This Week in Crazy Policies That Are Out of Touch With the Public: The London Olympics

By Trevor Gilbert , written on July 13, 2012

From The News Desk

The Olympic committee has decided, in all of its wisdom, that they can control who does and does not link to the official London Olympics webpage. According to the Terms of Service on the official site, people are only allowed to link to the site if what they are saying about the Olympics is favorable. Yes, it’s that crazy.

Specifically, as noted by The Atlantic, the Terms of Service on the site state:

a. Links to the Site. You may create your own link to the Site, provided that your link is in a text-only format. ...agree that no such link shall portray us or any other official London 2012 organisations … in a false, misleading, derogatory or otherwise objectionable manner.
Not only is this completely over the top, it’s not enforceable. It’s not even a case of “maybe it won’t be enforced,” it’s a case of “it is impossible to enforce this.”

This is just the latest in a long line of controversial decisions on the part of the Olympic organizers. There was the decision to censor what volunteers can say. Then there was the decision to put missiles on rooftops in London, and to increase the independent authority of police to deal with protests.

While the security policies are understandable for such a massive event and serve as a seemingly necessary evil to protect the attendees, the way that the decisions have been communicated is distasteful. Yes, there is a need for security to protect the participants, but as evidenced by how the policies have been received, there is a very real disconnect between the organizers and security, and with the public.

This disconnect from the public is extended by the more draconian -- and frankly absurd -- decision to try to control everything that is said about the event. Yes, you do need security, you can’t have disruptions, and you can control what your employees say online. But in spite of these apparently justifiable policies, the decisions seem to fly in the face of International Olympic Committee’s motto of “Inspire a Generation.”

How can you inspire a generation, when the very people that you are trying to inspire aren’t allowed to communicate, are under close scrutiny, and aren’t allowed to use the very tool that defines the generation?