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Facebook data mining plans dropped for Commonwealth Games

Gold Coast City Council has dropped plans to mine data from Commonwealth Games visitors who use free high-speed wifi, according to Australian public-service broadcaster ABC.

The council was reportedly planning to ask visitors to use their Facebook login to access the wifi, before collecting some data from pages, including a user’s name, age, nationality and gender, with Mayor Tom Tate saying that the information would be used to monitor where people came from.

However, with the social networking platform coming under intense scrutiny in recent days after reports emerged that Cambridge Analytica harvested users’ private data, the council has had a rethink.

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

Vorster said that the council was “acting immediately” after Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said that he was working to understand what had happened within the platform.

“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,” Vorster said.