With immediate effect: First EU country bans ChatGPT – and has the site blocked
Data protectionists from Italy have dealt with the hype AI ChatGPT and did not hesitate: Concerned about the security of user information and allegedly insufficient protection of minors, the site was immediately banned. There are also enormous penalties if the company does not remedy the situation within a very short time.
On March 20, the text-based AI ChatGPT experienced a glitch: for a short time, the titles of conversations with the AI were also visible to third parties. OpenAI founder and CEO Sam Altman wrote Twitter: “We had a big problem in ChatGPT due to a bug in an open source library. We feel terrible about it.”
However, Altman could not have guessed the actual dimensions of this “big problem”. Because the Italian data protection authority took the incident as an opportunity to have the site blocked nationwide. According to the officials, ChatGPT violates data protection and youth protection.
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“We no longer offer ChatGPT in Italy”
The operators of ChatGPT immediately complied with the Italians’ request. Altman took to Twitter and said, “We have of course been considerate of the Italian government and no longer offer ChatGPT in Italy (although we think we comply with all privacy laws). Italy is one of my favorite countries and I’m looking forward to it to visit again soon!”
The data protectionists complain that ChatGPT users are not sufficiently informed about how the data entered is processed. The accusation: OpenAI stores “massive” data in order to train the AI. however, there is no legal basis for this approach. The authority also complained that ChatGPT did not adequately verify the age of the users. As a result, minors received answers that were “completely inappropriate” for their age.
But shutting down the software is only the first step of many that OpenAI now has to follow. Within 20 days, the authority demands that OpenAI corrects the course and explains in detail what steps have been taken. If this does not happen, Italy faces a fine of up to 20 million euros or four percent of global annual sales. OpenAI was given the opportunity to object to this, but initially could not avoid the temporary ban.
The development is not only going too fast for the authorities
In the online discussions about the ban, many fear that the “absurd” requirements for OpenAI could lead to a permanent ban from ChatGPT in Italy. There is also the fear that other countries could take Italy as an example, which would undoubtedly stand in the way of the development of the technology.
Currently, the meteoric rise of AI appears to be facing a potential downturn. Leading scientists and tech giants such as Elon Musk recently published an open letter calling for the development of various AI offerings to be halted for at least six months. This time should be used to work out framework conditions together with independent experts and politicians, which should apply to the further development of the intelligent programs from now on. The case in Italy shows that this is not a bad idea.
The rapid development of various artificial intelligences is beginning to pose a visible problem. Just last week, the image of the Pope in a winter coat made the rounds, which many believed to be credible. It quickly became apparent that there was software behind the picture – and the Pope was not as fashionable as many initially thought. The image and its effects were still quite harmless in this case, but the core of the case showed how easy it has become to fool people with an AI.