A proposed class-action lawsuit has been filed against Google, accusing the company of misusing personal information and copyrighted material to train its artificial intelligence (AI) systems. The lawsuit adds to the growing number of legal actions in the AI industry concerning the alleged misuse of personal data and copyrighted materials.
Allegations of Unauthorized Data Scraping and Violation of Privacy and Property Rights
The complaint, brought forward by eight individuals seeking to represent millions of internet users and copyright holders, claims that Google’s unauthorized scraping of data from websites violated their privacy and property rights. The plaintiffs argue that Google does not have ownership over the internet or the creative works, expressions, and personal photographs shared by individuals online. This case follows a similar lawsuit filed by the plaintiffs’ attorney against Microsoft-backed OpenAI in June, where anonymity was requested for the plaintiffs due to reported violent threats received by others involved in similar litigation.
The Potential Liability for Google and Its Response
According to the lawsuit filed on Tuesday, Google may face liability of at least $5 billion. In response to the allegations, Google’s general counsel, Halimah DeLaine Prado, clarified that the company has been transparent about its use of data from public sources, such as openly available information and public datasets, to responsibly train AI models for services like Google Translate. Prado highlighted that American law supports the utilization of public information to create new beneficial applications. Google intends to refute the baseless claims presented in the lawsuit.
Misuse of Personal Data and Copyrighted Materials for AI Training
This particular lawsuit highlights the misuse of personal data and copyrighted materials, including books, visual art, and source code, for training AI systems. The plaintiffs, identified by their initials, argue that Google misused their content posted on social media platforms and shared through Google platforms to train its chatbot Bard and other generative AI systems. Examples of cited content include photographs from dating websites, Spotify playlists, and TikTok videos. One of the plaintiffs, identified as J.L., a best-selling Texan author and investigative journalist, claims that Google copied her entire book to train Bard.
Relief Sought and Implications for Internet Users
The lawsuit seeks a court order requiring Google to allow internet users to opt out of the company’s “illicit data collection.” Additionally, the plaintiffs demand that Google either deletes the existing data or provides “fair compensation” to the owners of the data. The outcome of this case could have significant implications for internet users and their control over their personal data and copyrighted content used for AI training purposes.
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