Google Accused in Lawsuit of Stealing Americans’ Information to Fuel AI Initiatives

The company is accused of undertaking “illegal and invasive data scraping practices”

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Google is being sued for utilizing copyrighted material and personal information as training fodder for its AI endeavors, including the company’s ChatGPT rival Bard.

The proposed class-action lawsuit’s plaintiffs seek Google’s “cessation of tracking practices in violation of state law, and destruction of all personal data obtained in violation of state law,” as well as nominal and punitive damages. The amount of said damages is set “to be determined at trial.” The plaintiffs are backed by Clarkson Law Firm.

“Defendants stole the contents of the internet,” according to the suit, which cited personal data and medical information as examples of thieved content. “At no point did Defendants have individuals’ consent to take/scrape this information in order to train their AI Products.”

The suit also highlights that Google’s widespread information gathering includes children’s data, which presents a problem because the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act demands that businesses must be willing to delete data they have on children 13 and under if parental consent is not provided. But the suit says that because Bard and other generative AI tools cannot “unlearn” the data they’ve read, Google cannot comply with COPPA in this regard.

For its part, Google denies wrongdoing.

“We’ve been clear for years that we use data from public sources — like information published to the open web and public datasets– to train the AI models behind services like Google Translate, responsibly and in line with our AI Principles,” Google general counsel Halimah DeLaine Prado said. “American law supports using public information to create new beneficial uses, and we look forward to refuting these baseless claims.”

Clarkson Law Firm pointed to its press release on the suit when asked for comment by TheWrap.

“All of the stolen information belonged to real people who shared it online for specific purposes, not one of which was to train large language models to profit Google while putting the world at peril with untested and volatile AI products,” said Timothy K. Giordano, partner at Clarkson Law.

OpenAI is facing a similar lawsuit, accused of illegal usage of data for AI training. The plaintiffs of that suit include comedian Sarah Silverman as well as novelists Christopher Golden and Richard Kadrey.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.