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Zoom changes terms of service to address privacy concerns

Zoom has revised its terms of service in response to backlash regarding its plans to utilize customer data for training its artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning models. The video conferencing platform recently updated its terms of service, which allowed Zoom to access, use, and modify customer data for the purpose of training and refining its AI and machine-learning models. Additionally, customers were also required to grant Zoom a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to utilize their data for product and service development, as well as for AI and machine learning.

However, Zoom has recently made further updates, including a new clause, which explicitly states that it will not utilize audio, video, or chat customer content for the purpose of training its AI models without obtaining the user’s consent. The official blog post states, “We have revised our terms of service (in section 10.4) to provide additional assurance that we will refrain from using audio, video, or chat customer content to train our artificial intelligence models unless we have obtained your consent.”

The changes were implemented in response to a recent company update, where it altered its policies and revised its terms and conditions, granting the company a significant level of control over customer data for the purpose of AI training, as highlighted in a report by StackDiary.

According to Section 10.2 of Zoom’s terms of service, customers provide their consent for Zoom to access, utilize, and manipulate data generated through the service, including its application in machine learning and AI endeavors. Moreover, Section 10.4 of Zoom’s terms and conditions stipulates that users “agree to grant and hereby grant Zoom a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicensable, and transferable license” to employ their data for the development of products and services, as well as for the advancement of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

The modifications sparked a backlash among Zoom’s user community due to concerns about user privacy, prompting the company to revise its policy. Meanwhile, Smita Hashim, Zoom’s Chief Product Officer, issued a clarification through a blog post stating that Zoom users will have to provide their consent before sharing their data to Ai training, “exclusively employed to enhance the performance and precision of these AI services.”

She further explained that “even if you (users) opt to share your data, it will not be employed for the training of any third-party models.”

“We are granted permission to utilize this customer content to offer value-added services based on said content, yet our customers retain ownership and control over their content. For instance, a customer might request us to livestream their webinar on YouTube. Even if we utilize their video and audio content for livestreaming, the foundational content remains their possession,” Hashim clarified.

Moreover, a fresh section has been introduced in Zoom’s terms of service to provide clarity: “Notwithstanding the above, Zoom will not employ audio, video, or customer chat for the purpose of training our artificial intelligence models without your explicit consent.”

However, even with this change, Zoom’s privacy policy doesn’t make it clear what exactly “Service Generated Data” means, which can be confusing. The policy still lets Zoom use customer information for different things, like teaching AI, and it doesn’t seem possible to say no to this in Zoom’s settings.

Meanwhile, Zoom’s progress in AI aligns with the ongoing transformation in the tech industry driven by artificial intelligence. Companies like Google, Microsoft, Meta, Snapchat, and even Truecaller, among others, are currently embarking on the AI journey. Zoom, in particular, is actively developing its AI model to enhance the convenience of meetings and other platform features. India Today

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