STOCKHOLM/MILAN/BERLIN – Italy’s move to temporarily ban ChatGPT has inspired other European countries to study if harsher measures are needed to rein in the wildly popular chatbots and whether to coordinate such actions.
While European parliamentarians disagree over the content and reach of the EU AI Act, some regulators are finding that xisting tools, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that gives users control over their personal information, can apply to the rapidly emerging category of generative AI companies.
Generative AI, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, relies on algorithms to generate remarkably human responses to text queries based on analyzing large volumes of data, some of which may be owned by internet users.
The Italian agency, also known as Garante, accused Microsoft Corp-backed OpenAI of failing to check the age of ChatGPT users and the “absence of any legal basis that justifies the massive collection and storage of personal data” to “train” the chatbot.
“The points they raise are fundamental and show that GDPR does offer tools for the regulators to be involved and engaged into shaping the future of AI,” said Dessislava Savova, partner at law firm Clifford Chance.
Privacy regulators in France and Ireland have reached out to counterparts in Italy to find out more about the basis of the ban. Germany could follow in Italy’s footsteps by blocking ChatGPT over data security concerns, the German commissioner for data protection told the Handelsblatt newspaper.
“We are following up with the Italian regulator,” said a spokesperson for Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner. “We will coordinate with all EU data protection authorities in relation to this matter.”
The privacy regulator in Sweden, however, said it had no plan to ban ChatGPT nor was it in contact with the Italian watchdog. Spain’s regulator said it had not received any complaint about ChatGPT but did not rule out a future investigation.
Italy’s Garante, like other privacy…
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