Italy Becomes First Western Nation to Ban ChatGPT Amid Privacy Concerns.
Italy’s Data Protection Authority, Garante, has temporarily banned OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot and launched an investigation over a suspected breach of the application’s data collection rules. The chatbot, which is backed by Microsoft Corp, has been accused of failing to verify the age of its users, who must be aged 13 and above, and for the “massive collection and storage of personal data” to train the chatbot. Garante has given OpenAI 20 days to respond with remedies, or risk a fine of up to 4% of its annual worldwide turnover.
The ban makes Italy the first Western country to take action against a chatbot powered by artificial intelligence. ChatGPT is also unavailable in mainland China, Hong Kong, Iran, Russia, and parts of Africa where residents cannot create OpenAI accounts. The chatbot has reached 100 million monthly active users in January, just two months after launch, making it the fastest-growing consumer application in history, according to a UBS study published last month.
The technology has attracted attention from lawmakers in several countries, with experts saying new regulations are needed to govern AI because of its potential impact on national security, jobs, and education. However, the European Commission, which is debating the EU AI Act, may not be inclined to ban AI. European Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager tweeted, “No matter which #tech we use, we have to continue to advance our freedoms & protect our rights. That’s why we don’t regulate #AI technologies, we regulate the uses of #AI. Let’s not throw away in a few years what has taken decades to build.”
Since its release last year, ChatGPT has set off a tech craze, prompting rivals to launch similar products and companies to integrate it or similar technologies into their apps and products. However, the lack of transparency in how AI models are trained is a real problem, according to Johanna Bjorklund, an AI researcher and associate professor at Umea University in Sweden. “If you do AI research, you should be very transparent about how you do it,” she said.
In conclusion, Italy’s ban on OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot highlights the need for transparency and regulation in AI technology. While the European Commission may not be inclined to ban AI, new regulations are needed to govern AI’s potential impact on national security, jobs, and education.