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Social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, is working on a new feature that requires users to upload a photo of their official ID card and take a selfie to send to an Israeli company to verify their identity, which has raised concerns among many users and rights advocates. The executive director of 7amleh, an organization concerned with the digital rights of Palestinians, Nadim Nashif, described the news about the cooperation between Twitter and the Israeli company as disturbing, adding that the company “is located in Israel and has a well-known history in the field of military surveillance and intelligence gathering … and all this raises many questions about potential implications for users' privacy and security."
Campaigners have expressed alarm at reports that verification for premium users of Twitter (renamed X by owner Elon Musk) will be carried out by an Israel-based company founded by former Israeli intelligence officials. The new measures will involve users uploading a copy of their government-issued ID and a headshot, according to a report by PC Magazine. The third-party software will, after collecting X biometric data, store the information for up to 30 days. Speaking to Middle East Eye, the executive director of 7amleh, an Israel-based Palestinian digital rights organisation, said the platform's partnership with the organisation was "alarming".
Since 2014, Amazon has been pouring billions into Israel, contributing to illegal settlement programs and the relentless surveillance of Palestinians. Israel’s dystopian end goal: to compile biometric profiles and security ratings for every resident of the West Bank. Israel’s apartheid state and occupation are being sponsored by tech giants, with artificial intelligence (AI) and other surveillance technologies used to deepen the longstanding repression of Palestinians.
Amnesty International secretary general Agnes Callamard has called out the “chilling effect” of Israel’s use of facial recognition surveillance on Palestinians. Speaking to Middle East Eye, Callamard pointed out the human rights violations inherent in Israel’s discriminatory use of this technology. Her interview follows a detailed report on the issue which Amnesty published in May. In May, Amnesty published an 81-page report titled Automated Apartheid. It documented how the “previously-unreported” Red Wolf facial recognition system formed:
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