Italian regulators have informed OpenAI that its ChatGPT AI chatbot has infringed upon the European Union’s strict data privacy regulations. The country’s data protection authority, Garante, stated on Monday that it had alerted the San Francisco-based OpenAI regarding violations of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. Last year, Garante initiated an investigation into ChatGPT and temporarily prohibited its use within Italy. Following a “fact-finding activity,” the watchdog concluded that there were breaches of EU privacy regulations based on available evidence. OpenAI has a 30-day period to respond to the allegations and has expressed its willingness to collaborate with Italian regulators in resolving the matter.
“We believe our practices align with GDPR and other privacy laws, and we take additional steps to protect people’s data and privacy,” a company statement said. “We want our AI to learn about the world, not about private individuals. We actively work to reduce personal data in training our systems like ChatGPT, which also rejects requests for private or sensitive information about people.”
The company said last year that it fulfilled a raft of conditions that the Garante demanded to get the ChatGPT ban lifted.
The rising popularity of generative AI systems such as ChatGPT is attracting increasing attention from regulators on both sides of the Atlantic. Last week, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission initiated an investigation into the connections between AI startups OpenAI and Anthropic and the major tech companies that have provided funding, including Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. Additionally, competition regulators in the European Union and the United Kingdom are examining Microsoft’s investments in OpenAI. Furthermore, AI systems are subject to broader oversight in the EU, where the groundbreaking AI Act is nearing finalization. This legislation, expected to be endorsed by the EU’s 27 member states on Friday, represents the world’s first comprehensive regulatory framework for artificial intelligence.