X wants to collect your biometric data

Elon Musk. Image created in Midjourney

X, the social network that used to be known as Twitter, updated its privacy policy to include a new kind of user data it plans to collect: biometric.

“Based on your consent, we may collect and use your biometric information for safety, security and identification purposes,” the company said in its new policy. X doesn’t define what it considers biometric, though other companies have used the term to describe data gleaned from a person’s face, eyes and fingerprints.

A representative of San Francisco-based X didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Social media companies have long drawn criticism from users and regulators around the world for the information they gather and how they use that data, including the sale of advertising tailored to a person’s interests and search histories. It’s unclear how X will collect the biometric data or how it may be used.

Elon Musk, who bought Twitter last year, has said one of his priorities is to rid the site of inauthentic accounts, and push more users towards using a service that applies a blue checkmark, indicating the user has paid $8/month and is more likely to be human.

X said it also intends to gather information about users’ jobs and education histories.

Biometric data

“We may collect and use your personal information (such as your employment history, educational history, employment preferences, skills and abilities, job search activity and engagement, and so on) to recommend potential jobs for you, to share with potential employers when you apply for a job, to enable employers to find potential candidates, and to show you more relevant advertising,” according to the updated privacy policy.

The previous policy, in place until 29 September, didn’t include references to biometric data or job and employment history.

Read: Massive brand value destruction at Twitter

A proposed class action suit earlier this year alleged that X wrongfully captured, stored and used Illinois residents’ biometric data without consent. X “has not adequately informed individuals who have interacted (knowingly or not) with Twitter, that it collects and/or stores their biometric identifiers in every photograph containing a face that is uploaded to Twitter”, according to the suit, which was filed on 11 July.  — Aisha Counts, (c) 2023 Bloomberg LP

Get the latest tech news in your inbox at 5am daily

Source: techcentral.co.za