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X’s biometric data collection sparks privacy concerns among users

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  • 3 min read
Photo: Bluecat_stock /

Photo: Bluecat_stock /

In yet another move that has ignited debates over user privacy, social network giant X has announced plans to collect biometric data and acquire its users’ comprehensive job and education histories. This decision has drawn attention from various quarters due to its potential implications for personal privacy and data security.

As reported by Bloomberg, this initiative, as detailed in the new privacy policy by X, says the following: “Based on your consent, we may collect and use your biometric information for safety, security, and identification purposes.”

However, the company did not define what it considers to be biometric information. It’s commonly understood to encompass data extracted from individuals’ faces, eyes, and fingerprints. This level of data collection could potentially lead to unprecedented breaches of personal privacy, identity theft, and even surveillance concerns.

Despite requests for clarification, representatives from X, headquartered in San Francisco, have not provided immediate comments.

This move comes when social media platforms have faced growing scrutiny for their data collection practices, prompting concerns from users and regulatory bodies globally. Criticisms include the utilisation of personal information for targeted advertising and the sharing of search histories. X’s intention to collect biometric data has ignited uncertainty about the methods of collection and potential use of such data.

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X is already facing a class-action suit alleging unauthorised capture, storage, and usage of biometric data from residents of Illinois.

In addition to biometric data, X’s updated policy reveals plans to gather details about users’ educational and job backgrounds. The policy states, “We may collect and use your personal information (such as your unemployment 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.”

Both these revisions mark a departure from the previous policy, which did not include any reference to biometric data or employment history. Although it looks like the biometric data collection will be entirely voluntary, requiring explicit user consent, privacy advocates remain sceptical. Interestingly, X is already fighting a class action lawsuit claiming that the company has “wrongfully captured, stored and used Illinois residents’ biometric data, including facial scans, without consent.”

With this move, the tech giant will likely face increased pressure to provide transparency in its data handling practices and offer ironclad guarantees of user privacy.

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Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: [email protected]