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Google has updated its privacy policy to state that it can use publicly available data to help train its AI models. The tech giant changed the wording of its policy over the weekend and switched “AI models” for “language models.” It also stated that it could use publicly available information to build not just features, but full products like “Google Translate, Bard, and Cloud AI capabilities.”

By updating its policy, Google is letting people know and making it clear that anything they publicly post online could be used to train Bard, its future versions, and any other generative AI product Google develops.

Critics have been raising concerns about companies’ use of information posted online to train their large language models for generative AI use. Recently, a proposed class action lawsuit was filed against OpenAI, accusing it of scraping “massive amounts of personal data from the internet,” including “stolen private information,” to train its GPT models without prior consent. As Search Engine Journal notes, we’ll likely see plenty of similar lawsuits in the future as more companies develop their own generative AI products.

Owners of websites that could be considered public squares in the digital age have also taken steps to either prevent or profit from the generative AI boom. Reddit has started charging for access to its API, leading third-party clients to shut down over the weekend. Meanwhile, Twitter put a restriction on how many tweets a user sees per day to “address extreme levels of data scraping [and] system manipulation.”

What does this mean for users?

The updated privacy policy means that Google could use anything you post online, whether it’s on Google’s own platforms or on other websites, to train its AI models. This could include your comments on social media, your blog posts, or even your email messages.

Google says that it will only use this information for “legitimate business purposes,” such as improving its products and services, providing you with more relevant content, and personalizing your experience. However, it’s important to remember that Google is a private company, and it’s not subject to the same privacy regulations as the government. This means that Google could theoretically use this information for any purpose it sees fit, without your consent.

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What can you do to protect your privacy?

If you’re concerned about your privacy, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself. First, you can be mindful of what you post online. If you don’t want Google to use your information to train its AI models, then you shouldn’t post it online in the first place.

Second, you can use privacy-focused tools and services. There are a number of browsers and email clients that offer enhanced privacy features. You can also use a VPN to encrypt your traffic and hide your IP address.

Finally, you can stay informed about the latest privacy developments. As generative AI becomes more widespread, it’s important to be aware of how your data is being used. You can do this by reading privacy blogs and newsletters, and by following privacy advocates on social media.

The future of privacy

The updated privacy policy is a sign of the times. As generative AI becomes more sophisticated, companies will be increasingly able to collect and use data from the public sphere. This raises serious privacy concerns, and it’s important to be aware of how your data is being used. By taking steps to protect your privacy, you can help to ensure that your data is used in a responsible way.

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Nigel Jr.
As a tech enthusiast and expert, Nigel Jr. is dedicated to providing in-depth and insightful content on all things technology. With a background in online journalism, product reviewing, and tech creation, Nigel has become a trusted source for all things tech.

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