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Italy Restores ChatGPT after OpenAI Responds to Regulator


Andrew NG

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Italy has restored the temporary ban placed on Microsoft-backed OpenAI’s ChatGPT after addressing the concerns over data protection. Following the removal of the ban, OpenAI has stated they will be providing higher visibility of privacy policy and will also offer an age verification tool in Italy. 

Italy Restores ChatGPT after OpenAI Responds to Regulator

Key Points: 

  • OpenAI has stated they will be offering an “Age Verification” tool in Italy during the Sign-up process to restrict users under the age of 13 from accessing ChatGPT. 
  • A new “OpenAI Personal Data Removal Request” form has been enabled to allow users to have a right to object to the usage of their personal data by the OpenAI models. 
  • OpenAI has stated they will be providing greater visibility of privacy policy. 

Italy Restores ChatGPT after responding to Regulator 

Italy was the first ever European country to place a ban on OpenAI’s popular AI chatbot ChatGPT. But, now ChatGPT has been reactivated in Italy after ChatGPT’s creator OpenAI addressed the concerns raised by Italy’s watchdogs on data protection, which was confirmed by the company and agency on 28 April. 

In a statement, the company said, “Our users in Italy can now access ChatGPT again. We are absolutely thrilled to welcome them back, and we remain determined to protect their privacy.”  

Last month OpenAI’s ChatGPT was facing a temporary ban in the entire country after the data protection authorities of Italy called “Garante” decided to ban the chatbot due to concerns about the breach of privacy rules by the AI chatbot. 

A deadline is initiated by Italy’s data protection authority, Garante till Sunday for OpenAI to address all the concerns raised over the breach of privacy and data protection in order to start operating the AI chatbot ChatGPT again in the country, by disabling the ban. 

Garante has addressed the concerns and issues over ChatGPT by stating, there’s an absence of any legal basis to justify the collection and storage of users’ personal data to “train” the AI chatbot models.

In addition, ChatGPT was also accused by Garante of failing to place an “Age verification” tool on ChatGPT which can raise risks of minors operating the AI chatbot since the AI chatbot is only accessible to users aged 13 or above. OpenAI said they are offering a tool to verify its users’ age during the Sign-up process to avoid minors from operating the AI chatbot.

OpenAI Personal Data Removal Request Form 

On 28 April, the company’s spokesperson stated they are providing greater visibility towards its privacy policies and looking closely over the user content opt-out form. A new form for the European Union will provide an exercise where users will have the right to object to its use of personal data to train its AI models. 

A form for “OpenAI Personal Data Removal Request” has been enabled through which users can request restricting OpenAI from processing or using their personal information. This even includes evidence of data processing by relevant prompts. Users need to provide complete, accurate, and relevant answers on the form for evaluation. 

Garante expressed they acknowledge the actions taken by the creators of ChatGPT to incorporate technological advancement with people’s rights. They hope the company continues to keep working on this path of compliance with European data protection regulations. 

Earlier this month, OpenAI was blocked by Italian watchdogs over breaching privacy rules. OpenAI addressed the ban of ChatGPT in Italy by issuing a letter saying, “We regret to inform you that ChatGPT has been disabled for users in Italy due to the request of the Italian Garante. By stating “They won’t allow processing of information and data by ChatGPT by breaching the privacy regulations.” 

An immediate limitation was placed on the processing of Italian users’ data by OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT. In addition, an inquiry was also placed into the facts and was initiated as well,” the regulator noted. 

In addition, the company even asked to place a refund for all the users residing in Italy, who bought a ChatGPT Plus subscription (a premium plan for ChatGPT) in March. Last month, the payment information of a few ChatGPT Plus users was exposed due to a bug, which was admitted by OpenAI as well. 

According to OpenAI, ChatGPT was taken offline due to a bug in an open-source library which resulted in some users seeing titles from the chat history of another active user.

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