Data Protection Chief Ulrich Kelber Says Germany May Ban ChatGPT

The German commissioner for data protection, Ulrich Kelber, has stated that Germany may consider following Italy’s lead and blocking ChatGPT due to data security concerns.

In an interview with Handelsblatt published on Monday, Kelber stated that the action taken by the Italian national data agency, which temporarily banned the chatbot and launched an investigation into a possible breach of privacy rules by the artificial intelligence application, could potentially be replicated in Germany.

Kelber clarified that any such action would fall under state jurisdiction but did not provide specific details regarding plans to ban ChatGPT in Germany. OpenAI, which is backed by Microsoft, had already taken ChatGPT offline in Italy on Friday in response to the ban and investigation.

Ulrich Kelber stated that Germany has requested additional details from Italy concerning its ban on ChatGPT. Meanwhile, privacy watchdogs in France and Ireland have contacted the Italian data regulator to discuss the matter.

A spokesperson for Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) stated that they are in communication with the Italian regulator to comprehend the reasoning behind the ban and will collaborate with all EU data protection authorities on this issue.

On Friday, OpenAI had already asserted that it makes active efforts to minimize personal data while training its AI systems.

Although the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) serves as the primary EU regulator for several major tech companies under the bloc’s “one-stop-shop” data regime, it is not the lead regulator for OpenAI as the company does not have any offices in the EU.

The Swedish privacy regulator has confirmed that it currently has no intention of banning ChatGPT, nor has it been in contact with the Italian watchdog regarding the issue.

The Italian data agency initiated an investigation into OpenAI after a cyber security breach last week exposed users to portions of other users’ ChatGPT conversations and their payment details.

Italy has become the first Western country to take action against a chatbot powered by artificial intelligence. The Italian national data agency has accused OpenAI of neglecting to verify the age of ChatGPT’s users, who are required to be at least 13 years old.

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