February 24, 2024

ChatGPT Under Fire For Violating Privacy Laws In Italy

On Monday, Italy’s Data Protection Authority (DPA) found that OpenAI’s AI-driven chatbot ChatGPT has been violating European data privacy laws.

The incident came to light when a “fact-finding activity” found new evidence. This activity was launched by the DPA when ChatGPT was first introduced in Europe.

If found guilty, the company might be liable to pay up to €20 million in fines or 4% of their annual global turnover.

According to the latest statement released by the authorities, it’s confirmed that this new evidence points to a breach of the terms mentioned in the EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

While the exact details are still unknown, it seems that the violation was regarding the collection of bulk personal user data for training purposes.

Also, the authorities are worried that the rapid growth of ChatGPT exposes the younger generation to a greater risk of coming across inappropriate content generated by AI. OpenAI has been given 30 days to respond with a defense.

The DPA could also impose restrictions on its operations in Europe which would change how the company collects and uses data to train its AI bots. If the company does not comply with the restrictions imposed, it might have to pull out its services from the EU Member States.

ChatGPT’s History With Italy & Europe

This isn’t the first time that ChatGPT has gotten in trouble. In March 2023, Italy was the first Western country to ban ChatGPT owing to privacy concerns.

The ban was authorized by Italian watchdog Garante the European Union’s primary agency in testing AI platform compliance with the bloc’s data privacy regime.

The platform was reinstated 4 weeks later after it successfully clarified all the issues raised by the DPA. Despite being welcomed back, the regulators continued to have doubts about the platform.

In April 2023, the DPA along with the European Union’s European Data Protection Board set up a special task force for monitoring the activities of the company.

While the new privacy measures taken by ChatGPT were appreciated, the regulators want even more compliance and cooperation from the company.

Explaining the details, one of the spokesmen from the agency said that they want an age verification system to protect minors and an option to opt out of sharing their data for training purposes for all users.

An informative campaign was also expected to be launched that would explain to the Italians what exactly happened.

We believe our practices align with GDPR and other privacy laws, and we take additional steps to protect people’s data and privacy. We want our AI to learn about the world, not about private individuals.OpenAI

The company also assured that they are actively trying to reduce the usage of personal data in AI training and have trained systems like ChatGPT to reject requests for the private information of users from other third parties. For now, they plan to work with the Garante to find a common solution.

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