It seems like every app is incorporating AI nowadays. The latest is Zoom, which, in an update from March, allowed the company to train its AI tools using the content of users’ calls — video, audio and chat transcripts.
If these developments sound invasive to you, you’re not alone. The internet recently discovered Zoom’s AI policy and responded with threats of boycotting the video call app if it continued allowing call content to be used to train its generative AI tools. Zoom responded to the threats quickly, and the latest messaging from the company claims that Zoom doesn’t use any call content, attachments or screen sharing in order to train Zoom’s, or any other companies’, AI models. This is a step forward! But we still have some questions about Zoom’s terms of service agreement.
At the moment, Zoom does not provide an option to specifically opt-out of having your calls be used to train its AI models because, according to Zoom, the company isn’t using the content of your calls to train its AI tools. If you were worried about Zoom using your face to train its AI then this is a relief. (Although, surely you make calls with the camera off to save the planet, right?)
In its same announcement blog post, Zoom calls out other generative AI features that you are able to adjust in its settings section. Your Zoom account may have features like Zoom IQ Team Chat and Meeting Summary, which use AI to automagically generate a summary of users’ meetings. This can be turned on and off by admin Zoom users. If your workplace uses Zoom and you’re worried about AI, urge your boss or IT department to ensure these features are turned off. (Screenshot below if you want to show them how.)
Zoom users eventually noticed the company’s altered terms of service, but from March to August, many Zoom users continued to use the app unaware that their calls might have been training the next ChatGPT.
It isn’t just Zoom — a lot of tech companies add things into their terms of service agreements that we don’t realize, yet using the app means we’re okay with those changes? Senior Mozilla fellow Bogdana Rakova has thoughts. “You are expected to ‘consent’ to terms you don’t know changed,” says Bogdana. “Merely continuing to use the product can mean that you’ve given consent.” In the case of Zoom, for example, if the changes were more apparent, Bogdana says Zoom’s users may have taken issue with the lack of assurances around the company entering AI development.
Zooming out (pun), Bogdana’s work seeks to address a problem we’ve had in the tech industry for years: How do we properly provide tech companies with our permission? Her Terms-We-Serve-With project challenges the idea of tech companies sneaking new rules into their ToS agreements. “The goal of Terms-We-Serve-With is to introduce some friction into the process of agreeing to terms of service agreements,” says Bogdana. “Doing so will allow for meaningful transparency, human agency, and actual choice in the context of AI.”
Want To Opt Out Of Zoom’s AI Training? Well…
Written By: Xavier Harding
Edited By: Ashley Boyd, Xavier Harding
Special Thanks To Bogdana Rakova!