ChatGPT has been banned in Italy due to privacy concerns

Technology

Italy has become the first Western country to block the advanced chatbot ChatGPT

which was developed by US start-up OpenAI and supported by Microsoft. The Italian data-protection authority raised privacy concerns regarding the model, leading to an immediate ban and investigation of OpenAI. OpenAI stated its compliance with privacy laws in response to the regulator’s actions. Since its launch in November 2022, millions of users have engaged with ChatGPT. The chatbot can respond to queries using natural, human-like language and replicate various writing styles based on the internet data available up until 2021.Microsoft has made substantial investments in ChatGPT, integrating it into Bing last month, and plans to incorporate a version of the technology into its Office applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Concerns have been raised about the potential risks associated with artificial intelligence (AI), including its impact on employment, the spread of misinformation, and bias. Influential figures in the tech industry, including Elon Musk, recently called for the suspension of such AI systems, citing concerns over the perceived lack of control in their development.

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, the Italian data protection authority announced that it would not only block OpenAI’s chatbot but also initiate an investigation into the company’s compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR governs the appropriate use, processing, and storage of personal data. On 20 March, the watchdog revealed that the chatbot had experienced a data breach involving user conversations and payment information. It stated that there was no legal basis to justify the extensive collection and storage of personal data for training the underlying algorithms of the platform. The authority further highlighted concerns about the exposure of minors to inappropriate responses, given the lack of age verification measures. In response to similar concerns, Google’s rival AI chatbot, Bard, is now accessible only to users aged 18 and above. OpenAI has been given a 20-day period to address the watchdog’s concerns, failing which it could face a fine of up to €20 million ($21.7 million) or up to 4% of its annual revenues. The Irish data protection commission expressed its intent to coordinate with all EU data protection authorities regarding the ban and investigate the basis for the Italian regulator’s action. The UK’s independent data regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office, stated its support for AI advancements while emphasizing the importance of challenging non-compliance with data protection laws Cybersecurity ratings provider Security Scorecard’s Dan Morgan highlighted the significance of regulatory compliance for companies operating in Europe, emphasizing that the protection of personal data and adherence to stringent data protection regulations are not optional but essential.

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