The Italian personal data protection guarantor has just blocked ChatGPT in Italy. Open AI risks a fine of up to 20 million euros, we explain why.
The powerful conversational model developed by the American start-up OpenAI finds itself in the crosshairs of the Italian data protection authority, which temporarily blocked him in the country. This ban would be effective immediately, and will remain in place.” until it complies with privacy regulations “.
Indeed, according to the Italian authority, OpenAI and its flagship AI are not GDPR compliant, the European Data Protection Regulation. It is the first administrative authority in the world to block the use of ChatGPT based on privacy regulations.
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This decision follows a massive data loss suffered by OpenAI on March 20. As a reminder, the company had disconnected the tool urgently, because ChatGPT users had managed to access the conversation history of complete strangers. Worse still, we recently learned that ChatGPT Plus subscribers’ payment information was likely leaked.
The Italian authority also notes that the company does not impose any verification of the age of its users. According to the conditions published by OpenAI, the service is intended for people over the age of 13, but the company never asks its users to confirm their date of birth. The guarantor then underlines that the absence of a filter to verify the age of users exposes minors to responses that are totally unsuited to their level of development and self-awareness.
It also announces that OpenAI, which does not have an office in the Union, but which has nevertheless appointed a representative in the European Economic Area, must communicate in within 20 days of the measures taken to respond to the request of the Italian guarantorunder penalty of a fine of up to 20 million euros or up to 4% of worldwide annual turnover. It remains to be seen whether France, which must also impose the GDPR, will make the same decision or not.
When asked what recourse Italians would have to continue using AI in the event of a blockage in the country, ChatGPT simply replies that these can still access its services using a VPN. It is also possible to use a local alternative, other tools such as specialized services. We also remind you that GPT-4 is available directly on Microsoft’s Bing Chat. ChatGPT especially emphasizes that Italian citizens can “pressure the authorities” to lift the blockage.