Home/ Technology / News/  Italy bans ChatGPT; Here's why

In the past few months, artificial intelligence (AI) has dominated the technology world, and a big credit goes to OpenAI's chatbot ChatGPT, which has brought AI into the mainstream narrative. In fact, billionaire and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has called ChatGPT the most "revolutionary" technology in 40 years or so.

However, amid the growing popularity of ChatGPT worldwide, this AI tech has now faced a major setback. ChatGPT was reportedly banned in Italy on Friday. It is the first known instance when a government has blocked an artificial intelligence tool.

According to a report by the New York Times, Italy's data protection authority has accused OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT, of stealing the data of its users. Besides, the Italian authority has said that ChatGPT does not have an age-verification system in place to prevent minors from being exposed to illicit material.

With this, Italy has become the first country to ban ChatGPT over privacy concerns. Whereas in China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran, OpenAI has deliberately decided to remain inaccessible.

Following the ban, ChatGPT founder Sam Altman said Italy is one of his favourite countries and added, “We of course defer to the Italian government and have ceased offering ChatGPT in Italy (though we think we are following all privacy laws). Italy is one of my favorite countries and I look forward to visiting again soon!"

In Italy, the regulators have told the OpenAI to block internet users in the country from gaining access to ChatGPT until the company turns over additional information, the NYT report mentioned.

OpenAI has been given 20 days to provide the agency with the material and possible remedies before a final decision can be made about the future of tech in the country.

Italian regulators cited a 20-March data breach that exposed the conversations and payment details of dozens of users. The Italian regulators might impose a fine of about $22 million or 4% of its worldwide annual revenue.

OpenAi has announced that it had disabled ChatGPT in Italy and remains committed to protecting people's privacy.

NYT report quoted ChatGPT's statement saying, " We actively work to reduce personal data in training our AI systems like ChatGPT because we want our AI to learn about the world, not about private individuals".

"We also believe that AI regulation is necessary," it added.

Yesterday, a user asked ChatGPT whether it would be banned in Italy because of privacy concerns, the AI tool replied, " There should be no concerns...I am an artificial intelligence language model that can be accessed from anywhere in the world as long as there is an internet connection".

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Updated: 01 Apr 2023, 09:08 AM IST
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