HomeWinBuzzer NewsOpenAI's Popular ChatGPT Chatbot Blocked in Italy as Privacy Concerns Increase

OpenAI’s Popular ChatGPT Chatbot Blocked in Italy as Privacy Concerns Increase

OpenAI has been ordered to stop offering ChatGPT and delete customer data in Italy or face a fine from the Italian Data Protection Authority.


The Italian Data Protection Authority has ordered , the AI research firm that has close ties to , to stop offering its ChatGPT chatbot in Italy. According to the regulator, AI poses a serious risk to the privacy and security of users' personal data.

is a system that can interact with users in natural language. It is based on a large-scale language model called GPT-4, which was trained on billions of text strands from the internet. ChatGPT can answer follow-up questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests. It can also generate creative content such as stories, poems, jokes, and images.

Microsoft has gone big on , leveraging its multi-billion-dollar partnership with OpenAI. The language model underpins the company's Bing Chat AI search and its multimodal capabilities also power the new Bing Image Creator. Furthermore, Microsoft has brought deep GPT-4 integrations to Azure OpenAI Service and the new Microsoft 365 Copilot across Office apps.

Other companies too are embracing GPT-4, such as Slack and Spotify. Rival has a similar AI model known as Bard, which launched in preview in the United States last week.

Italian Authorities Have ChatGPT Concerns

In its decisions, the data regulator argues ChatGPT does not comply with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which requires data controllers to inform users about how their data is processed and to obtain their consent. The regulator claims that ChatGPT does not provide clear and transparent information about the purpose, scope, and consequences of its data processing.

Users have complained to the watchdog about the AI, alleging it has collected and stored sensitive personal data such as names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, health conditions, sexual preferences, political opinions, and religious beliefs. The IDPA said that some of these data were disclosed to third parties without users' consent or knowledge.

Furthermore, the Data Protection Authority adds that ChatGPT can generate inappropriate or harmful content that violated users' dignity, rights, and freedoms. For example, it said that ChatGPT had produced racist, sexist, homophobic, violent, or suicidal messages. It also said that ChatGPT had impersonated real people or entities without their authorization or consent.

Amid these allegations and privacy concerns, the authority has told OpenAI is must pause ChatGPT in Italy within 15 days. Moreover, the org must also delete all personal information of Italian users within 30 days. Failure to comply with these orders could result in Italian authorities handing OpenAI a 20 million euros fine or 4% of its annual turnover.

Growing Pushback Against AI Could Halt Development

While many have looked at GPT-4 and services like ChatGPT and Bing Chat with wonder, there are growing concerns about the rapid development of AI. Microsoft and OpenAI have essentially mainstreamed artificial intelligence over the last two months and many think progress is happening too quickly.

This week, Elon Musk led a group of tech experts – including co-founder Steve Wozniak – in sending an open letter that calls for ceasing of AI development.

The open letter comes from the FutureOfLife initiative, a project that wants to place more controls on AI development over concerns about the emergence of artificial general intelligence (AGI). They want tech companies to agree to pause the development of AI more powerful than OpenAI's GPT-4 for at least six months.

“AI systems with human-competitive intelligence can pose profound risks to society and humanity, as shown by extensive research and acknowledged by top AI labs. As stated in the widely-endorsed Asilomar AI Principles, Advanced AI could represent a profound change in the history of life on Earth, and should be planned for and managed with commensurate care and resources,” the letter reads.

“Unfortunately, this level of planning and management is not happening, even though recent months have seen AI labs locked in an out-of-control race to develop and deploy ever more powerful digital minds that no one – not even their creators – can understand, predict, or reliably control.”

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Last Updated on April 27, 2023 10:31 am CEST

Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.

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