At the time when the AI tool gained so much popularity among people, Italy’s Data Protection Authority (DPA) issued a statement banning the use of the AI chat platform on the ground that it has no age verification system and unlawfully collects the users’ personal data. This lack of exposure exposes children to potentially inappropriate responses despite the fact that ChatGPT’s own terms of service claim that it is designed for users aged 13 and above. After this move, Italy has become the first western country to block advanced chatbot ChatGPT. The tool is already banned in a number of countries including China, Iran, North Korea and Russia.
The move comes as AI experts and ethicists sound the alarm about the enormous amounts of data that services such as ChatGPT consume from tens of millions of users around the world, raising concerns about?how companies may jeopardise their privacy and safety. An investigation was launched after a cyber security breach last week which led to people being shown excerpts of other users’ ChatGPT conversations and their financial information. Reports show that the data was exposed for a period of nine-hour showing the first and last names, billing addresses, credit card types, credit card expiration dates and the last four digits of their credit card.
Generative AI technologies fall under the regulatory purview of existing data and digital laws such as the GDPR and the Digital Services Act, which oversee some aspects of it. However, the EU is preparing a regulation that will govern how AI is used in Europe, with companies that violate the bloc’s rules facing fines of up to €30mn, or 6 percent of global annual turnover, whichever is larger.
The DPA is an independent body that seeks to protect “fundamental rights and freedoms in connection with the processing of personal data, and to ensure respect for individuals’ dignity.”