Zoom under fire for using customer data to train AI models

Occurred: August 2023

An update to Zoom's terms of service to state that customer data would be used for 'machine learning' and 'artificial intelligence' met with stiff criticism.

The move led customers to say their confidentiality and privacy was at stake and threaten to boycott or leave Zoom for competitor products, and left Zoom scrambling to explain what it was doing.

In response, the company updated its terms to say 'Notwithstanding the above, Zoom will not use audio, video or chat Customer Content to train our artificial intelligence models without your consent.' However, privacy experts said the new update contradicted the earlier statement, and suggested the company could continue to collect and use customer data. 

A blog post by Zoom Chief Product Officer Smita Hashim appeared to quell some of the noise. But others pointed out that Zoom’s use of AI is focused on automated meeting summariser Zoom IQ, which by default collects data on all people in a meeting once the meeting administrator has approved its use, is unsatisfactory.

Operator: Zoom Video Communications
Developer: Zoom Video Communications
Country: USA
Sector: Business/professional services
Purpose: Summarise meetings
Technology: NLP/text analysis; Neural network; Deep learning; Machine learning
Issue: Confidentiality; Privacy; Ethics
Transparency: Governance; Marketing; Legal

Page info
Type: Issue
Published: August 2023
Last updated: November 2023