Iubenda logo
Start generating


Table of Contents

Zoom’s New Terms of Service: A Closer Look at Privacy Concerns and AI Training

Zoom, the globally renowned video conferencing platform, recently updated its terms of service, raising concerns and discussion among users and privacy experts alike. 

The modifications, at first glance, hinted at an unsettling prospect: that Zoom could use AI to analyze audio, facial movements, and even private conversations without any restraints.

Initial Backlash and Clarification

[Last Updated: 08-30-2023]

Zoom Video Communications, a leading web conferencing service, has announced an update to its terms and conditions to assure users that their content will not be used to train the company’s artificial intelligence (AI) models.

Zoom has updated its terms of service to make it clear that it does not use any of your audio, video, chat, screen sharing, attachments, or other communications like customer content (such as poll results, whiteboard, and reactions) to train Zoom’s or third-party artificial intelligence models.

The alterations to Zoom’s terms of service immediately triggered a wave of backlash, particularly because it initially seemed that opting out of this data usage wasn’t a possibility. 

The outcry was so significant that Zoom felt compelled to respond. In a blog post, the company clarified that it wouldn’t employ audio, video, or chat content for AI model training without obtaining explicit customer consent.

Understanding the Data Types

Zoom can collect two distinct categories of data:

  1. Service-Generated Data: This includes user locations, interaction features, and other non-content data. The new terms of service suggest that this type of data could be used for AI training without any additional consent.
  2. Customer Content: This encompasses user-generated data like audio and chat transcripts. 

User Consent and Potential Privacy Issues

Zoom has made it clear that they can use video calls and chat transcripts for AI training, but only if user consent is obtained. 

If a meeting host agrees to share data, it is understood that all participants would also be required to share their data if they remain in the call, potentially posing significant privacy issues.

Privacy Advocates’ Concerns

For privacy advocates, the broadness of Zoom’s terms of service raises eyebrows. They fear that the company might have intentions for various AI projects beyond the publicly stated goals of meeting summaries. As the world becomes increasingly reliant on virtual communication, the clarity, and transparency of such terms become critical.

Changes to Zooms T&Cs

In March 2023, Zoom changed its terms of service to provide clarity about content ownership across the platform. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Section 10.1: Customers own and control their video, audio, and chat content. Zoom may use it for value-added services, but ownership remains with the customers.
  • Section 10.2: Service-generated data such as telemetry and diagnostic information is considered Zoom’s data and can be used to enhance user experience.
  • Section 10.4: This section ensures that Zoom can provide value-added services (e.g., meeting recordings) without questions of usage rights, while still respecting customer ownership. For AI, Zoom stresses that they do not use content for training without consent.

Lingering Concerns Among Privacy Experts

Even with Zoom’s clarification, privacy experts continue to warn that the updated terms don’t necessarily prevent the company from utilizing customer data for AI training. The vagueness of the terms is still alarming, prompting questions about the extent of data usage and privacy protection during virtual meetings.

Zoom’s recent changes to its terms of service have opened up a Pandora’s box of privacy concerns, questions, and ongoing debates. 

While the company has attempted to provide clarification, ambiguities remain, highlighting the ever-present tension between technological advancement and user privacy. 

The situation underscores the importance of clear communication and robust privacy protections, particularly in an age where our virtual lives are becoming as essential as our physical ones. It remains to be seen how Zoom will continue to navigate this complex landscape, but one thing is clear: the conversation around privacy, consent, and AI training is far from over.

Generate a Terms and Conditions document

Optimized for E-commerce, Marketplace, SaaS, Apps and more

Start generating