The recent decision by Italy to temporarily ban the use of OpenAI's ChatGPT has sparked discussions among European governments about the need for stronger regulations to manage the rapidly emerging category of generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) companies. While some regulators believe that existing tools like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) can apply to these companies, others are calling for coordinated efforts to rein in the popularity of chatbots like ChatGPT. This move by Italy has prompted privacy regulators in France, Ireland, and Germany to explore the rationale behind the ban, and some have even reached out to Italian authorities for more information.
According to L’Informe – France’s factual economic investigation website, France’s data protection authority CNIL received at least two complaints against ChatGPT, on grounds of privacy violations including the GDPR.
Generative AI, such as OpenAI's ChatGPT, produces impressively human-like replies to text questions using algorithms. These replies are based on the analysis of vast amounts of data, some of which may be owned by Internet users.
Italy's decision to temporarily prohibit ChatGPT has led other European governments to investigate whether stronger regulations are needed to control the popular chatbots. In this article, we will examine the different perspectives of European regulators and industry analysts on the ChatGPT ban and the future of AI regulations in Europe.
Privacy Regulators in France and Ireland Seek More Information
Privacy regulators in France and Ireland have contacted their counterparts in Italy to get more information about the rationale for the ban. Meanwhile, the German commissioner for data protection has said that Germany could decide to ban ChatGPT due to concerns about the safety of its citizens' personal information.
An official spokeswoman for Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner said that their organisation is "following up with the Italian regulator." Regarding the problem at hand, "We will coordinate with all EU data protection authorities in order to address it."
While the privacy authority in Sweden, however, has no intention of banning ChatGPT and is not in communication with the Italian privacy regulator. The regulatory body in Spain has not received any complaints about ChatGPT but does not rule out the possibility of conducting an inquiry in the future.
Italy's Garante, an independent of the government, was one of the first organisations to publicly warn Chinese-owned TikTok about violating current privacy standards in the European Union. Unlike the government, privacy commissioners tend to advocate for stricter regulations.
Italian Regulator's Judgment Deemed "Excessive"
Italy's deputy prime minister has called the judgment of Italy's regulator "excessive," while a spokeswoman for the German government has said that there is no need for Germany to prohibit the use of ChatGPT. According to an insider, the Italian authority's step last week was intended to initiate a discussion with OpenAI to resolve difficulties regarding ChatGPT's conformity to EU data protection standards. The authority did not want to ban the tool. However, OpenAI did not reply to authorities over the weekend. In the meantime, OpenAI made ChatGPT unavailable in Italy.
OpenAI Working to Reduce Personal Data Usage
On Friday, OpenAI said that it is actively working to decrease the amount of personal data used to train its artificial intelligence systems. OpenAI's artificial intelligence platform made a sensation upon its release in November last year. After a nine-hour cybersecurity breach one month ago, which resulted in individuals being given extracts of other users' ChatGPT discussions and their financial information, the Italian government decided to investigate OpenAI. Italy is the first Western Hemisphere nation to take legal action against an AI-driven chatbot.
Other AI Platforms Could Be Investigated
Although the Italian authority has primarily focused on ChatGPT due to the platform's widespread usage, industry analysts believe that other AI platforms, such as Google Inc.'s Bard, may also be investigated. Clifford Chance partner Dessislava Savova said that "unlike ChatGPT, Google is more likely to have already taken that into account due to its history in Europe and because of the size of the organization."
Italy's decision to ban ChatGPT has sparked discussions in other European governments about the need for stronger regulations to control popular chatbots. Privacy regulators in France and Ireland are seeking more information about the ban, while Germany is considering banning ChatGPT due to concerns about the safety of personal information. Although privacy commissioners tend to advocate for stricter regulations than governments, the judgment of Italy's regulator has been deemed "excessive" by the Italian deputy prime minister. OpenAI has made ChatGPT unavailable in Italy and is actively working. The ban has triggered a review of AI regulations by the EU, reflecting increasing worries over the ethical use.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Novum Learning or Legal Practice Intelligence (LPI). While every attempt has been made to ensure that the information in this article has been obtained from reliable sources, neither Novum Learning or LPI nor the author is responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information, as the content published here is for information purposes only. The article does not constitute a comprehensive or complete statement of the matters discussed or the law relating thereto and does not constitute professional and/or financial advice.