Zoom has responded to backlash by revising its terms of service, following criticism over recent updates that allowed AI training on customer data. A report from StackDiary brought attention to changes made in March, which appeared to give the company broad control over customer data for AI training purposes. In an effort to address the concerns, Zoom released a blog post clarifying that it will not engage in the activities mentioned in its terms. Consequently, the company updated its terms to state that it will not train AI models on consumer video, audio, or chats without customer consent.
One of the main issues arose from Zoom’s experimental AI tools, such as IQ Meeting Summary (which uses machine learning for summarizations) and IQ Team Chat Compose (which employs AI for message drafting). While account owners must provide consent before using these tools in a meeting, additional participants are only given two options: accept the terms and join the meeting, or reject them and leave.
Stack Diary’s Alex Ivanovs emphasized the concern over Zoom’s explicit right to use customer data for machine learning and AI purposes, including training and fine-tuning algorithms and models. This lack of an opt-out option has sparked debate surrounding user privacy and consent. Ivanovs highlighted that the terms grant Zoom various rights over customer content, stating that they can “redistribute, publish, import, access, use, store, transmit, review, disclose, preserve, extract, modify, reproduce, share, use, display, copy, distribute, translate, transcribe, create derivative works, and process Customer Content and to perform all acts with respect to the Customer Content.”
In response to the criticism, Zoom’s Chief Product Officer, Smita Hashim, emphasized in a recent blog post that account owners and administrators must provide consent before sharing their data for AI training. She assured users that the data is solely used to enhance the performance and accuracy of AI services, and that it will not be used to train third-party models. Hashim further clarified that while Zoom may use customer content to provide value-added services, the customers themselves still own and control their content. For instance, if a customer requests Zoom to livestream their webinar on YouTube, Zoom may use the video and audio content, but the underlying content remains the property of the customer.
The blog post states, “We will not use customer content, including education records or protected health information, to train our artificial intelligence models without your consent.” To reinforce this commitment, a new section has been added to Zoom’s terms that explicitly states, “Notwithstanding the above, Zoom will not use audio, video, or chat Customer Content to train our artificial intelligence models without your consent.”
Hashim concluded by emphasizing that Zoom’s aim is to empower account owners and administrators to have control over these features and decisions, and that the company is transparent about its practices and their implications on different customer groups.
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Deepak Sen is a tech enthusiast who covers the latest technological innovations, from AI to consumer gadgets. His articles provide readers with a glimpse into the ever-evolving world of technology.