Slack shock – data scraped for AI, users cry foul

May 19, 2024
1 min read

TLDR:

  • Slack has sparked a privacy backlash by scraping customer data for AI model training.
  • Customer data, including messages and files, is being analyzed without requiring users to opt-in.

Enterprise collaboration platform Slack is facing criticism after revealing that it has been scraping customer data, including messages and files, to develop new AI and ML models. Despite assurances that technical controls are in place to prevent access to underlying content, some corporate Slack admins are concerned about the data scraping. The company states that opting out of this process requires sending an email request. Many CISOs believe that customers should not have to bear the burden of opting out and express concerns about the use of customer data for AI model training.

While Slack claims that its AI models do not train on customer data, there is growing social media controversy surrounding the privacy implications of using direct messages and sensitive content for model development. The company explains that Slack AI uses Large Language Models but hosts the models on its own infrastructure to ensure data remains in the customer’s control. Slack’s documentation states that data will not leak across workspaces, and measures are in place to protect customer data during the model training process.

In response to user outcry, Slack has clarified its use of AI models and the opt-out process for customers concerned about data privacy. Despite these assurances, the controversy highlights the ongoing challenges around data privacy and AI model development in the tech industry.

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