Italy blocks AI chatbot ChatGPT over data privacy failings
The Italian authority imposed a “temporary limitation of the processing of Italian user data” by OpenAI and said it had launched an investigation.
As well as a lack of legal basis for data collection, the authority also highlighted a lack of clarity over whose data was being collected.
It said wrong answers given by the chatbot suggested data was not being handled properly, and accused the firm of exposing children to “absolutely unsuitable answers”.
The watchdog further referenced a data breach on Mar 20 where user conversations and payment information were compromised – a problem the firm blamed on a bug.
Nello Cristianini, an AI academic from Bath university in Britain, said securing user data and enforcing age limits were easy to fix.
But the other two accusations were more problematic – that the model is trained on personal data that is gathered without consent and then not treated properly.
“It is not clear how these can be fixed anytime soon,” he said.
The company has been given 20 days to respond and could face a fine of 20 million euros (US$21.7 million) or up to 4 per cent of annual revenue.
The runaway success of ChatGPT garnered OpenAI a multibillion-dollar deal with Microsoft, which uses the technology in its Bing search engine and other programs.
It also sparked a gold rush among other tech firms and venture capitalists, with Google rushing out its own chatbot and investors pouring cash into all manner of AI projects.