable by anyone with the correct equipment.

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