Last week, the Italian regulatory authority banned OpenAI’s artificial intelligence conversation application, ChatGPT, citing allegations of user privacy infringement and violation of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In response to the ban, OpenAI has adjusted its operational strategy by blocking Italian IP addresses, and subscribers of ChatGPT Plus in Italy are eligible for automatic refunds.
Germany Considers Similar Actions
Following Italy’s lead, the German regulatory authority is considering a similar course of action. Ulrich Kelber, Germany’s Data Protection Commissioner, said that Germany has requested more information about Italy’s ban, and in principle, such action against ChatGPT could be possible. However, Kelber added that this falls under state jurisdiction, and no further details on the potential ban have been disclosed at this time.
France and Ireland Show Interest
Notably, privacy regulators from France and Ireland have also contacted Italian authorities to discuss the investigation’s findings. Currently, these countries are in an exploratory phase, seeking to evaluate the results before making any decisions on imposing bans of their own.
Ireland’s Data Protection Commission serves as the main regulatory authority for the European Union, primarily because many tech companies establish their European headquarters in Ireland, falling under its jurisdiction. However, as OpenAI does not have a European office, Ireland is not currently ChatGPT’s primary regulator.
Following the ban of Italian IP addresses last week, OpenAI posted a notice emphasizing its commitment to protecting user privacy and announced that it is actively working to reduce the use of personal data in training its AI systems.
Sweden Takes a Different Stance
Unlike the other countries mentioned, Sweden’s regulatory authority has stated that it has no plans to ban ChatGPT and has not been in contact with Italian regulators regarding the matter.
As European regulators investigate ChatGPT over privacy concerns, Italy has already imposed a ban, and other countries are exploring their options. OpenAI has responded by blocking Italian IP addresses and reaffirming its commitment to user privacy. The situation continues to develop, with the potential for further regulatory actions in Europe.