Dropbox users may want to rethink using the AI features the service provides since doing so shares your files with OpenAI.
Dropbox is a popular online storage service that has increasingly been bundling AI features. What is not readily apparent is that using those features shares your files with OpenAI for processing.
The revelation was first spotted by developer Greg Wilson on Mastodon:
It appears that Dropbox is sharing all content outside the EU with OpenAI https://help.dropbox.com/view-edit/privacy-settings-dropbox-ai – please contact them to ask how you can opt out (because I can’t find an option to do so in Canada). #Dropbox #MyData
Your files within Dropbox are sent to a third-party AI only when you chose to interact with AI powered features. For example, when you ask a question about a file.
The company says it is currently partnered with OpenAI, meaning your files are sent to that company when AI features are used:
At this time, we’re partnered with one third-party AI partner, OpenAI. Open AI is an artificial intelligence research organization that develops cutting-edge language models and advanced AI technologies. Your data is never used to train their internal models, and is deleted from OpenAI’s servers within 30 days.
Interestingly, because the EU provides greater privacy protections than the US and other parts of the world, the feature is turned off by default in the EU and UK.
The company says users can go to the Settings page to manage access but, just like Wilson, we could not find any way to opt out of sharing files with OpenAI. Even if it was possible, Dropbox says if anyone you have shared files with uses AI features on them, the files will still be sent to OpenAI.
Needless to say, it is hard to recommend a service that sends your files to a third party with no easy way to completely disable the option.