Privacy advocates push back against Meta’s data usage for AI development

By Abigail Opiah

Meta has notified millions of European users about upcoming changes to its privacy policy, set to take effect on June 26, 2024. According to Silicon, the company plans to utilize personal data, including years of posts, images, and tracking information, to develop unspecified AI technologies and share data with undefined third parties. The change has prompted backlash from privacy advocates and regulatory bodies.

Max Schrems, a privacy advocate, criticizes Meta’s approach, stating that the company aims to use any data from any source for any purpose under the guise of “AI technology.” Schrems highlights that this practice is fundamentally at odds with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements.

In response to Meta’s policy update, privacy organization noyb has filed complaints in 11 European countries, urging authorities to halt the implementation immediately. They argue that Meta’s plan lacks transparency and fails to provide users with adequate control over their personal data. Noyb’s complaints highlight numerous violations of GDPR, including issues with transparency, data protection principles, and the right to be forgotten.

Schrems expresses concern over Meta’s “broad and undefined use of AI technology”, noting that the company has not provided any specific details on how the data will be used. He warned that this could lead to severe privacy infringements, as Meta intends to make user data available to any third party without clear limitations.

The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC), one of Meta’s regulators in the EU, has faced criticism for allegedly making deals with Meta that allow the company to sidestep GDPR compliance.

Given the impending deadline, noyb has requested an “urgency procedure” under Article 66 GDPR to impose a preliminary halt on Meta’s new policy. This request aims to safeguard the personal data of millions of European users and ensure compliance with data protection laws.

In a related development, Democratic Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin, a former tech insider, is taking on the tech industry with a bill that would mandate artificial intelligence developers to disclose the data used to “train” their systems, Cal Matters reports.

Source: Biometric Update

Abigail Opiah is a reporter for Biometric Update. Abigail has a masters in Broadcast Journalism from City, University of London and has previous experience in the tech space working for TechRadar and Capacity Media. Find her on LinkedIn.

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