A cross-channel swim results in tracking of swimmers’ locations

A cross-channel swim results in tracking of swimmers’ locations

A cross-channel swim event held in Perth, Australia has resulted in the tracking of swimmers’ locations via the event’s smartphone app for up to four days after the race had ended.

The app had been designed to track competitors’ progress during the 19km South32 Rottnest Channel Swim but continued to do so after the event had concluded.

The app’s tracking feature was turned off after screenshots of the competitors’ real-time locations were posted to social media.

The event’s organisers apologised for the oversight, stating that the feature should have been turned off at the end of the race.

Over 2,500 swimmers, including competitors from 10 different countries, had entered the race, although it is not clear how many of them had their privacy compromised.

Only those who had voluntarily signed up to be tracked with their smartphones were affected.

The event’s organisers have encouraged users to turn off the location-sharing feature at any time, although it was highly recommended for safety purposes on the day.

Social media users commented on the potential vulnerability of swimmers’ data, with some suggesting that personal details could be accessed through social media cross-checking.

Competitor Christine Murray, who came 16th overall in the solo category, said that the tracking had been a talking point among swimmers even before the event began, with many people’s locations visible days before the race.

The organisers have apologised to participants affected by the privacy breach and promised to make procedural changes to prevent such incidents from occurring in future events.

They reiterated that the safety of all participants is their number one priority.

»A cross-channel swim results in tracking of swimmers’ locations«

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