Meta Faces EU Backlash Over Non-Consensual AI Data Use

Meta Faces EU Backlash Over Non-Consensual AI Data Use

NYOB Calls for Urgent Review of Meta’s Privacy Policy

Meta Platforms, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, is under scrutiny from European Union regulators and privacy advocacy groups. The controversy stems from Meta’s recent privacy policy changes, allegedly allowing the company to harness years of user data without obtaining explicit consent, potentially violating EU privacy regulations.

This intense scrutiny was caused by the series of complaints filed against Meta by the privacy advocacy group None of Your Business (NYOB). These complaints were submitted to national privacy watchdogs in Belgium, Austria, France, Greece, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Ireland, Norway, Spain and Poland.

The complaints assert that Meta’s updated privacy policy, set to take effect on June 26, grants the company broad access to personal posts, private images, and online tracking data for its AI technology without user permission. According to NYOB, this move would affect millions of European users since they cannot remove their data from Meta’s systems once it has been collected.

Ignoring European Court Ruling

Moreover, Max Schrems, founder of NYOB, pointed out that the European Court of Justice had already issued a landmark ruling on a similar matter in 2021. Schrems emphasized that Meta has no “legitimate interest” in protecting user data protection, especially for advertising.

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It isn’t the first time Meta has faced scrutiny over its data practices. NYOB previously filed complaints against Meta and other tech giants for breaching the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

In response to the mounting criticism, Meta’s official statement was that it is committed to protecting users’ privacy while improving its AI technology. However, critics argue that the company’s actions contradict its commitment to privacy and transparency.

The backlash against Meta comes as tech companies face increasing scrutiny over their data-handling practices. Similarly, a lawsuit against Google was filed in July 2023 over misusing large amounts of data, including copyrighted material, in its AI training.

US Antitrust Chief Shifts Focus On AI Sector

In a move signaling heightened regulatory scrutiny, US antitrust enforcer Jonathan Kanter has announced a focused investigation into the artificial intelligence (AI) sector. Concerns about monopolies in critical areas of AI development have prompted Kanter to call for urgent action to prevent excessive market control.

Kanter’s remarks come in response to growing unease about the dominance of a few technology giants in the AI landscape. The antitrust official warned that allowing these dominant firms to maintain unchecked control could stifle competition and innovation, leading to detrimental consequences for consumers and the economy.

Kanter suggested that a quick intervention would be a key strategy for addressing these concerns. By closely monitoring developments in the AI sector and taking swift action where necessary, regulators aim to promote healthy competition.

Challenges in the AI Hardware Market

One area of focus is chipmakers’ resource allocation, especially in light of the skyrocketing demand for graphics processing units (GPUs) used in training large language models (LLMs). The recent earnings report from GPU provider Nvidia (a 262% year-on-year revenue surge) underscores the significance of ensuring the equitable distribution of advanced computing hardware.

Government initiatives to bolster chip manufacturing, such as the Chips and Science Act, signed into law in 2022, have already been set in motion. With $39 billion allocated for chip subsidies, efforts to ramp up production are underway to meet the growing demand for AI-related hardware components.

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Cecil Felix
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Cecil Felix

Cecil Felix, a vanguard in crypto journalism, provides incisive perspectives on the digital currency frontier. With a talent for distilling complex blockchain phenomena into digestible insights, Cecil's articles are a touchstone for enthusiasts and experts. His depth and clarity solidify his reputation as a leading crypto commentator

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