Zoom’s updated terms of service show that the company wants to train its AI models with some of your user data.
The company says that it needs to do this to improve its video meeting platform but some users are concerned about how the fine print impacts their privacy.
Harvard Professor, Gabriella Coleman’s keen eyes spotted the terms in question and tweeted her concern.
— Gabriella “Biella” Coleman (@BiellaColeman) August 6, 2023
Zoom has been quick to point out that they aren’t going to use your audio, video, or chat customer content to train its artificial intelligence models without your consent.
It will, however, collect and use what it terms “Service Generated Data” which includes things like telemetry, product usage, and diagnostic data without your consent.
Zoom recently released some new AI tools for users to trial and they’re quite handy. Zoom IQ Meeting Summary and Zoom IQ Team Chat Compose allow for AI-generated meeting summaries and chat compositions.
That sounds great. No more needing to take minutes during the meeting. If you enable these tools you are presented with a pop-up that basically says, “We’re going to use any data from this Zoom meeting to train our AI unless you uncheck the consent box that we’ve already conveniently checked for you.”
You might be ok with sharing your data with Zoom’s AI but what about other meeting participants? Once they hop on the meeting they have the option to accept that their data may be used or otherwise leave the meeting.
Zoom’s AI terms – The fine print
Privacy is important but realistically, if we want cool AI tools like automatic meeting summaries then the models will need to be trained to get better.
Most Zoom meetings aren’t exactly about top-secret stuff anyway so most people might be ok with Zoom using our data to make its product better. And after all, in its response, @Zoom said it would only use our data if we said it could, right?
Hi, Biella – We’ve updated our terms of service (in section 10.4) to further clarify that we do not use audio, video, or chat customer content to train our artificial intelligence models without your consent. Read more here https://t.co/6eo10YDsRz
— Zoom (@Zoom) August 7, 2023
Well, it all comes down to the fine print. Reading through Zoom’s AI terms and conditions seems to show that unchecking the consent box doesn’t make clause 10.4 go away.
Zoom says it will only use your video, chat, and audio data if you explicitly say it can. It turns out that by simply accepting its term of service that is in fact what you’re doing. Whether you uncheck the little box or not.
Clause 10.4 says that you agree that Zoom can do pretty much anything with your data. In part, it says, “You agree to grant and hereby grant Zoom a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicensable, and transferable license and all other rights required or necessary…. [for] machine learning, artificial intelligence, training.”
The weird thing is that at the bottom of this clause, Zoom has now added in bold, “Notwithstanding the above, Zoom will not use audio, video or chat Customer Content to train our artificial intelligence models without your consent.”
So it basically says that you agree that they can use your data, but they won’t. Why not just remove the clause altogether?
Zoom’s terms are an attempt at using precise legal language to cover a very fluid tech space. Its intentions with your data are almost certainly benign, but it’s going to be tricky to make everyone feel comfortable with an AI learning from our human interactions.