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Privacy Concerns In AI-driven Applications

Regardless of the level of human acceptance, artificial intelligence (AI) has become a core part of many businesses, and efforts to replace or remove it could sabotage workflow. Some everyday business use of AI includes automated customer service, customer behaviour analysis, and workflow enhancement. The constant development of AI has raised the bar between its benefits and disadvantages. It is safe to conclude that putting AI into good use offers businesses more benefits than risks.

What Are AI-Driven Applications

These applications leverage artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to perform specific tasks, make decisions, or enhance user experiences. The applications rely on machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and other AI techniques to analyze data, learn from it, and adapt their behaviour over time. According to the United Nations Human Rights, despite AI becoming a beneficial technology, there is serious concern regarding handling user data.

Concerns Surrounding AI Adoption

AI Data Collection And Privacy

AI-driven applications significantly rely on data to function but depend on personal data collection to provide a well-tailored experience for each user. It makes it an application operating on a rich and attractive database. Personal data such as user preference, location, biometrics, and more are often required for the best experience, making the database a goldmine for any hacker.

Users make mandatory decisions during application installation, while other choices, such as biometric security, are optional. In most cases, users must click on two buttons backing up data collection action: the “Agree” and “Allow” buttons. The former implies a user legally agrees to the application terms and conditions. In contrast, the latter means the user consented to the application having unrestricted access to some resources (camera, microphones, phonebook, SMS, etc.) that enhance the collection of sensitive information, including financial data, personal conversations, and saved documents.

An example is a loan application that accesses users’ contacts and utilizes the information to reach out to people on the contact list when the applicant refuses to pay. Another viable example is the recent development in smart TVs that allows them to watch you just as you are watching them because they have hidden cameras. It increases the question, “What does the app know about me? Are my data secured?”

AI’s Lack Of Transparency

Despite users requesting more transparency in AI algorithms, most still operate as “black boxes,” making it challenging to understand their decisions, mode of handling collected data, and its use. Most users need awareness of why an AI-driven application behaves how it does to help them share only necessary data and assure them that their data won’t be misused. The best they can do is take a wild guess, which often lacks accuracy.

Users consented to data collection and use during application installation, which makes it difficult to hold anyone accountable for data misuse. Standard pop-ups such as “this app would like to access your microphone, and this application would like to access your phonebook” only tell the user what the application would like to do but don’t explain why it needs to do it.

AI Security And Data Breaches

Using a past situation with Facebook as a case study, users fear there is a possibility of their data ending up in a place that jeopardizes their privacy, not because the application got hacked but because the application owners willingly exchanged the data despite having GDPR laws. No one is giving an assurance that such won’t happen.

Just as users need assurance their data won’t get exchanged by application owners, they are also concerned about the application’s security. An application with so much user information is a goldmine for hackers, who won’t stop attempting to infiltrate it. A successful attack can potentially compromise users’ privacy. It raises concerns about the application’s security. How resistant is this app to an attack? If there is a successful attack, are there adequate encryptions to ensure hackers find no use for stolen data?

How To Address AI-Related Concerns

Enhanced Security

Security should always be a top priority for any developer developing AI-driven applications. It is essential to pass the app through several phases of vulnerability test to ensure it is ready to withstand attacks and preserve user data at all times. Because the technology world advances daily, running a routine upgrade and maintenance of the application to address any newly detected vulnerability before threat actors exploit it is vital.

Data Minimization and Security

If the data is not necessary for the application’s functionality, there is no need for its collection. It reduces the burden on app owners regarding data protection and reduces users’ fear of data exposure. Also, the application should not have access to resources it doesn’t need to function to prevent harvesting unnecessary but sensitive data.

As mentioned earlier, we can’t erase the reality of a possible hack. The recent hack on LinkedIn leading to the hijack of an account is an example, but such shouldn’t put users at risk of identity theft or other types of compromise. It emphasizes the importance of data encryption to ensure it is useless in the hands of a threat actor, and the worst they can do is a temporary DDoS attack.

Transparency

Building users’ trust starts with being transparent enough to inform them about data storage, security, and use. With such a high level of transparency, users can engage the application with less fear of data leaks and misuse.

Ethical AI Development and User Control

Train and deploy AI models with fairness, accountability, and transparency to mitigate bias and discrimination. Users should be able to opt out When they don’t feel comfortable with data collection and use anymore. Some applications still run in the background, even after uninstalling them.

Conclusion

Privacy concerns in AI-driven applications are real and pressing. Addressing these issues requires a combination of technological innovations, regulatory frameworks, and responsible development practices. As AI continues to play an increasingly prominent role in our lives, safeguarding privacy becomes paramount to ensure that individuals can benefit from the advantages of AI without sacrificing their data and rights.

 

 

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