Google sued in the U.S. over data scraping for AI

Google faces a class action lawsuit in the U.S. which claimed that the tech giant stole user creations on the net to build products like the AI chatbot Bard

July 13, 2023 02:29 pm | Updated 05:08 pm IST

Eight plaintiffs accuse Google of stealing personal data to build AI-powered products [File]

Eight plaintiffs accuse Google of stealing personal data to build AI-powered products [File] | Photo Credit: Reuters

Google is facing a class action lawsuit filed by eight plaintiffs in the U.S., who accused the search engine giant of stealing the creations of “hundreds of millions of Americans” to build products like the AI-powered chatbot Bard.

According to the court filing dated July 11, the plaintiffs claimed that Google stole their data such as personal and professional content, photos, and emails over the course of years without gaining consent from users.

“As part of its theft of personal data, Google illegally accessed restricted, subscription based websites to take the content of millions without permission and infringed at least 200 million materials explicitly protected by copyright, including previously stolen property from websites known for pirated collections of books and other creative works,” said the court filing, adding that Bard would not exist without such “mass theft.”

Some of the plaintiffs in the case are an investigative journalist and author, an actor and professor, a six-year-old child, and a young teenager.

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Google recently updated its privacy policy to allow the collection of information to train its AI models and products like Bard and Google Translate. The lawsuit filing also referenced this change, and said that Google could have collected data without stealing it.

““Publicly available” has never meant free to use for any purpose,” said the plaintiffs’ filing.

Calling the claims “baseless,” Google general counsel Halimah DeLaine Prado denied that the company had been collecting data in secret and said that it had always been clear about using data from public sources to train its AI models, reported Reuters.

Google is not the only big tech company to face data theft accusations. Comedian Sarah Silverman and several authors have sued OpenAI, the Microsoft-backed maker of ChatGPT, accusing the AI startup of using their copyrighted data to train the viral chatbot.

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