X Makes Your Thumbprint Its Latest Fashion Accessory
September 01, 2023
2 min 18 sec read
This updated policy, which goes into effect on September 29th, states that X "may collect and use your biometric information for safety, security, and identification purposes" with the user's consent. Hey, at least they ask, right?
"The biometric data collection is for X Premium users only," X told CBS MoneyWatch
Okay, so let us break it down. The biometric data collection is for X's elite premium users only, to begin with. X offers the option to provide their Government ID and a selfie, adding a layer of verification. The biometric data (your personal stuff) is pulled from the ID and mugshot (OK, your selfie) and helps prove you are who you claim to be. The purpose, the company claims, is to help X combat attempts by the nefarious-minded to impersonate you, thereby creating a safer platform. Sounds legit, right?
But what the heck does "biometric" mean? Curiously, X hasn't been clear about defining that. Still, typically, biometrics refers to stuff like facial recognition, fingerprints, iris scans, and other sci-fi methods of unique body characteristics used to unveil your secret identity.
Buy, hey, let's give credit where it's due. X's announcement is at least an effort to inform us that they will do what's been done covertly with other social media platforms.
This move to collect biometrics comes after X gave us a shiny new subscription verification model that requires users to submit government-approved I.D. for the privilege of getting a coveted blue checkmark on their accounts.
X claims the move is meant to reduce the fake accounts and bots that have often plagued the platform. Sounds reasonable so far.
But hold on, the agreement also indicates it will gather information about our jobs and education history. The new policy says, "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 . . ."
Of course, X has carefully avoided saying whether or not the policy would at some point apply to non-paying X users or whether it might include other types of data, nor does it specify the users who can or cannot opt out of the data-collection shindig.
Oh, and for those brave folks who question such data mining moves, there's a lawsuit from July that claims X didn't spill all the beans about collecting and storing your biometric data every time you uploaded your mugshot to the platform.
Remember in 2021, when Facebook got into hot water to the tune of about $650 million for a privacy suit that involved some unsanctioned shenanigans regarding biometric data collection? At least X can say it's in good company, right?
X's latest announcement is another chapter in the saga of social networks mining our personal data for targeted ads, but hey, it seems that privacy is really only a figment of our imagination.
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