‘Unlawful collection of personal data’: Italy becomes first country to block ChatGPT

A representative photo of ChatGPT system.

Italy’s national privacy regulator has ordered an effective ban on AI chatbot ChatGPT, accusing creators of OpenAI of “unlawful collection of personal data.”

It has ordered OpenAI to stop collecting Italian users’ data immediately until it amends its data collection practices.

In a statement, the Italian National Authority for Personal Data Protection said that ChatGPT had “suffered a data breach on 20 March concerning users’ conversations and payment information of subscribers to the paid service”.

The decision, which comes into “immediate effect,” will result in “the temporary limitation of the processing of Italian users’ data vis-à-vis [ChatGPT’s creator] OpenAI,” the country’s privacy watchdog said.

This isn’t the first time that Italy’s data watchdog has taken such action against an AI chatbot.

The regulator previously banned the chatbot app in February.

Replika has become notorious for the personal relationships some users develop with its chatbot, with many expressing distress after the company recently removed the option for erotic roleplay.

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot developed by OpenAI and launched in November 2022.

It is built on top of OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 families of large language models (LLMs) and has been fine-tuned (an approach to transfer learning) using both supervised and reinforcement learning techniques.

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