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Dropbox Users Spooked by AI Feature Sharing Data with OpenAI

Dropbox Users Spooked by AI Feature Sharing Data with OpenAI

 By Charles Joseph | Cybersecurity Researcher
 Published on January 3rd, 2024

Recently, there’s been a stir around new changes at Dropbox, the popular file-hosting service. The concern centers around a default setting that allows Dropbox to share user data with OpenAI, a leading artificial intelligence (AI) company. This setting is linked to a new AI-driven search feature that Dropbox has introduced.

The main issue is that Dropbox activated this data-sharing option without clearly notifying users or getting their explicit consent. Dropbox has since clarified that the data shared with OpenAI is not used for training their AI models and is deleted after 30 days. However, several users found this setting on their own and raised alarms about potential privacy violations and a lack of transparency.

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In response to these concerns, Dropbox’s CEO, Drew Houston, stated that they do not automatically send customer data to any third-party AI services. However, this contradicts the presence of a ‘Third-Party AI’ option in the account settings, which many users found already enabled by default. This setting allows the sharing of certain usage data, possibly without the user’s knowledge.

In July, Dropbox launched Dash, a cutting-edge tool powered by AI. Dash enables searches across various platforms like Google Workspace and Microsoft Outlook. This has led to speculation about potential collaborations between these companies for service improvement based on shared data.

For reassurance, it appears that OpenAI is currently the only third-party partner actively collaborating with Dropbox. While OpenAI is advancing language-based AI technologies, they commit to ethical standards and promise not to misuse the data for training purposes.

Dropbox has also outlined how it uses third-party AI support. Only specific user prompts are shared with partners, enabling them to use AI to provide accurate responses or transcriptions more quickly.

Dropbox offers a solution for users concerned about data privacy. Users can easily disable the ‘Third-party AI’ setting in their account settings. This will stop any future data sharing with third-party platforms unless the user chooses to re-enable it later.

Dropbox Is Sharing Your Files With OpenAI (Video)

"Amateurs hack systems, professionals hack people."
-- Bruce Schneier, a renown computer security professional
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