HomeWinBuzzer NewsMicrosoft and OpenAI Face Privacy Lawsuit Over AI Data Practices

Microsoft and OpenAI Face Privacy Lawsuit Over AI Data Practices

Lawsuit claims Microsoft and OpenAI's AI development violates privacy by using web scraped data without consent.


A lawsuit has emerged against tech giants Microsoft and its partner, OpenAI, accusing them of violating privacy laws through their AI development practices. A group of thirteen plaintiffs, represented by Morgan and Morgan Complex Litigation Group and Clarkson Law Firm, have presented a legal challenge against the companies. The core of the accusation lies in the alleged training of artificial intelligence models with data scraped from the web, purportedly without securing proper consent from individuals. Moreover, the lawsuit claims continuous harvesting of personal information via API integrations with product offerings.

Details of the Complaint

The legal documents submitted by the plaintiffs argue that OpenAI and Microsoft have utilized personal data extensively in their operations. The complaint details how APIs are allegedly used to gather a wide array of personal information across platforms such as Snapchat, Stripe, Spotify, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and even patient portal MyChart. The plaintiffs suggest such practices expose individuals to the risk of having their information disclosed inadvertently. Microsoft has countered by stating the plaintiffs have not adequately demonstrated any direct harm or specific instances of privacy violation attributed to the company’s actions.

Legal and Public Stakes

The implications of the lawsuit, should the plaintiffs prevail, are significant. They are seeking an injunction that would compel OpenAI and Microsoft to allow individuals the option to remove their data from AI models. OpenAI, in its defense, has labeled the plaintiffs’ theory as legally baseless, arguing that the training of AI with publicly available information, or information provided by users, is a standard industry practice. Clarkson Law Firm’s managing partner Ryan Clarkson emphasized the lawsuit’s broad societal stakes, suggesting that OpenAI’s standpoint could dramatically alter internet use norms, forcing individuals to forgo their privacy simply by using the web.

In the face of these legal battles, the decision of Judge Vince Chhabria will be pivotal in determining whether the privacy claim will proceed. The lawsuit invokes several laws, including the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and the Comprehensive Computer Data Access And Fraud Act, aiming to address and rectify what the plaintiffs see as a massive unauthorized data collection operation critical to the business model of entities like OpenAI.

Ongoing New York Times Court Case

In a landmark case filed in December 2023, The New York Times initiated legal proceedings against OpenAI and Microsoft, alleging unauthorized use of its copyrighted content. The litigation centers on accusations that OpenAI’s ChatGPT and GPT-4 models were trained on articles from The New York Times without proper authorization, a claim bolstered by the news organization’s presentation of 100 instances in support of its argument.

Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.