Monday, August 14, 2023

Zoom ToS Allowed Training AI on User Content With No Opt Out

Alex Ivanovs (via Hacker News):

Zoom Video Communications, Inc. recently updated its Terms of Service to encompass what some critics are calling a significant invasion of user privacy.


What raises alarm is the explicit mention of the company’s right to use this data for machine learning and artificial intelligence, including training and tuning of algorithms and models. This effectively allows Zoom to train its AI on customer content without providing an opt-out option, a decision that is likely to spark significant debate about user privacy and consent.

Additionally, under section 10.4 of the updated terms, Zoom has secured a “perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicensable, and transferable license” to redistribute, publish, access, use, store, transmit, review, disclose, preserve, extract, modify, reproduce, share, use, display, copy, distribute, translate, transcribe, create derivative works, and process Customer Content.

Smita Hashim:

To reiterate: Zoom does not use any of your audio, video, chat, screen-sharing, attachments, or other communications like customer content (such as poll results, whiteboard, and reactions) to train Zoom’s or third-party artificial intelligence models.

Nick Heer:

But why is all of this contained in a monolithic terms-of-service document? Few people read these things in full and even fewer understand them. It may appear simpler, but features which require this kind of compromise should have specific and separate documentation for meaningful explicit consent.

Oliver Hunt:

If some company (like Zoom) posts an update to their terms of service that give them carte blanche access to your data for “AI” or any other reason, it doesn’t matter if their marketing department makes a post talking about how they won’t use that bit of their ToS.

The ToS change was made for a reason, and that reason is to abuse you and your data.


That their response to uproar about the ToS change is a blog post, and not to revert their ToS indicates that they intend to use that clause (if they hadn’t been doing so already without “explicit” consent)

Jay Peters:

Zoom has updated its terms of service and reworded a blog post explaining recent terms of service changes referencing its generative AI tools. The company now explicitly states that “communications-like” customer data isn’t being used to train artificial intelligence models for Zoom or third parties. What is covered by communications-like? Basically, the content of your videoconferencing on Zoom.

Jai Vijayan (via Hacker News):

Zoom’s decision — and the reason for it — is sure to add to the growing debate about the privacy and security implications of technology companies using customer data to train AI models.

In Zoom’s case, the company recently introduced two generative AI features — Zoom IQ Meeting Summary and Zoom IQ Team Chat Compose — that offer AI-powered chat composition and automated meeting summaries.


newly revised policy still gives Zoom all “rights, title, and interest” to a lot of service generated data including telemetry data, product usage data, and diagnostic data. But the company will not user customer content to train AI models.


Update (2023-08-16): Bruce Schneier:

Of course, these are Terms of Service. They can change at any time. Zoom can renege on its promise at any time. There are no rules, only the whims of the company as it tries to maximize its profits.

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big tech had to come up with a new reason to keep needing telemetry to improve its products in ways that suit the financials of the business. Is it inherently impossible to make modern competitive software without hoarding customer generated data? The customer famously does not know what it wants and the roadmap has to skate where the puck is going to be, but to me this is a business risk: if there is a competitor that doesn’t collect this telemetry then they get our business over time.

So what does that say for the software marketplace if there isn’t? It’s not easy to switch these tools once they’re core to client meetings.

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