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Zoom Updates User Policy to Train AI with Customer Data Without Permission

Updated: Aug 10, 2023

The company’s new rules say it doesn’t need customer permission to train AI models, but it still won’t do that “without permission,” won’t it?


Zoom has updated their user policy to train AI without permission.
Credit: Shutterstock Copyright: 2020 Alberto Garcia Guillen/Shutterstock.

Zoom updated its Terms of Service on August 7. The new terms grant Zoom the right to use customers’ audio and video data to train AI models without having to ask them for permission.


When the users agree to Zoom’s new terms of usage, they agree to give Zoom “perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sub-licensable, and transferable license and all other rights” to use their Customer Content for many things, including “machine learning, artificial intelligence, training, testing.”


Zoom also reserves similar rights for Service Generated Data, which refers to product usage data, diagnostic data, telemetry data, and other similar information Zoom acquires for analyzing user behavior and content.


Zoom promises not to train AI without customer consent


However, the exact text also includes a new phrase indicating that Zoom will not use customer data to train AI models without asking for consent. The text states:


“Notwithstanding the above, Zoom will not use audio, video, or chat Customer Content to train our artificial intelligence models without your consent.”


Zoom’s Chief Product Officer, Smita Hashim, published a blog post on the same day of the update to emphasize the above phrase again. Ensuring the community that Zoom won’t train AI without customer consent, Hashim wrote:


“For AI, we do not use audio, video, or chat content for training our models without customer consent.”

Is the consent explicit?


First, Zoom only promises to ask for consent when using customer data to train AI models, not for the Service Generated Data. The current policy indicates that Zoom is free to use this Service Generated Data however it wants, including training AI.


Regarding the Service Generated Data, Hashim wrote:


“We wanted to be transparent that we consider this [Service Generated Data] to be our data so that we can use service generated data to make the user experience better for everyone on our platform,”

Secondly, Zoom doesn’t explicitly ask for consent to use customer data to train AI models. Instead, Zoom assumes that the user granted consent when they enable Zoom’s generative AI features, which were released in June.


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