Data protection: Consumer advice center warns Meta about AI training

Data protection: Consumer advice center warns Meta about AI training
Data protection: Consumer advice center warns Meta about AI training

According to the Meta corporation’s wishes, users of Facebook, Instagram and Threads should make their content available for training AI models. Consumer advocates want to prevent this.

With a warning against the Facebook group Meta, the NRW consumer advice center wants to prevent the Internet company from using its users’ content to train its AI models without permission. The group’s European subsidiary Meta Platforms Ireland Ltd. was asked to submit a cease-and-desist declaration.

In recent days, Meta has written to Facebook, Instagram and Threads users en masse to inform them about the adjustment of its privacy policy. “We are updating our privacy policy as we expand AI at Meta,” the email states. The text also informs users of their right to object.

The consumer advocates from North Rhine-Westphalia are annoyed that meta customers have to actively object if they do not agree with the AI ​​training based on their postings. “The objection procedure is very cumbersome and not very user-friendly.”

They also complain that Facebook has recently started to carry out a more detailed analysis of the private photo library as standard: users of the Facebook app now receive suggestions as to which photos or videos from their personal storage they could share on the platform. From the perspective of the NRW consumer advice center, both changes – the AI ​​training and the photo analysis – violate users’ data protection rights.

Meta sees no violation

Meta believes that its actions do not violate the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The email to users states: “In order to be able to offer you these user experiences, we will in future rely on the legal basis of legitimate interest when we use your information to further develop and improve AI at Meta.”

Consumer advocates cannot agree with this interpretation of data protection law. “Meta is making it too easy for itself here,” explained Wolfgang Schuldzinski, head of the NRW consumer advice center. The use of private data for training artificial intelligence should not take place without the consent of the users.

“Because the personal data used in this process can be very worthy of protection.” In the past, users could not have foreseen that the information they posted could one day be used to train AI.

Following the warning from the NRW Consumer Advice Center, the company has until June 19, 2024 to issue a cease-and-desist declaration. If Meta allows the deadline to pass without complying, the consumer advocates have the option of taking legal action.

Source: Stern

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