Google is facing a legal action that claims it illicitly obtained information from numerous users in order to educate its AI tools

Google is facing a legal action

Google is facing a comprehensive lawsuit accusing the company of unauthorized data scraping from millions of users and copyright infringement in order to develop its artificial intelligence (AI) products. The proposed class action lawsuit, filed by Clarkson Law Firm in a California federal court, targets Google, its parent company Alphabet, and its AI subsidiary DeepMind. The complaint alleges that Google secretly obtained and utilized vast amounts of user data from the internet to train its AI tools, including its chatbot Bard. The lawsuit also claims that Google extracted users’ entire digital footprint, including copyrighted works, to build its AI products.

In response, Halimah DeLaine Prado, Google’s general counsel, refuted the allegations, calling them baseless. Prado stated that Google has been transparent in its use of data from public sources and public datasets to train its AI models, in accordance with its AI Principles. The statement emphasized the legality of using public information for beneficial purposes, expressing confidence in refuting the claims made in the lawsuit. Alphabet and DeepMind have not yet provided a response.

The lawsuit comes amid increasing attention on AI tools that generate written content and images based on user prompts. These tools rely on large language models trained on extensive online data. However, companies utilizing such data have faced heightened legal scrutiny concerning copyright violations and the use of personal and potentially sensitive user data, including that of children, as alleged in the Google lawsuit.

The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief, requesting a temporary halt to commercial access and development of Google’s generative AI tools like Bard. Additionally, it demands unspecified damages and compensation for individuals whose data was purportedly misappropriated by Google. The law firm has identified eight plaintiffs, including a minor.

One of the attorneys at Clarkson Law Firm emphasized the distinction between Google’s indexing of online data for its search engine, which can drive engagement and potential purchases of attributed works, and the alleged data scraping for AI training, which creates an alternative version of the work and alters incentives for purchasing. The attorney argued that personal data belongs to individuals and should not be taken without permission or used for any purpose.

The firm called on Google to provide an opt-out mechanism for users who do not wish to have their data used for AI training while still allowing them to use the internet for everyday needs.