Italy has blocked the advanced chatbot ChatGPT, making it the first Western country to do so, citing concerns regarding privacy. The model was created by US start-up OpenAI and is supported by Microsoft. The Italian data protection authority has banned and launched an investigation into OpenAI, with immediate effect.
Although OpenAI has stated that it has complied with privacy laws, the watchdog is concerned about a recent data breach involving user conversations and payment information. Additionally, it has expressed concern about the app’s potential harm to minors, the spreading of misinformation and bias, and the mass collection and storage of personal data.
Bard, Google’s rival AI chatbot, has also been made available, but only to specific users over the age of 18. The Italian regulator has given OpenAI 20 days to address its concerns, under penalty of a fine of €20 million or up to 4% of annual revenues.
The Irish data protection commission is coordinating with all EU data protection authorities, and the UK’s independent data regulator has pledged to challenge non-compliance with data protection laws.