There are so many updates in so little time, but they are necessary ones, for sure. One of our team members, Mohamed Kassem, noticed this tweet by WetterSchneider, in which the Twitterati, or now the Xrati, highlighted a policy update from Adobe.

The update read:

Clarified that we may access your content through both automated and manual methods, such as for content review.

Adobe received outrage from it because some engaged users have NDAs signed with brands. Adobe accessing such information is a violation of their privacy. The users immediately rejected the recent update. And the rejection became viral more than the update itself.

Soon, the smoke reached Adobe headquarters, too, and the brand issued a blog post clarifying the whole issue.

“We’ve heard your concerns about our recent Terms of Use re-acceptance rollout and are committed to addressing and clarifying them. Read our latest article here to learn about the changes we are making to ensure our Terms are clear and reflective of our commitment to our customers and communities.”

The updated terms of use fiasco were based on the phrase ‘Adobe may access content.’ Adobe addressed this issue by mentioning the circumstances in which it accesses content and why.

When does Adobe access user content, and why

When Adobe applications and services need to perform functions, such as opening and editing files for the user or previewing for sharing or creating thumbnails.

Adobe’s innovative features include Remove Background, Liquid Mode, and Neural Filters in Photoshop. However, users can control how their content may be used:

Adobe uses technologies and other processes to screen certain types of illegal content, child sexual abuse material, phishing, spam, and other abusive content stored and processed on Adobe servers.

Along with these lines, Adobe clarified the following points as well:

  • Users own their content
  • Adobe doesn’t train generative AI on customer content
  • Users have a choice not to participate in Adobe’s product improvement program.
  • Adobe does not scan locally stored content on your computer.

Sarmad Shafique, Content Marketer at Computan, feels that Adobe is not alone in this practice. Many companies are also doing it. "Adobe is no stranger to harvesting user data to enhance their machine learning capabilities. They faced significant backlash last year when they launched their generative AI technologies, which were trained on user data. At that time, platforms like DeviantArt offered users the option to opt out of providing their artworks for machine learning, but Adobe did not provide such an option." He also feels that if a user is paying for a product or a service, he/she expects a certain level of data privacy. "Adobe is a paid service that charges its customers the full amount yet fails to make user privacy its top concern. This discrepancy is troubling, as paying customers expect a higher standard of privacy protection. As the AI boom continues, we can expect more controversies like this one, highlighting the need for companies to prioritize user privacy and transparency."

Mahlaka Bint Shahzad, Graphic Designer, Computan was not surprised at all about the news. "Prior to this Terms Of Use update, Adobe was already performing these actions. As far as I can tell, the license permission is new to the Terms Of Use. Adobe had been doing all of this without explicit user permission for years. What changed? Was it just the explanation/description?"