Zoom has announced that it will use service generated data, rather than user data, from new AI meeting tools to train its AI models for improved user experience. 

The company has already invested in Anthropic and introduced new AI tools that summarise meetings and compose message drafts. 

The changes, originally announced in March 2023, clarify that Zoom can provide these services without questions of usage rights. 

However, whilst Zoom has explicitly clarified that it will not train its AI on data without user consent, the company has not included an opt-out clause. 

Senior analyst at GlobalData, Maya Sherman, has pointed out that this update “highlights numerous ethical concerns” posed by using service or user data for AI training.

Sherman states that being able to opt-out is an essential pillar of GDPR regulations that enable consumer trust and consent. Since many AI tools are still liable to technical errors, Sherman believes that user data will therefore be put at risk in unclear policy updates. 

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“Due to the black box structure of AI algorithms,” Sherman comments, “the risk that [service generated] data will be used by third parties, leaked or modified to amplify biases is alarming and should be moderated.” 

In a hyper-connected world, Sherman warns that even indirect metadata can be used for malign purposes against users. 

Amongst the backdrop of biometrics increasingly being used by companies like Ryanair and AI regulation being written up globally, Sherman concludes that company data behaviour and digital hygiene is under increasing ethical scrutiny. 

Sherman states that Zoom’s original policies should have been released with clear company intentions without waiting for online opponents to point out its flaws. 

User trust, Sherman concludes, is crucial in data protection and Zoom could be at risk of seeing a decrease in their subscription numbers due to potential distrust this policy may have caused. 

When asked for comment, Zoom responded that its customers “decide whether to enable generative AI features, and separately whether to share customer content with Zoom for product improvement purposes.”

Zoom further clarified to Verdict that customer content will not be used to train AI without consent.