In the last few weeks, some hawk-eyed Adobe users grew outraged when they noticed a new setting appeared in their accounts’ privacy and personal data section. This new setting, known as content analysis, automatically allows “[user] content to be analyzed by Adobe for product improvement and development purposes.” This means video, audio, images, text, and other user-created documents can be fed into machine learning to develop Adobe AI tools.
It’s unclear how long this default setting has been in place, but it was first noticed a couple of weeks ago thanks to users like FlorianMoncomble on Reddit, who posted about it and made the situation more well-known.
adobe_added_a_on_by_default_content_analysis_of from r/photoshop
The setting in the privacy and personal data section of Adobe accounts reads, “Adobe may analyze your content using techniques such as machine learning (e.g., for pattern recognition) to develop and improve our products and services. If you prefer that Adobe not analyze your files to develop and improve our products and services, you can opt out of content analysis at any time. This setting does not apply in certain limited circumstances.”
Adobe has a lengthy content analysis FAQ (opens in new tab) page to try and explain more about this setting. Through this, we know that “Adobe performs content analysis only on content processed or stored on Adobe’s servers” but doesn’t analyze work stored locally on user devices. So basically, anything stored in the cloud is fair game, which makes sense since your basically sending your work to be hosted on someone else’s computer.
While there’s a lot of additional information on this FAQ page, it’s honestly very vague. That’s especially true when you try to figure out exactly how Adobe uses the data analysis of your work. Content analysis wouldn’t be such a bad thing if users could opt into it, but the problem is that this setting is on by default, and millions of Adobe users are contributing unwittingly. In other words, any work you have created and sent to the cloud since this setting went up could have already been analyzed to develop and improve Adobe’s products.
I have nothing against the idea of content analysis within Adobe, but how the software company has implemented this setting is egregious and feels shady. In a time where artists’ creations so often get used without permission online, and AI generators are causing moral dilemmas, it’s a major “screw you” from Adobe to have user content automatically opted into content analysis without giving users notice or initial say in the matter—especially coming from a company that should understand the privacy rights of artists everywhere.
If you haven’t already, I highly suggest going into your Adobe account privacy settings and toggling content analysis off. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Not to mention, allowing Adobe to get away with this behavior is not good.