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    Meta changes privacy policy in the EU to use user posts for training AI models, faces complaints in multiple countries

    In a privacy policy change set to take effect on June 26, 2024, Meta plans to use the public information shared by its users to train its artificial intelligence (AI) models. This includes things like posts or photos and their captions. The company says that to use less information that is directly connected to individuals, in some cases, it de-identifies or aggregates information or anonymizes it so that the user is no longer identifiable. 

    Private messages users that share with their family and friends are excluded from training data. Based on the updated privacy policy, the company also collects other kinds of user information as well, including transactions made, metadata of messages, app browser, and device information. All of this information is used to test new products and features and see if they work. 

    In a blog post about this changed privacy policy, the company said that in the future it might use the information people share when interacting with our generative AI features, like Meta AI, or with a business, to develop and improve our AI products.

    Meta faces complaints across the EU:

    The advocacy group, None of Your Business (NOYB) has filed complaints against Meta in 11 countries in response to this policy change. The group states that as per the policy, Meta “basically says that the company wants to take all public and non-public user data that it has collected since 2007 and use it for any undefined type of current and future ‘artificial intelligence technology'”. It argues that users are not given any information about the future AI that their data is being used to train, which is against the requirements of the General Data Protection Rules (GDPR). NOYB also adds that urgency is required in dealing with this situation especially considering the fact that the policy comes into effect on June 26, and Meta says that there is no option to opt-out at a later point to have user data removed.

    Meta has argued that it has a ‘legitimate interest’ in processing first and third-party data to build its AI services as the legal basis for processing personal data under the GDPR. NOYB points out that when Meta tried to make a similar case of legitimate interest in the context of using all personal data for advertising – and was rejected by the Court of Justice. 

    Besides the issues with the legitimate interest argument, another issue is the fact that Meta has previously said that it is unable to distinguish between data from users from the EU and other countries where people don’t enjoy GDPR protections. It has also said that it cannot distinguish between sensitive data under Article 9 GDPR, such as ethnicity, political opinions, religious beliefs, and other data for which a legitimate interest can be claimed. As such, NOYB says that Meta could be violative of multiple GDPR provisions.

    Issues with the ‘opt-out’ approach:

    Given the use of the legitimate interest as the legal basis for processing data, Meta allows users to opt out of data processing by filling out a form present in its privacy center. NOYB says that by using an opt-out approach, Meta is making users responsible for protecting their own privacy. It further explains that while in theory, the opt-out process could have been as simple as a click, “Meta makes it extremely complicated to object, even requiring personal reasons.” As per a technical analysis conducted by NOYB, showed that Meta requires a login to view an otherwise public page.

    Is Indian users’ data also being used to train AI?

    Interestingly, the same policy has been effective in India since December 27, 2023. The major difference, however, is that Indian users don’t have the option to opt out of having their data processed. As per the Indian Digital Personal Data Protection Act (DPDP Act, 2023), companies are allowed to use publicly available personal data without any consent or without adhering to the provisions of the act. 

    Also read:

    The post Meta changes privacy policy in the EU to use user posts for training AI models, faces complaints in multiple countries appeared first on MEDIANAMA.

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