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Zoom Rejects Its Own Policy Regarding Training A.I. on Your Data

August 9, 2023: Zoom rejects its own Policy regarding Training A.I. on Your Data, as stated in the recently updated terms of service.

The latest update to the video platform’s terms of service front-loads sections on software licensing, beta services, and compliance. Still, if you read beyond that, the fine print demonstrates a critical decision in Zoom’s A.I. strategy. The update, effective as of July 27, establishes Zoom’s right to utilize some aspects of customer data for training and tuning its A.I. or machine-learning models.

The “service-generated data” that Zoom can now use to train its A.I. includes customer information on product usage, telemetry and diagnostic data, and a similar range of data the company collects. It does not provide an opt-out option.

This isn’t an uncommon data type for companies to use for these purposes, but the new terms are a measured step toward Zoom’s own A.I. ambitions.

The update comes amid increasing public debate on the extent to which A.I. services should be trained on individuals’ data, no matter how aggregated or anonymized it’s said to be. Chatbots such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google’s Bard, and Microsoft’s

 Bing and image-generation tools like Midjourney and Stable Diffusion are trained on swaths of internet text or images. Across the generative A.I. sector, lawsuits have popped up recently from authors or artists who say they see their work reflected in A.I. tools’ outputs.

“You consent to Zoom’s access, utilization, collection, creation, modification, distribution, processing, maintenance, and storage of Service Generated Data for any purpose, in the manner permitted under applicable Law, including for machine learning or artificial intelligence,” Zoom’s terms state.

This category does not include consumer content such as messages, files, and documents. In a follow-up blog post, Zoom clarified that “for A.I., we do not use audio, video or chat content for training our models without customer consent.” The key phrase is “without customer consent.”

In June, Zoom introduced two new generative A.I. features, a meeting summary tool and a tool for composing chat messages on a free trial basis for customers, who can choose whether or not to use them. But when users allow these features, Zoom has them sign a consent form allowing Zoom to train its A.I. models using their customer content.

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