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U.S. warns Americans attending Sochi 'no expectation of privacy'

A man uses his mobile phone walking past

WASHINGTON, Feb 7 (Reuters) - The United States on Friday issued a fresh travel alert for Americans attending the Sochi Winter Olympics, citing cybersecurity threats and warning them to have "no expectation of privacy" using Russian communications networks.

The U.S. State Department's alert - coming the same day that Turkish security forces in Istanbul seized a Ukrainian man accused of trying to hijack an airliner and redirect it to Sochi - updates one issued two weeks ago.

"U.S. travelers should be aware of cybersecurity threats and understand that they have no expectation of privacy when sharing sensitive or personal information utilizing Russian electronic communication networks," the department said.

The warning comes in the middle of a controversy in which U.S. officials blame Russia for the Internet leak of recordings of a senior State Department official and the U.S. ambassador discussing a possible future government for Ukraine.

Victoria Nuland, a high-ranking U.S. diplomat, is heard on the recording using an expletive to tell the ambassador it would be better if a new Ukrainian government is backed by the United Nations than the EU.

The State Department alert also said that "Russian police officers have the authority to stop people and request identity and travel documents at any time and without cause." The alert strongly advised Americans in Sochi to carry at all times their passports, Russian visas and other important documents.

Officials said on Thursday that the U.S. Transportation Security Administration was temporarily banning carry-on liquids, aerosols, gels and powders on flights between Russia and the United States.

The State Department reiterated that U.S. citizens attending the Olympics "should remain attentive regarding their personal security at all times" and that such events represent an "attractive target for terrorists."

The Winter Olympics formally opened on Friday. Several U.S. and European security officials have said that last-minute intelligence reports about possible Olympics-related attacks continue to flow into Western agencies.

By Will Dunham (additional reporting by Warren Strobel and Mark Hosenball; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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razaminaz February 08 2014 at 10:33 AM

This is too much, we can't expect privacy at home with the NSA spying on us and DC has the nerve to say Russia may be spying on us. Isn't that like the pot calling the kettle black?

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1 reply
aaldrew razaminaz February 08 2014 at 10:39 AM

Very much like it.

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DUMP February 08 2014 at 10:53 AM

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black !! This sounds just like any place in the good old USA.

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1 reply
What it do Cuz DUMP February 08 2014 at 11:01 AM

Spoken like a true idiot who has never been to the USA, you need probable cause to stop and request a search, in Russia you just have to look foreign.

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2 replies
bach What it do Cuz February 08 2014 at 11:08 AM

So, it doesnt bother you that our government has taken all of your personal information from cell contacts, shopping, cell calls, emails, driving habits, where you go, when you go etc..?

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DUMP What it do Cuz February 08 2014 at 11:44 AM

Trust me, I've been here long enough to watch the USA fall apart. I remeber America, and this isn't it. Keep working, you're paying my social security.

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steves1709 February 08 2014 at 9:57 PM

This is news???

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Bruce February 08 2014 at 10:59 AM

Why should anyone expect that being in Russia should be any different than being in the good old USA? This is just another propaganda story for the unwary.

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mrd1776 February 08 2014 at 10:59 AM

Sadly, there will be 'no expectation of privacy' when you return to America either.

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HuntnFreak123 February 08 2014 at 5:51 PM

Who issued a security warning? Now thats funny.....

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bill_jones86 February 08 2014 at 11:02 AM

yeah like the fed gov in this country doesnt do the same thing and police everywhere in the usa stop people all the time for no reason. obama and crew as bad as their pinko pals in russia.

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1 reply
kcarthey bill_jones86 February 08 2014 at 12:59 PM

"Police everywhere to stop people"....sure sounds to me that you are NOT talking about the President but about redneck shariff's like Apaio and those in the South stopping anyone who isn't white. But then there were few people of color in Germany after 1934 were there?

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evilvaquero February 08 2014 at 11:05 AM

No expectation of privacy? Wow, and we here in the United States do have an expectation of privacy? We maybe have an expectation, but in reality we have no privacy. Whoever wrote this article should be outed as a lying shrill of this government.

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airlaws February 08 2014 at 11:06 AM

A Host country (albeit the former USSR) working to protect its Olympic games against terrorists ...stooping to electronic surveilance. .. on foreigners and strangers and even their own citizens... How dare they ? I have heard it whispered that one or two other nations do the same thing ? LOL

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1 reply
ffishb airlaws February 08 2014 at 11:30 AM

LOL? What are you, 3?

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Stormy February 08 2014 at 5:41 PM

well no kidding you should have your identifcation and stuff with you, just make sure you have a copy of your passport, and other documents in your suitcase incase the ones you have on you get lost or stolen

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