Italy bans ChatGPT over privacy concerns

Joel Loynds
ChatGPT banned in italy

Italy has ordered a ban on OpenAI’s ChatGPT after it caused issues surrounding privacy within the EU’s GDPR rules.

The Italian Data Protection Authority, the country’s privacy regulator, has called for a ban on the viral AI app, ChatGPT. Concerns have been raised around how OpenAI is training ChatGPT’s language model, GPT, and the data collection methods. This comes just days after personalities such as Elon Musk and other tech leaders signed an open letter to “pause” AI development as OpenAI develops more advanced protocols, like GPT-4.

Utilizing the EU’s GDPR laws, the authority has implemented a ban until OpenAI can demonstrate how it is respecting the privacy of citizens within Italy, as first reported by Politico.

In a statement, the Italian privacy regulator said:

“The Italian Data Protection Authority has ordered, with immediate effect, the temporary restriction of the processing of Italian users’ data against OpenAI.

“The absence of a legal basis that justifies the massive collection and storage of personal data for the purpose of “training” the algorithms underlying the operation of the platform.”

ChatGPT banned in Italy after GDPR breach

OpenAI logo on GPT-4 illustration by OpenAI

GDPR was introduced in 2018 after the EU brought it into law. The policy is wide-reaching and is designed to protect people from having their data harvested for nefarious means. It’s why you’ll see “Accept cookies” littered around websites, if you’re in the EU.

The Italian Data Protection Authority also claims that OpenAI is not processing data properly, with their audits revealing that it could lead to inaccuracies. This is backed up by the watchdog NewsGuard, which found the latest iteration of ChatGPT was more susceptible to producing misinformation.

A bug also caused ChatGPT to reveal the history and critical private information of users on the platform. This resulted in chat history being temporarily suspended.

Another concern raised is the lack of protection for children using the platform:

“The Authority highlights how the absence of any filter for verifying the age of users exposes minors to answers that are absolutely unsuitable with respect to their degree of development and self-awareness.”

Currently, the website is still live in Italy, and OpenAI has yet to respond to these reports.

Translations provided by DeepL.