Several new features rolled out by Dropbox and related to Artificial Intelligence, which are responsible for sending data to OpenAI when used, have caused alarm among the user base from the company, which has come across an option enabled by default that shares data with OpenAI for an experimental search function that is powered by AI.
The news of the presence of this option emerged in the middle of this week on social networks, and spread so quickly that the Dropbox CEO Drew Houston, was forced to take action on the matter quickly. Houston was quick to respond to users who had alerted them to the presence of the option activated by default, to ensure that this data was only shared if the AI search mentioned in the option is actively used.
Third-party AI services are only used when customers actively engage with Dropbox AI features which themselves are clearly labeled (see example screenshot), which is explained in the “Learn more” link in your screenshot: https://t.co/JvOZcBL6FT
— Drew Houston (@drewhouston) December 13, 2023
In addition, Dropbox points out that the data of service users that is shared with external partners that work with AI is not used to train Artificial Intelligence models, and that it is deleted within a maximum period of 30 days. Houston has confirmed both facts, also pointing out that everything related to data privacy at Dropbox in relation to AI is on a question and answer page that the company has prepared in this regard.
On this page you can also read that it is only sent to external partners about the company’s AI «the relevant content about an express request or order to generate a response, summary or transcript«.
Additionally, Houston has apologized for the confusion caused, noting that “The Third Party AI switch in the settings menu turns access to Dropbox AI features and functionality on or off. Neither this nor any other enabled setting passively or automatically sends data from any Dropbox customer to a third-party AI service«.
In accordance with Dropbox’s privacy measures, the third-party AI setup is part of testing Dropbox AI, a conversational interface that explores file content used in conversations with a ChatGPT-like bot using a content-questioning feature. of the file. For this tool to work, Dropbox has implemented a language model similar to the one used by ChatGPT, which requires access to user files.
According to Dropbox, the Third-Party AI switch is on by default if a user or someone on their team participates in the Dropbox AI test. Despite this, several of the company’s clients who were not aware of this test found themselves with the option activated by default when checking whether they had it or not.
The option can be deactivated at willalthough its activation by default has not sat too well with the company’s clients, who For now it only has OpenAI as an external Artificial Intelligence provider.