On April 3, 2023, Italy’s data protection watchdog banned OpenAI’s famous AI chatbot, ChatGPT, due to alleged privacy violations.
The ban was raised after authorities issued a flag over mass data gathering protocol, and ChatGPT has been temporarily blocked in Italy amid concerns that the artificial intelligence tool violated the country’s policies on data collection.
So, what are the key points to know about this ChatGPT ban in Italy? And what are the implications for businesses operating in Europe?
Let’s dive deeper and explore.
ChatGPT Ban in Italy Over Privacy Issues and Lack of Age-Verification System
Italy’s data protection watchdog has banned OpenAI’s ChatGPT due to alleged violations of privacy and a lack of an age-verification system.
The ban was raised after concerns were raised over the mass data gathering protocol and a breach that revealed users’ chats and payment information.
The Italian watchdog claims that ChatGPT lacks legal justification for collecting and storing users’ personal data.
OpenAI has 20 days to respond to the watchdog’s concerns or face a fine of €20 million.
The ban showcases the importance of regulatory compliance for businesses operating in Europe. ChatGPT has already been banned in several other countries.
Why did Italy ban OpenAI’s ChatGPT?
ChatGPT was released back in November 2022 and has been unstoppable since then, with its ability to generate content in a human-like tone, write codes, and explain complex queries into simple sentences within a few seconds impressing users around the world.
However, ChatGPT was highly criticized by the Italian data regulator due to its inability to provide information to ChatPT users whose data was being accumulated and stored by OpenAI.
The Italian data protection watchdog stated that ChatGPT lacked legal justification for collecting and storing users’ personal data to train algorithms underlying the process of the AI system.
A breach was also reported on 20th March, revealing users’ chats along with their payment information.
Furthermore, it was also noticed that the AI chatbot machine is intended for users who are more than 13 years old, but no filter was established in the AI chatbot to perform age verification on users and expose minors to responses not following their level of growth.
The Italian watchdog stated it would not only block the usage of OpenAI’s ChatGPT but also investigate whether it relented with General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), which control the way through which we can utilize, process, and store personal data.
Due to the same concerns, ChatGPT’s rival Google’s Bard, another AI chatbot, has restricted the availability of their chat service to users over 18.
Many tech leaders, including Elon Musk, have asked for a pause on AI chat service development and remarked ChatGPT is a “Profound threat to humanity and society”.
OpenAI has been asked to communicate with the Italian data protection authority within 20 days, undertake measures to resolve this situation, or pay a fine of €20 million ($21.7m) or about 4% of its annual turnover worldwide.
What are the implications for businesses operating in Europe?
The ban showcases the importance of regulatory compliance for businesses operating in Europe.
Companies must prioritize their personal data and comply with stringent data protection rules and regulations set by the EU. Compliance with regularity is not an optional extra.
Cybersecurity ratings provider Security Scorecard, Dan Morgan, stated that the ban should be applied, as it shows the importance of regulatory compliance for businesses operating in Europe.
The deputy director-general of BEUC, Ursula Pachl, has raised her concern and warned society, saying that it is “Currently not protected enough from the harm” that can be caused due to AI.
The troubles are growing due to ChatGPT and other AI chatbots that might mislead and influence people. AI systems like ChatGPT require public scrutiny along with authorities to reassert the command.
Due to privacy concerns, Italy has become the first country to ban OpenAI popular chatbot ChatGPT. Apart from Italy, ChatGPT has already been banned in several countries such as Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea.
It is crucial to comply with data protection rules and regulations set by the EU and prioritize personal data.
Companies must be aware of the potential harm AI can cause and ensure they are not violating any regulations. In the end, ChatGPT’s