Italy Bans ChatGPT Over Privacy Violations

Italy’s data protection agency on Friday ordered a ban on ChatGPT over alleged violations of privacy laws.

The Data Protection Authority (GPDP) is accusing OpenAI, the developers of the popular large language model, of “unlawful collection of personal data” and has ordered the firm to immediately stop collecting Italian data until its able to amend its data collection practices.

The ban, however, is only temporary, and will be lifted once OpenAI is deemed to have satisfied the requirements of the European Union’s landmark privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The GPDP also pointed out that while ChatGPT is aimed at users over the age of 13, the lack of age verification filters potentially exposes young people to responses that may be unsuitable for their age. 

The regulator is giving OpenAI’s designated representative in the European Economic Area 20 days to respond to the order and lay down the steps it’s taken to satisfy the requirements or risk fines of up to 20 million euros ($21.8 million) or 4% of its annual global turnover.

In the press release, the GPDP cited that ChatGPT suffered an outage on March 20 that cause a data breach where titles of users’ conversations and “information relating to the payment of subscribers to the paid service” were shown to other users.

OpenAI has downplayed this event, saying that based on their investigation, only “1.2% of ChatGPT Plus users might have had personal data revealed to another user.” In the blog post, the AI firm shared that this “personal data” was “payment-related information of 1.2% of the ChatGPT Plus subscribers who were active during a specific nine-hour window.”

The company said that they notified affected users and that they are “confident that there is no ongoing risk to users’ data.”

The ban in Italy sets a precedent for the rapidly accelerating AI model. OpenAI has yet to comment on the matter as of this writing.

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Information for this briefing was found via GPDP, The Verge, Reuters, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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