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Meta aims to train AI on European data amid rising privacy concerns

Meta aims to train AI on European data amid rising privacy concerns

“The European Court of Justice has already made it clear that Meta has no ‘legitimate interest’ to override users’ right to data protection regarding advertising. Yet the company is trying to use the same arguments to train undefined ‘AI technology.’ It seems that Meta is once again blatantly ignoring the judgments of the CJEU.”

– Max Schrems

Meta, Facebook’s parent company, announced its intention to use privacy-sensitive European user data to train its artificial intelligence models. This initiative tackles speculations on data security and competition from the likes of OpenAI and Google for the struggling social media giant. The firm said it was seeking to better understand the range of languages, geography, and cultural references of its European-based users. It aims to achieve this by training its Llama AI large language model on public data from these users. 

In the difficult work of training artificial intelligence at Meta, the social media company confronted its data privacy hurdles in the confines of the European Union. This region dictates a strong preference over ascertaining an individual’s consent on how their data is used. It is so in the case of Meta because, over the past few days, it notified millions of European internet users that it would be changing its privacy policy yet again. 

Meta’s privacy policy revisions significantly expand the scope of user data collection for undefined durations to develop experimental AI systems. The revisions include a collection of sensitive personal information extending back to 2007, even from inactive Facebook accounts containing extensive details of users’ lives. It was only upon closer examination of the links within the notification that it became evident that the company wanted to use personal data from any channel and distribute any information to third parties, most likely using not only years of personal posts but also private pictures and tracking data online. 

For many, such extensive appropriation and open-ended use of the personal profiles of about four billion Meta subscribers raises pressing ethical concerns, especially as protections like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) may not apply uniformly across international jurisdictions. Meta instead argues it has a legitimate interest that outweighs the basic right of data protection and privacy of Europeans. So, instead of asking for consent (opt-in), it has been noted that users apparently do not have any choice to have their data removed from the system or not have the right to be forgotten.

The Austrian privacy group NOYB (none of your business), led by activist Max Schrems, last week filed a complaint with 11 national privacy watchdogs. He said, “Meta is basically saying that it can use ‘any data from any source for any purpose and make it available to anyone in the world,’ as long as it’s done via ‘AI technology.’ He also sent alarms about Meta’s plans to train AI and warned that more (legal regulation) would be needed to stop the company from training its AI model Llama.

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ToAI Team
Fueled by a shared fascination with Artificial Intelligence, the Times Of AI journalists team brings together various researchers, writers, and analysts. We aim to provide a comprehensive knowledge of AI for a broad audience of the Times Of AI. Through in-depth analysis of the latest advancements, investigation of ethical considerations around AI development, AI governance, machine learning, data science, automation, cybersecurity, and discussions about the future impact of AI across various sectors, we aim to empower readers with the details they need to navigate this rapidly evolving field.

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