The new policy states, “Google uses information to improve our services and to develop new products, features and technologies that benefit our users and the public. For example, we use publicly available information to help train Google’s AI models and build products and features like Google Translate, Bard, and Cloud AI capabilities.”
This change in policy is a departure from the norm. Typically, privacy policies outline how a company uses information posted on its own platforms. However, Google’s new policy suggests that it can harvest and utilize data posted on any part of the public web. This has led to a reevaluation of what it means to post something online. It’s no longer a question of who can see the information, but how it could be used.
The implications of this policy change are far-reaching. AI models such as Bard and ChatGPT could potentially use your old blog posts or restaurant reviews to generate responses. There is a strong possibility that Bard and ChatGPT have ingested your old blog posts and other comments for use in generating answers to user prompts.
The legality of scraping the internet for data is a gray area and is likely to be a topic of legal debate in the coming years. Companies like Google and OpenAI have been known to scrape vast portions of the internet to fuel their AI models. It’s not at all clear that this is legal, and the next few years will see the courts wrestle with copyright questions that would have seemed like science fiction a few years ago.
Elon Musk blamed AI scraping for his recent restrictions on Twitter users and the ability to read tweets. Musk tweeted, “To address extreme levels of data scraping & system manipulation we’ve applied the following temporary limits.”