Zoom Accused Of Using User Data To Train Their AI

Something that blew up in the world yesterday is an accusation that Zoom is using customer data to train its AI with no option to opt out. This Tweet (or X? seeing as Twitter is now X) is an example of this: 

To verify that accusation, I went looking for their terms of service and found them here: https://explore.zoom.us/en/terms/

This is the verbiage that is at issue: 

You consent to Zoom’s access, use, collection, creation, modification, distribution, processing, sharing, maintenance, and storage of Service Generated Data for any purpose, to the extent and in the manner permitted under applicable Law, including for the purpose of product and service development, marketing, analytics, quality assurance, machine learning or artificial intelligence (including for the purposes of training and tuning of algorithms and models), training, testing, improvement of the Services, Software, or Zoom’s other products, services, and software, or any combination thereof, and as otherwise provided in this Agreement.

This looks bad and appears to confirm the accusation. But Zoom doesn’t see things that way. Here’s a link where Zoom pushed back on these claims: 



For AI, we do not use audio, video, or chat content for training our models without customer consent.

And if you read the whole document, it talks about two Zoom features that use AI:

  • Zoom IQ Meeting Summary
  • Zoom IQ Team Chat Compose

And Zoom goes on to say this:

When you choose to enable Zoom IQ Meeting Summary or Zoom IQ Team Chat Compose, you will also be presented with a transparent consent process for training our AI models using your customer content. Your content is used solely to improve the performance and accuracy of these AI services. And even if you chose to share your data, it will not be used for training of any third-party models. 

The blog post shows that a lot of these features are turned off by default. I’ve confirmed this with a couple of my clients who use Zoom, which confirms what Zoom is saying. But this blew up because so many other companies have been caught collecting user data to train AI. And the way that the way that the terms of service is written doesn’t help to give users of Zoom any other view than Zoom is doing the same thing. I am tempted to give Zoom a pass on this one. But given Zoom’s past history when it comes to security and other issues, Zoom really has to demonstrate that they are trustworthy 100% of the time.

UPDATE: Allen Drennan, Co-Founder & Principal, Cordoniq provided me with this comment:

When private organizations are uploading internal confidential information and IP into a meeting, they are not considering the ramifications of providing their data to a third-party provider that is managed in a cloud they do not control. The issue is not just limited to shared screens or multi-page confidential shared documents. It is also extended to recordings of the meetings and the audio and video used within the meeting. When implementing these types of online meeting services, you really must have control over both security and privacy but also the entire deployment including the backend and your organization should be in a legal position to provide your own terms of service and license agreement to your consumers.

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