A change in the fine print of Zoom’s policy sets off a firestorm with users.

Zoom Policy Goes Too Far in Training AI from Discussions, Info of Its User Base, Some Say

During the pandemic were you a ZOOMer? That is to say, were you introduced to the wildly successful video conferencing app called Zoom like half of America was at the time?

Zoom was a lifesaver at the time. Literally. Zoom allowed us to work from home as a group while avoiding being exposed by Covid prior to vaccinations being available. And while there were other options, Zoom seemed to stand out. Now comes the news that reading the fine print with the recent change in Zoom’s policies might be in your best interest. What started quietly on social media exploded into the news from mashable.com.

Zoom updated its terms of service this week to allow it to use some of its users’ data for training AI. And the wording reads pretty strong, leading to lots of fears online.

The terms state that you grant Zoom:

“perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicensable, and transferable license and all other rights required or necessary” to customer content for a number of purposes, now including “machine learning” and “artificial intelligence.” Another section of the terms state that Zoom can use certain user data for “machine learning or artificial intelligence (including for the purposes of training and tuning of algorithms and models).”

Training AI with Your Data

This idea did not sit well with a lot of people.

Developer-focused website Stack Diary first noticed the changes in Zoom’s policies. It quickly became a point of contention online. People were outraged that Zoom would use customer data for AI. But right now, it’s tough to parse exactly how or what Zoom plans to use for AI and machine-learning purposes. Terms of service are written in complicated legalese. Privacy experts will almost certainly parse through it with a fine-tooth comb.

Always read the fine print.

Zoom Talks Back

After folks grew outraged online, Zoom responded with a blog post about the updated terms— discussing a few key points, such as that customers own their content, even if Zoom has “permission to use this customer content to provide value-added service.” It also added that section 10.2, which included the bit about AI training, is referencing “certain information about how our customers in the aggregate use our product,” which is service-generated data that Zoom considers its own data.

Later, in all bold, Zoom wrote:

“For AI, we do not use audio, video, or chat content for training our models without customer consent.”

This is where it gets a little muddy. If you do or don’t want to participate in Zoom training, you have to toggle yourself in or out. It’s kind of an unneeded pain. You must decide for yourself if Zoom is asking too much of its users.

read more at mashable.com