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ChatGPT faces demands from Italian data protection agency before resuming services

The Italian data protection agency, Garante, has demanded that OpenAI comply with a list of requirements by April 30th in order to address concerns regarding the use of ChatGPT in the country. The artificial intelligence chatbot was taken offline by Microsoft-backed OpenAI two weeks ago due to Garante’s temporary restriction on personal data processing and ongoing investigation into a potential breach of privacy regulations. Compliance with Garante’s demands will be necessary for ChatGPT to resume service in Italy.

On Wednesday, the Italian data protection agency Garante announced a list of “concrete” demands that must be met by the end of April for the provisional restrictions on the use of data by Italian users to be lifted and for ChatGPT to be accessible in Italy once again. In response to the statement, OpenAI expressed its appreciation for the agency’s actions.

“We are happy that the Italian Garante is reconsidering their decision and we look forward to working with them to make ChatGPT available to our customers in Italy again soon,” a spokesperson told Reuters.

ChatGPT was first restricted in Italy, making it the first Western European country to take action, but regulators and lawmakers in other countries have also been monitoring its rapid development. The widespread interest in AI, including ChatGPT, has led many experts to call for new regulations that address its potential impact on issues such as national security, employment, and education.

To resume ChatGPT’s operation in Italy, the data protection agency Garante has mandated that OpenAI inform users about the data processing methods and logic used by the chatbot. The agency has also demanded that OpenAI provide tools to enable individuals, including non-users, to request the correction or deletion of their personal data if it has been inaccurately generated by ChatGPT and cannot be corrected.

The Italian data protection agency, Garante, has further demanded that OpenAI implement measures to protect non-users’ personal data by allowing them to easily opt-out of data processing necessary for ChatGPT’s operation. Additionally, Garante has required that OpenAI implement an age verification system that prohibits users under the age of 13 from accessing the chatbot by the end of September.

Moreover, the agency has emphasized that its investigation into potential data protection violations by OpenAI is ongoing and that it retains the right to impose additional measures if necessary.

Garante’s actions regarding ChatGPT have caught the attention of other privacy watchdogs in Europe, who are exploring the need for more stringent measures for chatbots and the potential for coordination among regulators. Spain’s data protection agency has even requested that the EU’s privacy watchdog evaluate privacy concerns related to ChatGPT. 

Earlier this year, Garante prohibited AI chatbot company Replika from using the personal data of Italian users due to potential risks to emotionally vulnerable individuals and minors.

(With inputs from Reuters)


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