In response to widespread online criticism, Zoom has recently revised its terms of service concerning the use of customer data for AI training. StackDiary had released a report over the weekend that drew attention to amendments made in March. These changes, introduced subtly, seemed to offer Zoom a broad range of control over customer data to facilitate AI model training. Following this, Zoom took to their official blog, clarifying their stance and committing to not implementing practices that its terms allowed for. The updated terms now clearly state that Zoom won’t use consumer audio, video, or chat data for AI purposes “without customer consent.”
The controversy had its roots in Zoom’s AI-driven features, such as the IQ Meeting Summary (with ML-based summaries) and IQ Team Chat Compose (using AI for drafting messages). While account holders must give consent to use these tools, other meeting participants are faced with two choices: either accept the conditions and join the meeting or decline and exit.
“The issue at hand is the clear assertion of Zoom’s right to employ this data for AI and machine learning, inclusive of refining algorithms,” Alex Ivanovs of Stack Diary observed. “It essentially grants Zoom the permission to utilize customer data for training AI without offering an opt-out, raising major concerns surrounding user privacy and consent.”
The terms were also pointed out to permit Zoom to “redistribute, publish, import, access, use, store, transmit, review, disclose, preserve, extract, modify, reproduce, share, use, display, copy, distribute, translate, transcribe, produce derivative content, and process Customer Content and to perform similar actions with the Customer Content.”
Zoom’s Chief Product Officer, Smita Hashim, in a recent blog post, emphasized that account owners and admins do need to provide consent prior to opting for AI data training. She reassured users that this data is “utilized exclusively to enhance the efficiency and precision of our AI offerings.” Hashim further stated, “Even if users opt to share their data, third-party model training will not employ it.” Elaborating further, she added, “While we are permitted to employ customer data to offer added services grounded in this data, our customers retain ownership and rights to their content. As an illustration, if a customer requests a webinar livestream on YouTube, even though we might utilize the video and audio content, the core content is still theirs.”
The blog post clarifies, “We will refrain from using customer data, including educational archives or confidential health details, for AI model training unless we have your approval.” An additional section to Zoom’s terms now underscores, “Despite any previous provisions, Zoom will abstain from using audio, video, or chat Customer Content for AI model training without your approval.”
Hashim concluded by saying, “Our objective is ensuring that Zoom account holders and administrators exercise control over these functionalities and choices, and our commitment is to illuminate our procedures and the impact on our user segments.