In the age of the AI revolution, it's a normal day at the office to hear about data breaches, misuse, and companies capitalizing on user data.
Zoom, the platform that became synonymous with remote work during the pandemic, recently found itself in the hot seat with updated terms that seemed a little...well, intrusive.
When Zoom updated its terms of service, sections 10.2 and 10.4 immediately raised eyebrows. These sections seemed to imply that Zoom could harvest vast amounts of data about how we use their platform, keep it, and potentially do whatever they wanted with it.
The catchphrase was "service generated data," and it was this term that stoked the flames of doubt. What does "service generated data" even mean?
As panic and speculations swirled, Zoom had to step up and clarify. No, they aren't listening to our heartfelt confessions, secret business strategies, or eavesdropping on grandma's birthday wishes. Their Chief Product Officer was quick to clarify: “For AI, we do not use audio, video, or chat content for training our models without customer consent.”
Yet, this episode brings to light a larger trend. Companies are consistently updating their terms to incorporate the capabilities and implications of AI. Take Microsoft, for example. Just today I received notice of a forthcoming update to their terms and that they added clauses regarding content generated by AI services.
What does this mean for the average user? Well like the average user, prior to the generative AI era, I would’ve ignored this email and hit delete. But now. Now I double-click and investigate.
One of the important changes is the expanded definition of "Your Content" in the Your Privacy section, which now includes content generated through our use of their AI services. Yes, your prompts and Bing Chat’s replies are stored and used.
In fact, I learned that Microsoft will “de-identify stored search queries by removing the entirety of the IP address after 6 months, and cookie IDs and other cross-session identifiers that are used to identify a particular account or device after 18 months.”
Also while obvious; I hadn’t thought about the fact that Microsoft can also use your Bing Chat interactions for “[d]elivering advertising, such as showing you ads that are related to your interests and preferences, and measuring their effectiveness.”
🦉❓The AI age demands a vigilant user.
Companies will continue to evolve, and their terms will change in tandem. Users must make it a habit to read, understand, and question these terms. Always ask: "What does this mean for my privacy?"
Just as companies have a responsibility to be transparent, we have a duty to be informed. The next time you receive an email about updated terms, don’t just skim and dismiss it. Dive deep, understand the implications, and safeguard your digital footprint.
Oh, and hey, use their AI products to help you!
Revisiting a prior Brainyacts edition, I have also used this prompt which is a bit more detailed:
Please review the following Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statements. Identify and categorize any issues as red flags (high risk) and yellow flags (some risk, proceed with caution). Provide a brief explanation for each identified issue and its associated risk level.
Knowing this, what is the worst that could happen? Please explain in plain language.
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