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Canada’s privacy watchdog opens investigation into OpenAI, ChatGPT over complaint


Andrew NG

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Privacy watchdog of Canada has investigated OpenAI’s popular AI chatbot, ChatGPT, after receiving complaints alleging the collection, usage, and revelation of personal data without users’ consent, raising questions over users’ privacy and security.  

Similar complaints were reported in Italy last month, which caused Italian watchdogs to temporarily ban the AI chatbot throughout the country, becoming the first Western country to ban ChatGPT.

In addition, Germany was also in talks to place a ban over alleged violations of privacy and security, which also initiated an investigation on ChatGPT. 

Key Points: 

  • Canada’s privacy watchdog has opened an investigation into AI chatbot ChatGPT over complaints regarding the collection, usage, and disclosure of users’ data.  
  • A Video call occurred between the OpenAI executive and watchdog commissioner, where the company promised to provide essential measures addressing the concerns.
Canada’s privacy watchdog opens investigation into OpenAI

Canada places an investigation on OpenAI’s ChatGPT

An investigation has been initiated on the popular AI chatbot ChatGPT by Canada’s privacy watchdog over complaints regarding the violation of personal data. On Tuesday, Privacy Commissioner Philippe Dufresene reported the office has been investigating OpenAI’s ChatGPT after receiving complaints against the AI chatbot concerning “the collection, usage, and revelation of user’s personal data and information without consent.”

Following the investigation, Dufresne stated, “Artificial Intelligence Technology and its effects on user’s privacy is a priority for my office.” He added, “We need to keep up and stay way ahead of the fast-moving technological advances, and currently, the privacy of user’s personal information is my key focus as a Commissioner.”

Previously, Italy’s privacy watchdog made a similar move where the country temporarily banned AI chatbot ChatGPT over concerns regarding the alleged violation of privacy and security of users’ personal data. 

The Italian Data Protection Authorities stated the ban was placed to block OpenAI from processing the data for Italian users. In addition, an investigation was placed due to a lack of legal justification for collecting and storing users’ data. The order is supposed to last until the privacy law of the EU is respected by OpenAI for data protection. 

Recently, Germany was also discussing banning OpenAI’s advanced chatbot ChatGPT over breaching private data and security. Germany had requested Further information and data from Italy regarding the placement of a temporary ban on ChatGPT in the country to learn more about the situation.

In addition, watchdogs from Ireland and France were reportedly in contact with the Italian regulator to discuss the findings regarding this situation. Now, with Canada also placing an investigation on OpenAI doesn’t seem like a good sign for the AI chatbot. 

A video call occurred between the OpenAI executives, including OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman, and the watchdog commissioners, where the company promised to provide all the important measures to address the privacy concerns. Although, as of now, the measures towards privacy concerns have not been detailed. 

With so many Western countries raising questions over the legal justification of collecting and storing users’ personal data is not a good sign for ChatGPT. Currently, all eyes are on the measures provided by OpenAI to address the questions being raised over privacy concerns. 

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