ChatGPT is BANNED in Italy over privacy fears

ChatGPT is BANNED in Italy over privacy fears

  • Italy’s privacy watchdog said the ban was ‘provisional’ until changes were made
  • It comes after ChatGPT Plus users had personal data revealed to other accounts

The artificial intelligence software ChatGPT is being temporarily blocked in Italy in the wake of a data breach, according to the Italian Government’s privacy watchdog.

The Italian Data Protection Authority said its decision was provisional ‘until ChatGPT respects privacy’.

It comes after ChatGPT was taken offline on March 20 to fix a bug that allowed some people to see the titles, or subject line, of other users’ chat history which sparked fears of a huge personal data breach.

The authority added OpenAI, which developed ChatGPT, must report to it within 20 days with measures taken to ensure the privacy of user data or face a fine of up to £18million.

OpenAI said it found 1.2 per cent of ChatGPT Plus users ‘might’ have had personal data revealed to other users but it thought the actual numbers were ‘extremely low’. 

The Italian Data Protection Authority said its decision was provisional ‘until ChatGPT respects privacy’

The Italian watchdog’s measure involves temporarily limiting the company from holding Italian users’ data.

It slammed ‘the lack of a notice to users and to all those involved whose data is gathered by OpenAI’ and added information supplied by ChatGPT ‘doesn’t always correspond to real data, thus determining the keeping of inexact personal data’.

The authority also criticised the ‘absence of a juridicial basis that justified the massive gathering and keeping of personal data’.

While some public schools and universities around the world have blocked the ChatGPT website from their local networks over student plagiarism concerns, it is not clear how Italy would block it at a nationwide level.

The AI systems that power such chatbots, known as large language models, are able to mimic human writing styles based on the huge trove of digital books and online writings they have ingested.

A group of scientists and tech industry leaders published a letter on Wednesday calling for companies such as OpenAI to pause the development of more powerful AI models until the autumn to give time for society to weigh the risks.

The San Francisco-based company’s CEO, Sam Altman, announced this week that he is embarking on a six-continent trip in May to talk about the technology with users and developers.

That includes a stop planned for Brussels, where European Union legislators have been negotiating sweeping new rules to limit high-risk AI tools.

Mr Altman said his stops in Europe would include Madrid, Munich, London and Paris.

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