Privacy Concerns and Risks with Slack's AI and ML Training

In today’s digital workplace, privacy concerns are paramount, especially when using communication tools like Slack for sharing sensitive information. Recently, Slack has been integrating advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies to boost user experience and functionality. While these advancements bring substantial benefits, they also introduce potential privacy risks that users need to be aware of.

Privacy Concerns:

Slack’s AI and ML systems are trained using data from user interactions. This means that the messages, files, and other data shared within your Slack workspace could potentially be utilized to improve these AI and ML models. Although Slack has implemented stringent security measures, the following risks should be considered:

  • Data Exposure: Sensitive or confidential information shared on Slack could be accessed and used in ways not intended by your organization.
  • Data Retention: Slack may retain data for extended periods to train their models, leading to concerns about data lifecycle management.
  • Model Training: The global model training process may inadvertently expose your data to third-party entities or across different regions, which could be outside your data residency requirements.

Recommended Actions:

To mitigate these risks and ensure the privacy and security of your data, we recommend the following actions:

  1. Review Slack’s Privacy Principles: Understand how your data is being used and what measures Slack has in place to protect your data.
  2. Opt-out: Contact Slack to exclude your Customer Data from Slack global models as described in their privacy principles.
  3. Adjust Data Sharing Practices: Be cautious about sharing sensitive or confidential information through Slack. Consider using more secure methods for transmitting such data.
  4. Use Slack’s Security Features: Utilize available security settings within Slack to enhance data protection, such as data encryption and access controls.
  5. Utilize Alternative Solutions: For highly sensitive communications, consider using secure communication tools that offer more stringent data privacy assurances. For our clients, we also encourage you to use the features (Secure Paste, Wiki, File Uploads, Documents) inside your secure Redmine environment to share sensitive information. Note: Google Chat is not e2e and Microsoft Teams is e2e (Premium).

We understand that this information might be concerning. We are here to support you in navigating these challenges. We can also help you deploy private solutions such as Discourse or Mattermost to provide collaborative environments that are more productive than Slack and protective of your privacy.

Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or for further assistance in implementing best practices for data security.