Surveillance in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008: A Comparison of the Olympic Surveillance Modalities and Legacies in Two Different Olympic Host Regimes
AbstractAll post-9/11 Olympic Games and sport mega events deploy super-surveillance systems, as a future security investment, albeit at the expense of rights and freedoms. This paper compares the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Olympic Games’ surveillance systems, to assess their authoritarian effects and legacies in democratic and authoritarian Olympic host regimes. In democratic Greece, memories of the dictatorship have caused reaction and resistance to the perpetuation of the Olympic surveillance systems. In China, the police state has used these systems for Olympic and regime security, reinforcing population and Internet control. Drawing on these two cases, it is demonstrated that post-9/11 Olympic security and surveillance have authoritarian effects, which are dependent on global factors like anti-terrorist and neo-liberal policies, and local factors such as the type of host regime, culture and society. It is also argued that these surveillance systems have an emerging anti-democratic legacy which stretches beyond the hosting of the Olympics.