Is Microsoft Using Your Personal Data to Train AI (Copilot)?

By | February 18, 2024
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Is Microsoft Using Your Personal Data to Train AI (Copilot)?

AI is everywhere and it’s affecting our lives more and more every day.  AI is similar to the nuclear revolution in the 1950s when an entire generation feared and embraced the power of the atom. From bomb shelters, to duck & cover, to the cooling towers of nuclear power plants, atomic energy, like it or not, became part of our lives in the 1950s and 1960s.  And it’s still with us – every day, although it is no longer in the spotlight.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is everywhere from AI-generated news articles, to AI-generated images, to AI-generated books and on and on. It didn’t trickle into our lives like a gentle rain on a spring morning, it came almost without warning and has become a flood.

Will AI doom us or make us immortal?

As ordinary humans navigate the extraordinary hype, two icons of the AI OG have come to personify the promise and perils. While (Eliezer) Yudkowsky thinks AI will wipe us out, futurist Ray Kurzweil believes it will make us immortal, predicts that computer intelligence will surpass humans by the year 2045, in what has been dubbed the Singularity, when we’ll merge with machines and live forever. “I think this will be very good for humans,” Kurzweil tells me. “It’s not an alien invasion of intelligent machines from Mars come to compete with us.” Which of these competing visions is correct? Read the entire fascinating article here.

As you may already know, Microsoft is weaving AI into the fabric of Windows, and with each new version Windows will become more AI-oriented. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I don’t think any of us know the answer. One thing I do know is bad is if Microsoft is using our (yours and mine) personal data to train its AI (Copilot). But it seems that no one knows  – not lawyers or privacy experts.  But if Microsoft is using our personal info to train its AI then we have a right to know.

I have been using Firefox as my default browser while still using Chrome and Edge quite often. I’ve become a fan of some of the things Mozilla (the maker of Firefox) is trying to do to protect our privacy. I think their privacy policy is excellent – about as good and simple as it gets in this crazy age. And while I don’t think anything we do on the web is private, I’m more comfortable with Mozilla than I am with, say, Microsoft or Google.

The other day I received an email from Mozilla which wants to ask Microsoft if they’re using our personal data to train its AI (Copilot). Heaven knows Mircosoft collects a lot of personal information from Windows users. It collects enough personal information to make it possible to make Windows 10 and Windows 11 “free” upgrades from previous versions of Windows. Remember when Windows upgrades cost around $100?

So here’s your chance to add your name to a petition to get Microsoft to tell us if they are using our personal information to train its AI. Here’s what Mozilla says…

Ask Microsoft: Are you using our personal data to train AI?

We had four lawyers, three privacy experts, and two campaigners look at Microsoft’s new Service Agreement, and none of our experts could tell if Microsoft plans on using your personal data – including audio, video, chat, and attachments from 130 products, including Office, Skype, Teams, and Xbox – to train its AI models.

If nine experts in privacy can’t understand what Microsoft does with your data, what chance does the average person have? That’s why we’re asking Microsoft to say if they’re going to use our personal data to train its AI.

If you are interested in helping Mozilla in its quest to get Microsoft to divulge whether or not it is using your personal data to train its AI (Copilot) visit this page and add your name and email address.

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