ChatGPT Blocked in Italy Over Data Protection Concerns

Kamso Oguejiofor-Abugu Kamso Oguejiofor-Abugu Writer

Advanced chatbot ChatGPT, created by OpenAI and backed by Microsoft, has been banned in Italy over privacy concerns. The Italian data protection authority suspects OpenAI of breaching the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and said it would ban and investigate OpenAI “with immediate effect”.

The watchdog alleged that the app had experienced a data breach involving user conversations and payment information and that the app “exposes minors to absolutely unsuitable answers compared to their degree of development and awareness.” OpenAI stated that it had disabled the chatbot for users in Italy at the request of the Italian data protection regulator, called the Garante.

The ban highlights growing concern over AI’s potential risks, including threats to privacy, job displacement, and the spreading of misinformation and bias. Consumer advocacy group BEUC has called for EU and national authorities to investigate ChatGPT and similar chatbots due to the lack of regulation and potential privacy issues.

“There are serious concerns growing about how ChatGPT and similar chatbots might deceive and manipulate people. These AI systems need greater public scrutiny, and public authorities must reassert control over them,” said Ursula Pachl, deputy director general of BEUC.

OpenAI maintains that it complies with privacy laws and regulations. It also claims to reduce personal data in training AI systems like ChatGPT because it wants its AI systems to “learn about the world, not about private individuals.” Despite the ban, OpenAI is committed to working with the Garante to address their concerns and looks forward to enabling ChatGPT in Italy again soon.

The ban follows Elon Musk and other tech leaders calling for a suspension of these types of AI systems, which are referred to as large language models (LLM). The Future of Life Institute also issued a letter signed by over 1,000 people warning that “AI systems with human-competitive intelligence can pose profound risks to society and humanity.”

OpenAI has released a new and improved version of the tech behind ChatGPT, called GPT-4, which already powers Microsoft’s Bing search engine and is being integrated into Office apps like Excel and Outlook.

About the Author

About the Author

Kamso Oguejiofor is a former Content Writer at SafetyDetectives. He has over 2 years of experience writing and editing topics about cybersecurity, network security, fintech, and information security. He has also worked as a freelance writer for tech, health, beauty, fitness, and gaming publications, and he has experience in SEO writing, product descriptions/reviews, and news stories. When he’s not studying or writing, he likes to play basketball, work out, and binge watch anime and drama series.

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