In the wake of Italy’s decision to ban ChatGPT, Germany’s commissioner for data protection, Ulrich Kelber, has suggested that Germany may follow suit. Kelber’s concern stems from a suspected breach of privacy rules by ChatGPT, and his comments indicate that Germany is taking the matter seriously.
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In recent weeks, Italy’s data protection regulator, the Italian Data Protection Authority (GPDP), has temporarily banned OpenAI’s ChatGPT. The move was prompted by allegations of unlawful collection of personal data and neglecting to install a function that prevents minors from using the service. The GPDP also raised concerns about the mass collection and storage of personal data for the purpose of training the algorithms underlying the operation of the platform. The Italian regulator ordered OpenAI to cease collecting data from Italian customers and to disclose steps that would rectify the complaints made by the nation’s independent authority.
In response to Italy’s actions, Germany’s data protection chief has suggested that his country could follow suit. Kelber’s comments suggest that German regulators have been in communication with their Italian counterparts following the ban in Italy. Data privacy watchdogs in other EU nations, such as France and Ireland, have also contacted the Italian data regulator to discuss its findings.
Kelber has suggested that Germany may consider enforcing a similar ban, and that this would fall within the jurisdiction of each of the nation’s federal states. It is unclear whether Germany will take this course of action, but Kelber’s comments indicate that Germany is taking the matter seriously and is willing to consider the enforcement of a ban.
Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner (DPC), which is the lead EU regulator for many global technology giants under the bloc’s “one stop shop” data regulatory framework, has also responded to the situation. The DPC has no direct regulatory control over how OpenAI operates within the bloc as the artificial intelligence firm has no offices in the EU. However, a spokesperson for the DPC has stated that they are following up with the Italian regulator to understand the basis for their action and will coordinate with all EU data protection authorities in relation to this matter.
US Regulator Body Complaint
The Centre for AI and Digital Policy has filed a complaint urging the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to prevent OpenAI from launching new commercial versions beyond its present iteration, called GPT-4. The complaint was posted on the group’s website, where it labeled GPT-4 as biased, deceptive, and a threat to privacy and public safety. The formal complaint follows an open letter endorsed by Elon Musk, AI specialists, and industry leaders that has requested a six-month halt in the development of systems more advanced than OpenAI’s recently introduced GPT-4, pointing to potential societal risks.
The decision by Italy’s data protection regulator to temporarily ban OpenAI’s ChatGPT has prompted a response from data privacy watchdogs in other EU nations, including Germany and Ireland. While it is unclear whether Germany will follow Italy’s example and enforce a similar ban, the comments made by Germany’s commissioner for data protection suggest that the matter is being taken seriously. Additionally, the recent complaint filed by the Centre for AI and Digital Policy urging the US Federal Trade Commission to prevent OpenAI from launching new commercial versions beyond its present iteration highlights the growing concern over the use of AI and the need for greater regulation.