AI Transcription Services - what you need to know

LEGAL UPDATE: AI Transcription Services – what you need to know

by | June 15, 2023

The Eternal Struggle: Finding extra time in your day! 

As busy professionals, we all need extra time in our day. Whether we find it by tweaking processes, using new tools, or finding a second set of hands through the use of technology, cutting out unnecessary items and details is essential to keep up. Increasingly, business leaders are looking to the use of meeting transcription services to notate, transcribe, and set the appropriate next steps after their meetings.  

What Does AI Transcription Do? 

AI transcription services provide a note-taking system that assists in recording, transcribing, searching, and analyzing voice conversations. The systems can often integrate with other apps such as Google Meet, Zoom, Teams, and Webex to add a notetaker— the AI, to meetings that are on your calendar. Once there, the AI can capture video and audio of the meeting and generate transcripts. Many AI platforms allow collaboration with teams by adding comments and reactions to conversations, sharing meeting notes across applications such as Slack, and creating soundbites that can track significant moments from your meetings. Some AI services also permit users to measure meeting performance by identifying topic trackers, tracking monologues, and measuring a speaker’s time and cadence.  

How Secure is Secure?  

Capturing voice and video data is new and security issues are frequently arising while many are yet unknown. There are “gray areas” that cause concern, which is its implications to the client-attorney privileged communications. The possible exposure of transcripts to third parties would destroy that privilege and the protections that come along with it. Another area of concern is the confidential nature of some topics discussed in internal company meetings, the exposure of which to third parties may cause both damage to the business and possible legal implications.  

It is important to note that, regardless of consent, transcription information is collected by the AI platform and stores the edits users make to the system. While this process may be advertised as fully anonymous, calendar invites and the names of participants are collected.  

Users should also be aware that no security system is completely impenetrable; as such, no AI platform provider can 100% guarantee the security of their system or the information that they have stored within it. While AI providers are often obligated to inform users of a data breach after it may have occurred, the damage caused by an unpermitted release of information may have already been done by that point. And, frequently, once that information is released, there is no getting it back and there is no telling just how widely it has been shared. 

Additionally, with most generative AI services and platforms, any information that is fed by a user into the AI lives within the AI’s system and can then reappear during subsequent conversations with other, non-affiliated users. The implications of this have yet to be determined but consider, for a moment, what it may mean for your company if confidential information is shared amongst key team members at an internal meeting, using AI transcription services to capture the discussion, and that information is then regurgitated to other third-party users by way of the generative AI services. For certain communications, such as ones privileged by client-attorney confidentiality, this may result in forfeiting the right to that privilege altogether. 

Who Owns the Information?  

We are all certainly guilty of glossing over Terms of Use at times. It may be surprising for users to learn that certain AI services’ Terms of Use indicate that, by using the AI system, any information shared with the AI will no longer be within the user’s exclusive control. Users should expect this as a requirement of many AI services considering that it is a learning-capable system that continually develops through the input of user-provided content. The extent to which users are releasing their information and the privileges they grant to the systems in turn, however, may come as a surprise. Some AI systems explicitly state in their policies that the use of their service, and any information input by way of that use, grants the AI platform provider an unlimited and irrevocable license in that content. This license grants the provider the right to not only use, view, and access the content, but they can also sublicense the content to others, copy and distribute your content, sell, modify, publicly display, and even stream the content you provided.  

Considering AI Usage  

It is without question that AI transcription services can make your meetings and internal processes easier, but it is important to enter into its use with intention and a full understanding of how your data will be used; convenience may come at a risk. These new systems leave many loopholes that could allow confidential information to get into the wrong hands. Ultimately, the question you need to ask is: how much of a risk are you (or your company) willing to take? What information are you willing to have released to others; others that you likely may not even be aware of?  

Before using AI transcription, think about the content of the meeting and consider using AI only in circumstances in which you feel that a data breach would not result in the exposure of confidential information or business details and is unlikely to cause negative implications for you or your business. Lastly, consider that normal communications with your attorney are likely protected by client-attorney privilege. When those communications are exposed to a third party, that privilege will be irrevocably destroyed, exposing the content of those communications, and the participants, to the outside world.  

Are you ready? Contact us to review the implications for your business and make a plan