The Italian national data protection authority has issued an order to ban ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence tool developed by OpenAI, due to alleged privacy violations. The regulator will block OpenAI from processing the data of Italian users and launch an investigation. This temporary ban is in place until OpenAI complies with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a significant privacy law.
Concerns surrounding privacy, cybersecurity, and disinformation have led to mounting calls on both sides of the Atlantic to suspend new releases of ChatGPT and investigate its creator, OpenAI. Elon Musk, along with numerous AI experts, recently called for a pause in ChatGPT updates. Consumer advocacy group BEUC also urged EU and national authorities, including data protection watchdogs, to conduct an investigation into ChatGPT on March 30.
The Italian authority highlighted that OpenAI lacks a legal basis to justify the mass collection and storage of personal data for training the algorithms of ChatGPT. Additionally, it stated that the company processes data inaccurately.
Reveals Data Breach and Raises Concerns over ChatGPT Compliance
According to the Italian data protection authority, ChatGPT experienced a data breach last week, resulting in the exposure of user conversations and payment information. The authority further stated that OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, fails to verify the age of its users and exposes minors to answers that are deemed highly inappropriate considering their level of development and self-awareness.
Although OpenAI does not have a physical presence in the European Union (EU), its representative in the European Economic Area has been given a 20-day deadline to outline their plan for bringing ChatGPT in line with EU privacy regulations. Failure to comply may result in a penalty of up to 4 percent of OpenAI’s global revenue.
In response to the Italian regulator’s order, OpenAI has disabled access to ChatGPT in Italy. However, a spokesperson for the company expressed disagreement with the findings, stating that they believe they are compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other privacy laws.
OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman, deferred to “the Italian government” on the matter via Twitter and expressed his appreciation for Italy as a country, noting his anticipation of visiting again in the future.
Italian authorities have temporarily banned OpenAI’s ChatGPT, alleging privacy violations, GDPR non-compliance, a recent data breach, and exposure of minors to inappropriate content. OpenAI must address these concerns within 20 days to avoid penalties. The company disputes the findings but has disabled ChatGPT access in Italy.