Italian Privacy Regulator Bans ChatGPT

The creators of AI chatbot ChatGPT, OpenAI, have been accused of “unlawful collection of personal data” by Italy’s national privacy regulator, resulting in an effective ban on the technology. The Data Protection Authority, the GPDP, has ordered OpenAI to immediately cease collecting personal information from Italian users until it amends its data collection practices.

According to a press release issued by the GPDP, the company has failed to provide a lawful justification for collecting users’ personal information. Additionally, the GPDP has criticized OpenAI for not having any measures to prevent minors from accessing the service, which it claims “exposes minors to absolutely unsuitable answers compared to their degree of development and self-awareness” (translation via Google).

Italy’s data watchdog has a track record of taking action against AI chatbots, having previously banned the chatbot app Replika.ai in February. Replika.ai has gained notoriety for the personal relationships some users form with its chatbot, with many expressing distress after the company recently removed the option for erotic roleplay.

At the time of writing, We were still able to access ChatGPT by using a VPN to redirect traffic through Milan, Italy. However, OpenAI may take some time to comply with the order to stop processing Italian users’ data. The GPDP has given the company a deadline of 20 days to communicate the measures it has taken to meet the regulator’s requirements. Failure to comply may result in fines of up to €20 million (or 4% of annual global turnover).

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