This week, judges in the United States dismissed privacy lawsuits against vehicle brands for harvesting customer data. In Maine, the state government revealed a cyberattack that affected nearly all its residents. The government of Nepal also banned TikTok, and YouTube announced a new policy for declaring content made using artificial intelligence (AI). Finally, Microsoft rebranded its Bing Chat assistant to Microsoft Copilot.
Here are the highlights in delta, for this week.
#1. YouTube to label AI-generated content
YouTube announced a new policy about artificial intelligence (AI) generated content on its platform. In the next few months, video creators will have to disclose whether they have used AI tools to create content that appears realistic. Otherwise, their accounts may be removed or suspended from earning from ad revenue. Content viewers can also request for AI-generated videos to be taken down if they feature an identifiable person.
This policy aims to tackle the growing issue of deepfake content around sensitive subjects like elections, public health, and ongoing conflicts. Deepfakes are images and videos that are very lifelike, which can be used to mislead others or spread false news. For example, a deepfake video can make a real person appear to say or do something that they did not. This presents significant risks in terms of political and social issues.
YouTube’s announcement follows Meta’s latest policy that requires advertisers to declare if they have used AI to create their ads. TikTok also requires AI content to be clearly labeled, and deepfakes cannot be used on the platform for endorsements of any kind.
#2 .U.S. courts rule in favor of auto manufacturers in privacy claim
Earlier this year, class action lawsuits were made against Honda, Volkswagen, General Motors, and Toyota. The lawsuits claimed that these vehicles collected drivers’ personal data through their built-in infotainment systems. In Honda’s case, the lawsuit claimed that the vehicle’s system kept data even after the drivers disconnected their smartphones. This week, U.S. judges in Washington ruled that this was not a privacy violation.
The judges dismissed all the class action suits against auto makers because they were all “virtually identical” and didn’t meet Washington Privacy Act requirements. Even if the auto makers did store text messages and call logs, no driver experienced any injury to themselves or their reputations because of it.
Following this ruling, the claimants can decide to take their lawsuits to the Supreme Court for further appeal. It is not yet clear if they will do so going forward.
#3. The State of Maine reveals state-wide data breach
This week, a notice was posted on Maine’s official website, which said that its residents were the victims of a ransomware attack. The attack was discovered at the end of May this year. The ransomware notice indicated that the data breach affected 1.3 million Maine residents, which is the estimated number of people in the state based on the 2022 U.S. Census.
Hackers took advantage of a file transfer tool called MOVEit. They infiltrated multiple state agencies and downloaded residents’ data. The type of data itself depended on how each resident had interacted with government agencies. However, it is likely that the hackers got details such as names, dates of birth, social security numbers, and healthcare insurance information.
Maine’s officials shut down the MOVEit software as soon as they detected the breach. There is no clear indication of just how much data was stolen or by whom, although the group called Clop is thought to be behind it. The data is also not yet released for ransom.
#4. Tiktok banned in Nepal
Nepal’s government banned the social media app TikTok for disrupting social harmony and goodwill in the country. The announcement was made by Foreign Minister Narayan Prakash Saud after a Cabinet meeting. The Minister also said that TikTok spread “indecent materials” and that the platform needed to abide by Nepal’s laws.
Earlier reports indicated that the Nepal government believed that TikTok encouraged hate speech, and over 1,600 cases of cybercrime were linked to the platform. This ban is part of the Directives on the Operation of Social Networking 2023 that passed by the Nepal Cabinet this month. The directives include platforms like Facebook, X, YouTube, and Instagram.
It is uncertain what led to the immediate ban of the platform. However, TikTok has attracted the attention of governments around the world, including New Zealand, Britain, and the United States. The main concern is that the Chinese-owned company could potentially harvest and share user data with the Chinese government. TikTok has not yet responded to the news.
#5. Bing chat is now Microsoft Copilot
Microsoft announced that its AI tool, Bing Chat, will henceforth be known as Microsoft Copilot. The rebranded tool will be rolled out officially from December 1, 2023 for all Microsoft 365 applications. However, it is available as a preview on certain Windows 10 and 11 versions. Users can also try Copilot on the Microsoft Edge or Chrome browser through the official site, copilot.microsoft.com. Users will also be able to customize Copilot using OpenAI’s generative pre-trained transformers (GPTs) and plugins in the Microsoft Copilot Studio.
While the rebranding aims to unify the AI offering across all Microsoft products, there has been some confusion from customers. For example, the name may relate to Github Copilot which began in 2021. Microsoft also added the name to various products earlier this year, such as Dynamics 365 Copilot and Microsoft Security Copilot.
Also, observers have noted some similarities and differences between Copilot and ChatGPT. Some note that like ChatGPT, Copilot has a standalone web page. This means that it is no longer tied to the Bing search engine or Windows. Copilot differs from ChatGPT because it is free to use with access to GPT-4. The GPT-4 option is only available for ChatGPT Plus subscribers.
Questions arise about whether Microsoft Copilot will be the same across products or have different features. However, Microsoft indicated that there will be “one copilot experience” across devices and applications.