The council is offering free, high-speed Wi-Fi to Games’ visitors, but users will be required to log on through their Facebook accounts.
The council is offering free, high-speed Wi-Fi to Games’ visitors, but users will be required to log on through their Facebook accounts.

Free Wi-Fi but there’s a catch

THE Gold Coast City Council plans to mine the Facebook data of Commonwealth Games visitors, but says use of the information will be limited.

The council is offering free, high-speed Wi-Fi to Games' visitors, but users will be required to log on through their Facebook accounts.

The council plans to exploit that data to help with future tourism marketing campaigns.

"We will be able to monitor the people, where they come from, that is, the percentage of tourists coming from China, Japan, Southeast Asia and locals, and the timing of it as well," Mayor Tom Tate has told ABC radio.

The council says personal data won't be shared with other agencies, but reports based on the data will be given to the tourism sector.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said personal data won’t be shared but reports based on that data will be given to the tourism sector. Picture: Jerad Williams
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said personal data won’t be shared but reports based on that data will be given to the tourism sector. Picture: Jerad Williams

Games' visitors who don't like the idea can still access free Wi-Fi without using their Facebook accounts. But users who log on with only a username and email address will get slower access, and lower data limits.

News of the council's plan comes amid efforts by Australia's privacy watchdog to determine if Facebook shared Australians' personal information with controversial researchers Cambridge Analytica.

Cambridge Analytica is facing claims it used data from 50 million Facebook users to develop controversial political campaigns for Donald Trump and others. Facebook has hired a digital forensics firm to audit Cambridge Analytica, which allegedly used data from a personality quiz to create political campaign tools.

"If this data still exists, it would be a grave violation of Facebook's policies and an unacceptable violation of trust and the commitments these groups made," Facebook said in a statement.

But Facebook hit back at claims it was a "data breach", saying users willingly handed over their information, and the information of their friends. Australia's cybersecurity adviser Alastair MacGibbon says it's likely Australians have been caught up in the scandal involving Cambridge Analytica and online giants like Facebook need to start acting in line with community expectations.

" ... you can't make $13 billion a year monetising that data and then tell those same customers - that's just from advertising by the way - that you're treating their data with respect," he has told ABC radio.

Cambridge Analytica is understood to have met with the Liberal party in a bid to sell their services in Australia.



Thousands gather to reflect at dawn services across region

Thousands gather to reflect at dawn services across region

LISTEN: Rocky student sings national anthem at dawn service

Rocky nurse nominated for tireless dedication to industry

Rocky nurse nominated for tireless dedication to industry

NURSE humbled by nomination after specialist care

ANZAC DAY: What's open and shut in Rocky and surrounds

ANZAC DAY: What's open and shut in Rocky and surrounds

QUICK guide for where to get coffee, food, alcohol and go shopping

Local Partners