The Italian ChatGPT ban draws interest from other DPAs

05/04/2023 | Reuters

In the days after the Italian Data Protection Authority (DPA) issued a temporary ban on Open AI's ChatGPT, representatives from European DPAs in France, Germany, and Ireland have also reached out to request details about its initial conclusions and could follow in Italy's lead. Interestingly, the views held by the DPAs are not necessarily shared by their own governments. For instance, the Italian deputy prime minister called the ban "excessive", while a German government spokesman said a ban would not be necessary. However, a related article in WIRED suggests ChatGPT may have a big problem. According to Tobias Judin, the Head of International at the Norwegian DPA, which is monitoring the developments in Italy: “If the business model has just been to scrape the internet for whatever you could find, then there might be a really significant issue here.” Juden added that if the model is built using unlawfully collected data, questions will be raised about "whether anyone can use the tools legally." 

The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) called on the EU and member states to investigate generative artificial intelligence chatbots like ChatGPT over concerns the technology puts unprepared consumers at risk. While the EU Artificial Intelligence Act is on its way, the BEUC said, "there are serious concerns growing" now. "For all the benefits AI can bring to our society, we are currently not protected enough from the harm it can cause people," Deputy Director General Ursula Pachl said.

It's not only European DPAs that are concerned about ChatGPT, as the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has also announced it launched an investigation. "AI technology and its effects on privacy is a priority for my Office," Privacy Commissioner Philippe Dufresne said. "We need to keep up with — and stay ahead of — fast-moving technological advances, and that is one of my key focus areas as Commissioner."  This was followed by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data in Hong Kong, which according to a report in the South China Morning Post, has vowed to monitor the risk of personal data leaks from generative artificial intelligence. 

UPDATE: 050423 - In his keynote presentation at the IAPP Global Privacy Summit 2023 in Washington, D.C., Alvaro Bedoya, Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), explained that existing US statutes at a sectoral level cover generative AI but warned businesses to "strongly consider consumer interests and risks with pending deployments." 

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