Twitter says it may harvest biometric, employment data from its addicts

Not so much X gon' give it to you, you gonna give it to X

As August and summer in the northern hemisphere draw to a close, Elon Musk's Twitter is making several changes to its platform, including a privacy policy update noting that it plans to begin collecting biometric data and employment information from the people still using the site, if provided. 

The website's latest privacy policy, set to go into effect on September 29, adds both types of data to the "information we collect" category, neither of which are present in the current policy that'll be superseded come the end of next month. 

"Based on your consent, we may collect and use your biometric information for safety, security, and identification purposes," the new policy states. It's not clear exactly what sort of data X classifies as biometric for its purposes, and X didn't respond to questions from The Register, although thankfully the childish poop emoji is no longer being sent out. 

The Musky social media platform, sometimes known as X, did tell Bloomberg that it plans to collect government-issued IDs and pictures of users to add as a verification layer to "help X fight impersonation attempts and make the platform more secure." Biometric data would be extracted from images shared with X, the platform said. 

In other words, Musk is reintroducing Twitter's old verification model, only this time it's not for notable accounts - just those willing to help keep the lights on.

The policy update could also very well be in response to a proposed class action lawsuit filed [PDF] in Illinois in July that accused X of scanning every image posted to the platform in order to flag potential pornographic and not-safe-for-work content. 

"In analyzing each image uploaded to Twitter to determine whether it contains nudity, Twitter actively collects, captures and/or otherwise obtains; stores; and/or makes use of the biometric identifiers and biometric information of any individual included in each photo," the suit alleges, in violation of Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act. 

X makes clear in its new privacy policy that such data will only be collected with user consent, which the suit claims hasn't historically been the case since it added the automated NSFW filtering in 2015.

As for employment data, the new privacy policy said that X "may collect and use your personal information to recommend potential jobs for you." Data collected for that purpose includes employment history, education, job preferences, skills, job search activity, and the like. How it would collect such data is unclear.

Rumors began swirling in July that Twitter was planning to add job posting features akin to what's available through LinkedIn - although only available to verified organizations who fork over $1k a month for the privilege, of course. Musk said over the weekend he considers LinkedIn's "cringe level … so high that I just can't bring myself to use it." 

"We will make sure that the X competitor to LinkedIn is cool," Musk xeeted. It's unclear when the feature would come to X, if ever. 

X still stumbling its way toward an everything app

Along with its privacy policy changes and the eventual introduction of what we can only assume will be called XinkdIn, X has made several other announcements over the past few days as it continues its slide - er, transformation - into Elon Musk's dream of a WeChat-like "everything app."

One feature coming to X is the addition of video and audio calls, or so said Musk today. The XEO said the feature won't require a phone number, and will be supported on iOS, Android, PC and Mac, with no mention of Linux xupport. 

"X is the effective global address book," Musk xaid, "that set of factors is unique." 

We assume video and audio calling on X will be limited to paid users, like all the other new features Musk is adding, another one being the ability for X Premium users to hide their blue checks, once a badge of pride but now the mark of a … well, mark. 

Similarly to hiding blue checks, X is also reportedly introducing the ability for premium users to hide their likes - sure to be a welcomed addition for users like US Senator Ted Cruz, or Kentucky state Senator Jason Howell, who while pushing for law bills to limit "obscene" materials in Kentucky schools has, like Cruz, had his Twitter account liking porn on the platform. 

Senator Cruz said his account liked some smut after a staffer with access to the profile inadvertently hit the wrong button. State senator Howell said his account was hacked.

Speaking of politics, X also recently walked back Twitter's 2019 decision to ban political ads on the platform. Those in the US can soon expect to be inundated with campaign messages alongside ads for chewable generic Viagra, Cheech and Chong's hemp-derived delta-8 THC gummies and sports betting sites, who number among X's remaining advertisers. ®

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