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FameEX Hot Topics | Calls for Transparency Needed to Lift ChatGPT Ban in Italy, Says Data Watchdog

2023-04-14 11:25:50

OpenAI's ChatGPT chatbot service has been ordered by Italy’s data protection agency, Garante, to halt the processing of data belonging to individuals residing in Italy. The order was issued in March 2023 after Garante suspected that ChatGPT had violated the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). To revoke this order, Garante has specified the actions that OpenAI must take. Garante has mandated that OpenAI must increase transparency by issuing a comprehensive information notice outlining its data processing practices. OpenAI must also implement age-gating measures immediately to prevent minors from accessing its technology and adopt more stringent age verification methods. The regulatory agency has specified that OpenAI must choose between obtaining user consent or relying on legitimate interests as legal grounds for processing individuals’ data to train its AI. Currently, OpenAI’s privacy policy references three legal bases but seems to prioritize the performance of a contract when providing services such as ChatGPT.

Furthermore, OpenAI must enable users and non-users to exercise their rights regarding their personal data. The regulatory agency has mandated that OpenAI allow users to object to processing their data to train its algorithms. OpenAI must also conduct an awareness campaign in Italy to inform individuals that their information is being processed to train its AIs. Garante has set a deadline of April 30 for OpenAI to complete most of these tasks. OpenAI has been granted additional time to comply with the extra demand of migrating from the existing, age-gating child safety technology to a more resilient age verification system. Specifically, OpenAI has until May 31 to submit a plan outlining the implementation of age verification technology that screens out users under 13 years old (and those aged 13 to 18 who have not obtained parental consent). The deadline for deploying this more robust system is set for Sept. 30.

On March 31, following concerns raised by the national data protection agency about possible privacy violations and failure to verify the age of users, Microsoft-backed OpenAI took ChatGPT offline in Italy. To restart the operation of ChatGPT in the country, OpenAI must prioritize transparency, age-gating measures, and more stringent age verification methods while specifying the legal grounds for data processing. It is also essential for OpenAI to enable users and non-users to exercise their data rights and implement an age verification system that screens out underage users. OpenAI has been granted additional time to comply with the requirements, but it is crucial to meet the deadlines set by Garante.

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