Italy bans ChatGPT over privacy concerns

Abeerah Hashim  - Security Expert
Last updated: November 6, 2023
Italy bans ChatGPT over privacy concerns
  • The Italian data protection authority seeks to prohibit the use of the updated chatbot ChatGPT over data privacy concerns of Italian users.
  • The authorities say the ban is temporary, but they also want to know if OpenAI complies with data protection regulations.
  • OpenAI's ChatGPT expresses commitment to following all privacy laws to protect people's privacy.

Since launching OpenAI’s advanced chatbot ChatGPT on November 2022, no western country has banned its use.

Italy recently became the first Western country to prohibit the use of ChatGPT. Countries such as China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran have banned the AI chatbot. 

Why Italy banned OpenAI and ChatGPT’s right to process its citizen’s data

The Italian data privacy watchdog has banned ChatGPT in Italy. This was due to concerns that OpenAi needed to protect its citizens’ data more adequately. In this regard, OpenAI CEO Sam Atman responded immediately to the Italian privacy watchdog’s request.

OpenAI no longer operates ChatGPT in Italy in response to an order from the Italian government. According to the Italian watchdog, ChatGPT uses large amounts of user data, and OpenAI is not open and transparent enough. 

There isn’t much information about how the user’s data is used to train other AI models. This is a strategy for secretly obtaining people’s private information. The Italian watchdog has now banned ChatGPT to prevent the breach of individual personal data.

ChatGPT will be unavailable in Italy until further notice to protect the personal information of its citizens. The AI virtual assistant can answer all kinds of user questions, making it more useful.

Unlike other social media services, ChatGPT is most likely to have access to and use people’s private data. This is because people are not careful enough when sharing information.

The Italian government will not only impose a ban but will also investigate OpenAI. This investigation is because of the data breach ChatGPT experienced on March 20. 

The data breach exposed some users’ personal information, including payment information and chat history. However, according to OpenAI, they have already addressed the situation, and the breach is under control.

Aside from these, the Italian government wants to know how much user data they store. The data protection authority also questions the company’s data collection and storage practices.

They claim that there is no legal justification for collecting and storing mass personal data to train other AI models. 

The company uses personal information stored on the users’ system to train the most recent ChatGPT model, GPT-4. OpenAI does not tell the public the source of datasets for training GPT-4. 

The use of Italian users’ data in the training of other AI models violates data protection regulations. This is what the Italian government is trying to prevent.

OpenAI’s ChatGPT is seemingly not adequately regulated

The OpenAI ChatGPT model developed in the United States and backed by Microsoft is no longer available in Italy. This is due to privacy concerns raised by the Italian data protection authority.

With Microsoft’s input on ChatGPT, Microsoft is making moves to incorporate the technology into its office apps. Including Microsoft Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook. 

Following this latest update, notable people in technology, such as Elon Musk, called for suspending this AI model. Concerns and risks are associated with ChatGPT, including thousands of people potentially losing their jobs.

Besides, there are claims that ChatGPT can spread misinformation and bias. There are also growing concerns about using ChatGPT to manipulate and deceive others.

Another area of concern is allowing minors to use ChatGPT without age verification. Minors can use the app without restriction or control. This exposes them to potentially dangerous information and inappropriate responses from the chatbot.

Yet, in response to the order by the Italian government, OpenAI disabled ChatGPT and claims to follow all privacy laws and rules. In addition, OpenAI stated that it would commit to protecting the privacy of its users.

The Italian government gave OpenAI 20 days to respond to the agency’s concerns. Otherwise, they would have to pay a fine of $21 million or 4% of their annual revenue, whichever is greater.

We expect VPN usage to increase after this Italy move. Generally, a VPN can protect your online privacy and security by masking your IP address and encrypting your internet traffic.

However, it is imperative to choose a reliable and trustworthy VPN service. Ensure your VPN does not log online activities or compromise data security.

We recommend that individuals follow their country’s laws and regulations and use the internet responsibly and ethically.

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About the Author

Abeerah Hashim

Abeerah Hashim

Security Expert

Abeerah is a passionate technology blogger and cybersecurity enthusiast. She yearns to know everything about the latest technology developments. Specifically, she’s crazy about the three C’s; computing, cybersecurity, and communication. When she is not writing, she’s reading about the tech world.

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