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Italy Orders ChatGPT Turned Off

Italy Orders ChatGPT Turned Off

Sarah Hardacre
Due to privacy concerns, Italy’s data protection agency, the Garante per la protezione dei dati personali (GPDP), has temporarily ordered OpenAI to stop processing Italian user data collected by ChatGPT.

The GPDP issued an order March 31 demanding that OpenAI temporarily stop processing user data in Italy. The regulators are investigating the data that OpenAI collects from users to train its model to ensure that it is in line with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The order outlines concerns over the amount of personal data that is collected and processed and the lack of age verification for users, which puts children at risk of misinformation or inappropriate content. ChatGPT is designed for users 13 years and older.

The order also mentions the March 20 data breach at ChatGPT that prompted OpenAI to temporarily take ChatGPT offline when sensitive user data was exposed as a result of a bug in their software.

In response to the order, OpenAI has blocked access to ChatGPT from Italian IP addresses. OpenAI claims it is following GDPR rules and is currently in discussion with the GPDP to restore access. It also states it will refund those who have subscribed to ChatGPT Plus and pause subscription renewals to avoid collecting further payments for users in Italy.

OpenAI has 20 days to advise how it will adapt its practices regarding user data collection and processing in Italy before potentially facing hefty fines, otherwise “a fine of up to EUR 20 million or 4% of the total worldwide annual turnover may be imposed” as laid out in the GDPR.

Established in 2018, the GDPR outlines the regulations that EU companies must adhere to when it comes to processing and storing personal data.

ChatGPT was released four months ago and has since amassed millions of users. Microsoft has invested significantly in the OpenAI application to integrate ChatGPT across many of its products. Microsoft released its version of a ChatGPT-powered Bing in February.

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