Google, DeepMind, and Alphabet were hit with a class-action lawsuit for secretly harvesting users’ personal and professional information, creative works, and even emails to train its generative A.I. products.
According to the lawsuit, Google has employed various techniques to collect personal data from individuals without their knowledge or consent. These techniques include tracking cookies and other technologies and data collection from their products like Gmail and Google Search. It also mentions data scraping from websites and social networking platforms.
Google’s Response to the Lawsuit
The lawsuit further alleges that Google’s data-gathering practices violate several laws, including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), the CCPA California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA).
Google responded, calling the claims baseless and stating that it has been transparent about responsibly using data from public sources. The lawsuit comes after somebody lodged a similar complaint against OpenAI. The plaintiffs remained anonymous in both cases to mitigate potential backlash and intrusive scrutiny.
Beyond the legal implications, this lawsuit raises ethical concerns regarding using people’s data to train A.I. models. It emphasizes the importance of ensuring that data usage for A.I. development is ethical and responsible.
The outcome of this case against Google is likely to significantly impact the future development and use of A.I. A successful lawsuit could compel Google to alter its data collection methods and establish barriers for other businesses seeking to gather and use people’s data without consent.
— Reuters (@Reuters) July 12, 2023
OpenAI Accused of Stealing Personal Data
One of the plaintiffs in the Google lawsuit, identified as “J.L.,” alleges that Google used her New York Times best-selling book to train its A.I. chatbot Bard, making her work widely accessible for free on the platform.
According to a lawsuit, OpenAI has been accused of stealing large amounts of medical records and information about children. The proposed class-action suit alleges that the company secretly harvested data to enable the chatbot to mimic human language.
The lawsuit claims that OpenAI collected this data through web crawling, including scraping social media sites like Reddit. The data accessed included private conversations, medical information, and other personal data from the internet without the owner’s permission. The lawsuit also accuses OpenAI of storing and disclosing users’ account details, chat log data, and social media information.
Temporary Freeze to Access OpenAI’s Products
The lawsuit will temporarily freeze commercial access to OpenAI’s derivatives until the company enforces more regulations, protection, and financial settlement for individuals impacted by the data breach. The lawsuit also names Microsoft as a defendant, as it is a significant backer of OpenAI. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit have been identified only by their initials, occupations, and state to protect them from intrusive scrutiny or potential backlash.
The lawsuit raises concerns about the potential risks of A.I. technology. These include its impact on job markets, the spread of false information, and the misuse of A.I. for malicious purposes. It argues that profit-driven companies have released A.I. technology without considering the potentially catastrophic risks to humanity.
Undoubtedly, the Google lawsuit is a complex matter with profound implications. It raises critical ethical issues surrounding using personal data in training A.I. models. Consequently, it can potentially reshape the landscape of A.I. development and deployment.
Google Facing Regulatory Scrutiny Worldwide
In addition to legal concerns, Google is facing increasing regulatory scrutiny worldwide. The European Commission imposed a fine of $2.71 billion on Google in 2022 for infringing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a comprehensive privacy law applicable to businesses handling the personal data of individuals in the European Union.
The European Commission’s actions against Google signify that authorities take data-gathering practices seriously. They remind organizations to be transparent about their data collection and usage activities and comply with relevant regulations.
While the future of A.I. remains uncertain, it is evident that legal and regulatory frameworks will wield significant influence over the development and use of A.I. technology. The lawsuit against Google marks a pivotal moment in the history of artificial intelligence.
Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
Insider: A lawsuit claims OpenAI stole ‘massive amounts of personal data,’ including medical records and information about children, to train ChatGPT
TechStory: Google’s Unauthorized Data Collection for AI Training; by Srijita Ghosh
REUTERS: Google hit with class-action lawsuit over AI data scraping; by Blake Brittain
CNN: Google hit with a lawsuit alleging it stole data from millions of users to train its AI tools; by Catherine Thorbecke
Financial Times: ChatGPT maker investigated by US regulators over AI risks; by Stefania Palma in Washington, Madhumita Murgia in London, and Richard Waters in San Francisco