Peloton accused of providing customer chat data to train AI

It seems that Peloton may have been providing more training than just for its customers, as it’s set to face court in California accused of using user chat data to train AI.

Peloton Interactive, Inc. is a US-based exercise equipment and media company, known for its stationary bicycles, treadmills, and indoor rowers equipped with internet-connected touch screens that stream live and on-demand fitness classes through a subscription service.

In June 2023, legal firm Consumer Advocates filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that AI-powered marketing firm Drift processed chat data between Peloton users and company representatives without permission.

The suit accuses Peloton of violating the anti-wiretapping California Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA), and although the accusation names Drift, the lawsuit is only against Peloton.

The user data comes from the chat function on Peloton’s website which allows current and would-be customers to ask questions. The complaint claims that users were not made aware of the fact that Drift was recording and analyzing their chat content.

Despite Peloton’s attempts to get the case thrown out, the court allowed it to go forward, albeit with some restrictions. The issue at hand is whether or not Peloton sought the affected users’ permission before conveying their information to Drift. Although Peloton has the right to go through the chat content as it is a part of the conversation, the real problem is the passing of this information to Drift.

Drift, which was bought by Salesloft in February, is a platform that focuses on personalizing conversations at every stage of the buyer’s journey, and as such offers conversational AI for customer service and marketing.

The accusation says that website chat users were not notified that the content of the chat was automatically captured by Drift to be stored and analyzed. It is now up to the court to determine if the Peloton customers had sufficient information on how their data would be handled and whether they had the ability to agree or disagree.

With recent protests against Meta, Google, and Adobe among others, about using user’s input as training data for AI, Peloton can expect to face negative effects even if the court decides in its favor.

Either way, customers should be careful about the data they provide to chatbots.

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