Meta Hit With Complaints Over Use of Personal Data in AI Training

Meta Hit With Complaints Over Use of Personal Data in AI Training

Penka Hristovska Penka Hristovska
Published on: June 8, 2024 Senior Editor

Austrian privacy advocacy group NOYB filed complaints this week in 11 European countries over Meta’s plan to use personal data for training its artificial intelligence (AI) models without obtaining consent.

According to NOYB, the legal action follows Meta’s recent privacy policy update, which requests access to all public and non-public user data, excluding individual chats, collected since 2007. Meta aims to use this data, which includes years of private images, personal posts, and online tracking data, for current and future artificial intelligence technology.

With Meta’s policy set to take effect on June 26, NOYB has called for an “urgency procedure” under the EU’s data protection rules, arguing that the change is concerning as it impacts the personal data of approximately 4 billion Meta users.

Complaints have been filed with privacy regulators in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Spain. Additional complaints in other EU countries are expected in the coming days.

Last week, the Big Tech company announced that it would start informing users in the UK and EU about how it plans to use “public information shared on Meta’s products and services” to develop and enhance AI, in compliance with their respective privacy laws.

NOYB claims that the company fails to provide users with any details about the purposes of the “AI technology,” which violates the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Under the GDPR, companies must rely on one of six legal bases, such as opt-in consent, to process personal data in the EU.

“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’. This is clearly the opposite of GDPR compliance. ‘AI technology’ is an extremely broad term. Much like ‘using your data in databases’, it has no real legal limit,” said Max Schrems, lawyer at NOYB.

Meta says the company is “confident that our approach complies with privacy laws, and our approach is consistent with how other tech companies are developing and improving their AI experiences in Europe (including Google and Open AI).”

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