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Industry News

Gold Coast authority backtracks on Facebook data-mining plans

Gold Coast City Council in Australia has performed a u-turn on plans to retrieve data from the Facebook profiles of visitors to the upcoming Commonwealth Games who sign up to use free high-speed wifi.

According to ABC, the council was planning to invite visitors to the multi-sport event to use their Facebook logins to access the wifi, which would allow the body to gather data such as age, nationality and gender.

However, although Mayor Tom Tate originally said that the data would merely allow the council to check out where people are from, Councillor Hermann Vorster has now confirmed that the plans have been scrapped in the wake of revelations over recent days about Facebook’s data security provisions.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg apologised yesterday (Wednesday) for the platform’s “mistakes” and said that he would be willing to testify in a US government inquiry into reports that tech firm Cambridge Analytica had harvested data from more than 50 million users on the social media website.

“Like most people around the planet, we are shocked to learn Facebook can’t be responsible for its own data in the first place,” Vorster said. “So what council will do, while Facebook is getting its house in order, is ensure the feature is removed from the login screen.”

However, Vorster did not rule out revisiting Facebook as a log-in option in the future when he added: “When they figure out what is going on, when they figure out how to protect their user data, we can possibly take another look at it.”

The 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast will run from April 4-15.

Commonwealth Games Federation CEO David Grevemberg will be one of the speakers at TheStadiumBusiness Summit 2018, on June 12-13 at Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester. For more information about the programme, click here.

Image: Kgbo