Italy has issued a temporary ban against ChatGPT amid growing concerns over the popular artificial intelligence chatbot’s data privacy practices.
So far, an investigation had been launched by The Italian Data Protection Authority, also known as Garante, over a possible breach of privacy rules – during which the platform will be limited from processing the data of Italian users.
A statement from Garante disclosed that the ban is a temporary measure set until privacy is attained.
“There appears to be no legal basis underpinning the massive collection and processing of personal data to ‘train’ the algorithms on which the platform relies,” it said.
Furthermore, Garante also implied unintelligible transparency surrounding the data collection, referring to a “lack of a notice to users and to all those involved whose data is gathered by OpenAI.”
The ban, effective as of last Friday, temporarily limits ChatGPT from processing Italian users’ data.
Garante scrutinize chatGPT
Garante, the privacy watchdog seemed to further scrutinize the AI tool’s propensity for inaccurate chat responses, revealing that “the information made available by ChatGPT does not always match factual circumstances”, before finally pointing to a “lack of age verification” which could potentially expose children using ChatGPT to receive responses “inappropriate to their age and awareness”.
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Message from chat
The message read, “We regret to inform you that we have disabled ChatGPT for users in Italy at the request of the Italian Garante.”
“We are committed to protecting people’s privacy and we believe we offer ChatGPT in compliance with GDPR and other privacy laws. We will engage with the Garante to restore your access as soon as possible.”
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said the company would comply with the ban order but expressed disagreement that it had broken suggested privacy laws.
“We of course defer to the Italian government and have ceased offering ChatGPT in Italy (though we think we are following all privacy laws),” said Altman.
In its statement, Garante also made mention of the recent ChatGPT data breach which exposed limited chat history, personal details, and payment information from users.
Following Italy’s ban order, OpenAI has announced it would issue refunds to all users in Italy who purchased a ChatGPT Plus subscription in March.
The Italian watchdog has allocated a 20-day timeframe for OpenAI to report what measures it has taken to ensure the privacy of users’ data or potentially face a fine of up to either $32.4 million (20 million euros) or 4 percent of annual global revenue.
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