Your Privacy and AI Tools

Video credit: Jumping On The AI Self-Portrait Trend? Here’s What Cyber Security Experts Are Warning. – posted by NBC News on YouTube



Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools have been developing rapidly over the last decade. AI is now applied in different industries, from e-commerce to healthcare, robotics to education. The emergence of publicly available Generative AI (GenAI) tools in 2022 has further accelerated the development of AI applications in business and daily life. In November 2022, Open AI released ChatGPT, a chatbot that uses Large Language Models (LLM) to generate text based on prompts inputted by the user. In December 2022, social media platforms were flooded with AI-generated self-portraits made by Lensa, an AI photo and video editing app that relies on a deep learning model called Stable Diffusion. These new technologies have changed the way people work and interact, but they also raise privacy concerns. 

One major privacy concern regarding the use of GenAI tools is how data is used after being inputted into these tools. Often, users forget how much privacy and security they are giving up when signing up to use an online service. This also applies to using GenAI tools. Just like when opening a bank account, users have to share a lot of personal information when using Gen AI tools. For example, a user’s phone number and email address may be required when setting up an account on these tools. Some AI providers may claim ownership or usage rights over the data users input, such as text and images, for research, advertising, or even training purposes for future AI models. This means any data you input, whether photos of yourself or your friends or snippets of your research paper, may be stored and used by AI providers. Therefore, as users, it is crucial to understand how the information shared with GenAI tool providers is stored and used.


Think before you ink

The following advice from WIRED can help you consider privacy issues while you use Gen AI tools.

  • Always check the privacy policy page before use – You should make sure the data shared with these tools are used and stored in a way that aligns with your expectations. 
  • Watch What You Share – You should be careful not to share any personal or sensitive information with GenAI tools. Even though some GenAI providers may not use your input to refine their products, your data is still subject to data breaches if hackers target these tools. 
  • Change the Settings – Even when you are okay with the privacy policy, you should avoid oversharing. Remember to explore the privacy and security controls you get inside your AI tools of choice. This helps protect yourself if there are data breaches. 

Another piece of advice you may consider is not using GenAI tools if you feel uncomfortable sharing your data with them; whether or not to use GenAI is always your personal choice.



The Digital Tattoo Project encourages critical discussion on topics surrounding digital citizenship and online identity. There are no correct answers and every person will view these topics from a different perspective. Be sure to complete the previous sections before answering the one or both questions below.

  • Do you use GenAI? What are some steps that you can take to protect your privacy when using AI tools? 
  • What types of data would you be comfortable inputting into a Gen AI tool? What types of inputs would you avoid sharing if you knew it could be stored, used, and shared?

Leave a Reply