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6 Jun 2024

Foo Yun Chee, Reuters

EU: Meta faces privacy complaints in 11 countries over the use of personal data to train AI models

"Meta faces call in EU not to use personal data for AI models", 6 June 2024

A Meta (META.O), opens new tab plan to use personal data to train its artificial intelligence (AI) models without seeking consent came under fire from advocacy group NOYB..., which called on privacy enforcers across Europe to stop such use.

NOYB... urged national privacy watchdogs to act immediately, saying recent changes in Meta's privacy policy, which come into force on June 26, would allow it to use years of personal posts, private images or online tracking data for the Facebook owner's AI technology.

The advocacy group said it has launched 11 complaints against Meta and asked data protection authorities in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Spain to launch an urgency procedure because of the imminent changes.

Meta rejected NOYB's criticism and referred to a May 22 blog in which it said it uses publicly available online and licensed information to train AI as well as information that people have shared publicly on its products and services.

However, a message sent to Facebook users said Meta may still process information about people who do not use its products and services nor have an account if they appear in an image or are mentioned in posts or captions shared by a user.

"We are 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)," a spokesperson said.

Meta has previously cited a legitimate interest for using users' data to train and develop its generative AI models and other AI tools, which can be shared with third parties.

NOYB founder Max Schrems said in a statement that Europe's top court had already ruled on this issue in 2021.

"The European Court of Justice (CJEU) has already made it clear that Meta has no 'legitimate interest' to override users' right to data protection when it comes to advertising," he said."Yet the company is trying to use the same arguments for the training of undefined 'AI technology'. It seems that Meta is once again blatantly ignoring the judgements of the CJEU," Schrems said, adding that opting out was extremely complicated.