The advanced chatbot developed by OpenAI, ChatGPT, has been temporarily banned in Italy due to privacy concerns. The Italian data protection authority has accused OpenAI of unlawfully collecting personal data from users and failing to implement an age-verification system to prevent minors from accessing illicit content.
Italy is the first Western country to ban ChatGPT. In China, North Korea, Russia, and Iran, the service is unavailable because OpenAI decided not to make it accessible in these countries.
ChatGPT has been widely used since its launch in November 2022, and Microsoft has invested billions of dollars in it. Last month, it was added to Bing, Microsoft’s search engine.
However, the release of ChatGPT has raised concerns about the spread of misinformation, the impact on employment, and the broader risks to society. More than 1,000 technology leaders and researchers have called for a moratorium on the development of advanced AI systems to allow for safety policies to be implemented. The Center for A.I. and Digital Policy has urged the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to prevent OpenAI from releasing new commercial versions of ChatGPT.
Italian regulators have asked OpenAI to block access to ChatGPT for users in Italy until additional information is provided, and possible remedies are explored. The Italian data protection authority cited a data breach on March 20 that exposed user conversations and payment details, and said OpenAI could face a fine of up to €20 million or 4% of its worldwide annual revenue.
The regulator is also concerned that ChatGPT exposes minors to inappropriate content and has given OpenAI 20 days to address these issues or face penalties.
On April 01, 2023, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman responded to the ban on Twitter, saying “We of course defer to the Italian government and have ceased offering ChatGPT in Italy (though we think we are following all privacy laws) – Italy is one of my favorite countries and I look forward to visiting again soon!”