Title: Use of AI Tools in Secret Raises Legal Concerns: Employers Advised to Take Action
A recent survey revealed that a significant number of employees, nearly 70%, have concealed their use of ChatGPT and similar generative AI tools from their employers. These employees have taken advantage of these tools either to gain a competitive edge over their colleagues or to save time, all while their employers remain unaware of their usage. From a risk management perspective, this poses alarming implications, and businesses are encouraged to adopt proactive strategies to address the potential repercussions.
Employees may discretely employ ChatGPT to summarize board papers, reformat meeting minutes, or create content without their employers’ knowledge. While this may seem like an efficient and harmless application of new technology to employees, it actually exposes businesses to a variety of legal risks, including:
– Intellectual property infringement: Employees may unknowingly use AI-generated content without proper attribution, potentially violating copyright laws or proprietary rights.
– Data security breaches: The use of generative AI tools could result in the processing of sensitive or confidential information. If this data is not adequately protected, it may lead to privacy breaches and legal consequences.
– Malicious intent: Employees utilizing AI tools secretly may exploit them for malicious purposes, such as spreading misleading information, defaming individuals, or engaging in other harmful activities that can result in legal liabilities.
Considering the emerging nature of this risk management area, businesses should take the initiative to assess their exposure and potential legal vulnerabilities. One proposed approach is for employers to issue a directive requiring all employees to voluntarily disclose their use of ChatGPT or other generative AI tools within their roles. This enables employees to explain their usage, and in appropriate cases, employers can offer amnesty to those who voluntarily disclose during this period. Such a measure would aid in evaluating the company’s exposure levels and facilitate effective risk management.
Following the conclusion of the voluntary disclosure period, companies may opt to conduct an IT investigation to identify any undisclosed usage. If unauthorized usage is discovered, the relevant employees and applications can be subject to further scrutiny, potentially leading to disciplinary action.
To aid businesses in this review process and analyze their specific employment risks, Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers offer their assistance.
All organizations should carefully consider their approach to generative AI and other emerging technologies. It is crucial to maintain transparency with employees regarding the company’s expectations and policies concerning the use of these innovative tools.
Undoubtedly, individuals will always seek more efficient methods to accomplish their work, which can translate to benefits for both the company’s performance and employee engagement. However, it is essential to strike a balance between these benefits and the associated legal risks that come with incorporating generative AI tools in the workplace.
In conclusion, it is imperative for employers to address the issue of employees secretly utilizing generative AI tools. By taking prompt and preventative action, businesses can minimize legal risks, safeguard intellectual property, protect data security, and maintain a transparent working environment that upholds legal compliance.