ChatGPT banned in Italy over massive privacy concerns

An image of ChatGPT with a banned stamp on it

An image of ChatGPT with a banned stamp on it

Italy has banned OpenAI’s infamous artificial intelligence service ChatGPT. As one of the most popular internet tools of all time, the service has come under scrutiny by the Italian government.

In a surprise move, Italy become the first western country to implement a ChatGPT ban. Enforced by the Italian Data Protection Authority, the service has been limited over numerous privacy concerns.

The Italian privacy watchdog has enforced a “temporary limitation” on the new AI platform. OpenAI’s Italian ban is expected to last “until ChatGPT respects privacy”.

ChatGPT creator OpenAI has fought against the ban of its online chatbot. The artificial intelligence company has claimed that it is already GDPR compliant and respects legal privacy restrictions.

“We are committed to protecting people’s privacy and we believe we comply with GDPR and other privacy laws,” the AI company said. “We actively work to reduce personal data in training our AI systems like ChatGPT because we want our AI to learn about the world, not about private individuals.”

The Italian Data Protection Authority has pointed issues at the mass database of content used to train OpenAI’s artificial intelligence neural net.

“[There is] no legal basis underpinning the massive collection and processing of personal data in order to ‘train’ the algorithms on which the platform relies,” the watchdog explains. 

Furthermore, the watchdog cited a data breach by OpenAI last month. The data breach released a number of user conversations with the AI service as well as emails, passwords and other personal details.

In order to be reinstated in Italy, OpenAI must report back to the privacy watchdog in 20 days. The report must include information on steps taken to protect user data. If OpenAI doesn’t follow orders, it will have to pay a fine of either €20m (£17.5m) or 4% of annual global revenue.

OpenAI’s ChatGPT ban has only hit the company’s official tool. Off-shoots such as Microsoft’s Bing AI are still allowed to run in Italy without issue. However, they may only be until the Italian data watchdog finds out about them.

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