Italy’s ChatGPT ban
Italy was the first country to conduct an investigation of OpenAI on suspicion that the artificial intelligence (AI) application ChatGPT violated user privacy.
According to Reuters, ChatGPT was disabled in Italy after Garante accused OpenAI of failing to age-check users. Garante said ChatGPT does not have any legal basis to justify the collection and storage of personal data to train the chatbot. The company OpenAI has 20 days to respond with remedial measures, or the company will face a fine of 20 million euros (equivalent to 21.68 million USD) or 4% of annual revenue in this country.
Italian authorities also cite a data breach on March 20, in which a bug allowed some ChatGPT users to view the headers of other users’ chats. Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, called it a “serious problem” in a tweet two days later, adding: “We feel bad about this.”
And while ChatGPT’s terms of service say it’s aimed at people 13 and older, the watchdog points out that there are no checks to guarantee this. They added that this “leads adolescents to receive answers that are completely inappropriate for their level of development and self-perception”. That is the reason for Italy’s ChatGPT ban.
The attitudes of other countries
Privacy regulators in France and Ireland have reached out to counterparts in Italy to find out more about the basis of the ban. Germany could follow in Italy’s footsteps by blocking ChatGPT over data security concerns, the German commissioner for data protection told the Handelsblatt newspaper.
In addition, the regulator has raised concerns about the accuracy of the information this AI chatbot provides.
OpenAI has not responded to regulators over the weekend the source said. Meanwhile, OpenAI has taken ChatGPT offline in Italy on Friday. It did not respond to questions about other European regulators looking into potential violations in their countries.
The Italian investigation into OpenAI was launched after a nine-hour cyber security breach last month led to people being shown excerpts of other users’ ChatGPT conversations and their financial information.
ChatGPT is estimated to have reached 100 million monthly active users by January 2023. The rapid global popularity has made OpenAI’s chatbot the fastest application to acquire new users in history, beating the previous records of Instagram and TikTok.
The explosive growth of AI technology has attracted the attention of lawmakers in several countries. Many experts say that new regulations are needed to regulate AI because of the risks it brings to national security, the education industry, and the job market.
While the Italian regulator has only singled out ChatGPT for its popularity so far, other AI platforms like Google Inc’s Bard (GOOGL.O) could also be suspect, some experts said.