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Google updates privacy policy to train its AI on everything you post online

Google's new policy provokes new questions about privacy.
By

Published onJuly 3, 2023

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Calvin Wankhede / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • Google has updated its privacy policy.
  • The new policy adds that Google can use publically available data to train its AI products.
  • The way the policy is worded, it sounds as if the company is reserving the right to harvest and use data posted anywhere on the web.

You probably didn’t notice, but Google quietly updated its privacy policy over the weekend. While the wording of the policy is only slightly different from before, the change is enough to be concerning.

As discovered by Gizmodo, Google has updated its privacy policy. While there’s nothing particularly notable in most of the policy, one section now sticks out — the research and development section. That section explains how Google can use your information and now reads as:

Google uses information to improve our services and to develop new products, features and technologies that benefit our users and the public. For example, we use publicly available information to help train Google’s AI models and build products and features like Google Translate, Bard, and Cloud AI capabilities.

Before the update, this section mentioned “for language models” instead of “AI models.” It also only mentioned Google Translate, where it now adds Bard and Cloud AI.

As the outlet points out, this is a peculiar clause for a company to add. The reason why it’s peculiar is that the way it’s worded makes it sound as if the tech giant reserves the right to harvest and use data from any part of the public internet. Usually, a policy such as this only discusses how the company will use data posted on its own services.

While most people likely realize that whatever they put online will be publicly available, this development opens up a new twist — use. It’s not just about others being able to see what you write online, but also about how that data will be used.

Bard, ChatGPT, Bing Chat, and other AI models that provide real-time information work by scraping information from the internet. The sourced information can often come from others’ intellectual property. Right now, there are lawsuits accusing these AI tools of theft, and there are likely to be more to come down the line.