Google Says It’ll Scrape Everything You Post Online for AI

Google has recently updated its privacy policy stating that it reserves the right to use any publicly posted information to develop its AI tools.

This data could be used to improve Google’s existing services and for the development of new products, technologies and features such as Google Translate, Bard and Cloud AI capabilities.

The language of the revised policy also specifies that Google may use data posted anywhere on the public web, suggesting that the internet could serve as a data source for Google’s AI development.

Google Says It'll Scrape Everything You Post Online for AI

The implications of this change raise intriguing privacy concerns.

The traditional understanding that public posts are publicly visible is being redefined to include how public information can be utilized.

Thus, it’s possible that AI systems like Google’s Bard and OpenAI’s ChatGPT could be using publicly posted content, such as blog posts or restaurant reviews, in ways that are difficult to anticipate and comprehend.

These concerns highlight the complex legal issues around the rights to internet data that courts are likely to grapple with in the future.

Reddit and Twitter, the two major social media platforms have responded by limiting third-party access to their APIs to protect their content from being harvested.

However, these changes have had unintended consequences. They disrupted third-party tools that many people used to access these platforms and sparked significant backlash.

On Reddit, the changes led to a protest by unpaid moderators who heavily relied on third-party tools for their work. The protest essentially shut down Reddit, with long-term effects yet to be seen.

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has been vocal about his concerns with web scraping.

He blamed several recent issues on Twitter on attempts to prevent data scraping and system manipulation.

However, many IT experts contend that the problems were more likely due to poor management or technical difficulties.

Google’s policy shift thus underscores a broader debate about data privacy and the implications of AI’s use of public posts.

The coming years will likely bring significant legal and ethical discussions about the ownership, usage and protection of internet data, as more tech companies leverage public content for their AI development.

Summary – At a Glance

Google’s New Privacy Policy

Google has revised its privacy policy, now explicitly stating its right to utilize virtually any online content to enhance its artificial intelligence (AI) tools.

The gathered data improves existing services, enables the creation of new products, features, and technologies, and assists in training AI models for products like Google Translate, Bard, and Cloud AI.

Implications for Online Privacy

The change brings fresh perspectives on online privacy, suggesting that any public internet post could be fair game for Google’s use.

It necessitates a new understanding of online activity, emphasizing potential use of information rather than just its visibility.

Legal and Copyright Issues

This broad use of internet data for AI systems stirs up legal and copyright controversies.

The legality remains unclarified, with the prospect of future court cases to settle emerging copyright disputes.

These practices also pose questions about data ownership affecting consumers.

Reactions from Twitter and Reddit

In response to Google’s AI-related change, platforms like Twitter and Reddit have restricted their API access to protect their intellectual property from data scraping.

However, these steps disrupted third-party tools accessing these platforms and sparked controversies, such as Twitter considering charging for tweets and a mass protest on Reddit due to API changes affecting moderators.

Elon Musk on Web Scraping

Elon Musk voiced concerns over web scraping, linking several Twitter issues to efforts against data extraction.

However, many IT experts ascribe these troubles more to management or technical difficulties than to data scraping.

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