Italy Temporarily Bans ChatGPT (and Other Countries May Follow)

Concerns over personal data collection were cited for the block

A screen open to OpenAI's ChatGPT, which was recently banned in Italy
Italy has temporarily blocked ChatGPT, citing data privacy laws
Jonathan Kemper / Unsplash

Who can stop ChatGPT? Maybe Italy. That country’s data protection authority just ordered the company behind the artificial intelligence to stop processing people’s data locally, temporarily banning the technology. As well, the organization expressed concerns that there was no age verification system in place.

“No way for ChatGPT to continue processing data in breach of privacy laws,” the GPDP wrote on their site. “The Italian SA imposed an immediate temporary limitation on the processing of Italian users’ data by OpenAI, the US-based company developing and managing the platform.”

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Per TechCrunch, OpenAI has 20 days to respond to the order or it could be heavily penalized, with amounts up to €20M or up to 4% of annual revenues. And other countries may follow, as Italy says the tech company is breaching the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which addresses the processing of personal data (and takes a pretty strict line on the “incorrect processing of personal data,” as the Italian data authority notes, meaning that incorrect info ChatGPT is spitting out actually violates the law).

“The (now) for-profit company behind ChatGPT does not appear to have informed people whose data it’s repurposed to train its commercial AIs,” writes TechCrunch’s Natasha Lomas. “Which could be a pretty sticky problem for it.”

The ChatGPT ban comes just a few days after 500 experts (including Elon Musk) published an open letter asking AI labs to pause training on AI systems for at least six months. Meanwhile, as the BBC notes, this isn’t the first country to ban (temporarily) ChatGPT; China, Iran, North Korea and Russia have also blocked the AI.

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