Zoom updates terms of service: Privacy experts warn about potential DATA THEFT for AI training
By Zoey Sky // Aug 24, 2023

In late July, Zoom updated its terms of service (TOS). The move sparked criticism and outrage from users and cybersecurity experts who were worried about Zoom using customers' data without their permission to train artificial intelligence (AI).

To assuage these fears about privacy infringement, Zoom revised its TOS twice: First on Aug. 7, then again on Aug. 11. The company also published a companion blog post to explain its approach to AI.

In the blog post, Zoom confirmed three times that it allegedly does not use chat, audio, video, screen-sharing, attachments or other communications like customer content to train Zoom’s, or third-party, artificial intelligence models.

Customer content includes poll results, reactions and whiteboard.

The post claims that the AI features are turned off by default. However, if a meeting administrator, who is usually the host, turns them on, the only way for participants to opt out is to leave the meeting.

Referencing a January ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union against Meta’s forced consent practices, TechCrunch pointed out that even though Zoom users could leave a meeting with Ai features turned on, it does not automatically mean Zoom has "a free choice" over what they do with user data.

Data is "gold"

Zoom said it retains all rights to service-generated data, meaning the company can modify, distribute, process, share, maintain and store said data.

Attorney W. Scott McCollough, whose experience includes writing TOS and acceptable use policies for the tech and telecommunication industry, explained that this is to be expected of companies like Zoom, which offers a free basic plan and paid plans.

McCollough warned that any free service considers the user as the product. He added that companies will always find a way for "user data appropriation and monetization" regardless of what the TOS says or what boxes you click while using their apps.

And even though there are reams of federal and state privacy laws, the exception to all of them is consent, said Greg Glaser, an attorney.

Data is important. As "the new gold," Zoom will try to bypass the invasion of privacy laws by claiming that users "consented to Zoom using and training AI on your own video [call]."

Glaser warned that Zoom may be trying to use advanced AI to create experiences that can be sold. (Related: Elon Musk announces creation of new AI company after spending YEARS criticizing rapid AI development.)

According to Search Logistics, Zoom logged 10 million daily meeting participants in December 2019. Since then, Zoom has grown by more than 2,900 percent.

To date, Zoom currently averages 300 million daily active users.

Glaser said tech giants like Zoom and Meta are trying to put into their terms that they have legitimate access to consumer information. Eventually, they will have carte blanche to create and use "emulates," or the computer version of an actual person.

This ties into companies like Zoom, Google and Meta willfully using AI on users' private videos. Glaser added that companies have big plans for data, and users might eventually be expendable to them.

According to Robin Hanson's TedTalk about emulates (ems), which he defined as the digital copies of human minds, the job of actual humans is to simply "retire and die."

McCollough also highlighted Zoom’s ownership structure. Since the company is public, management insiders own almost 60 percent.

The Class A lineup includes Lt. Gen. (Ret.) H.R. McMaster, former national security advisor to Trump, The Vanguard Group and T. Rowe Price. Both Vanguard and Price are big in Pharma, while the former is also big in telecom.

The Class B shares seem to be held by others involved in surveillance capitalism.

Zoom AI features

In March, Zoom announced generative AI offerings that use neural networks to identify the patterns and structures within existing data to create new and original content.

Zoom’s latest AI feature called Zoom IQ allows users to generate chat responses to colleagues, produce whiteboards based on text prompts, provide recaps of meetings and summarize threads in Zoom Team Chat.

Digital privacy advocate Open Rights Group has expressed concerns about the Zoom IQ tools being made available to customers on a free trial basis. The group warned that the free trial encourages customers to "opt-in," in turn making Zoom’s TOS revisions alarming.

Users who turn on the AI tools would be presented with a transparent consent process for training Zoom AI models using their customer content, said Smita Hashim, Zoom's chief product officer.

In the blog post, Zoom insisted that account owners and administrators can control if they want to enable these AI features for their accounts.

But in most cases, the user’s interaction with the options menu is itself monitored, warned McCollough. He added that for companies like Zoom and their intelligence service handlers, opting out or refusing to opt in "is a subversive act and probably leads to a demerit against your social credit score."

Fight for the Future, an advocacy group, recently launched an online petition to demand that Zoom revamp its policy.

Zoom pays $85 million to settle class action lawsuit over security issues

Zoom has already had issues with privacy laws. In April 2022, the company paid millions of dollars to settle a class action lawsuit for security issues that allowed hackers to crash virtual meetings.

The Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic triggered a troublesome surge of "Zoom-bombing" where hackers and pranksters crash into virtual meetings with abusive messages and imagery.

Zoom agreed to a "historic" payout of $85 million as part of a class-action settlement brought by several users who claimed the disruptions have left them traumatized.

As part of the settlement agreement, Zoom will pay $85 million to users in cash compensation. The company also promised to enforce reforms to its business practices.

Federal judge Laurel Beeler of California granted final approval to the agreement.

In one incident from 2020, the Saint Paulus Lutheran Church in San Francisco was hosting a bible study class. Most of the participants were senior citizens.

A federal lawsuit that was filed in May 2020 revealed that after the group video call started, Zoom allowed a "known offender" to Zoom-bomb the class.

Participants were horrified as their computer screens were hijacked and their control buttons were disabled. Next, the Zoom bombers forced them all to watch pornographic video footage.

The shocking videos included images of physical abuse and child sex abuse.

Because the host was unable to force the hijacker to leave the meeting room, they had no choice but to ask the participants to leave and rejoin the meeting.

However, the hijacker was able to bombard the meeting again with graphic content. The incident left the host and the participants "traumatized and helpless."

The plaintiffs also accused Zoom of unlawfully sharing data with authorized third parties such as Facebook, Google and LinkedIn and misrepresenting the strength of its end-to-end encryption protocols.

Learn more about the potential dangers of AI usage at FutureScienceNews.com.

Watch the video below to learn how the CCP uses Zoom to collect data from around the globe.

This video is from the Chinese taking down EVIL CCP channel on Brighteon.com.

More related stories:

Institutionalizing bias: MSM, tech companies to strike landmark deal on the use of “FAKE NEWS” content to train AI chatbots.

Researchers: AI decisions could cause “nuclear-level” CATASTROPHE.

Google updated its privacy policy so it can use all your data to train AI.

Sources include:






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