OpenAI has blocked its ChatGPT service in Italy – citing orders from the nation’s data regulator Garante.

Yesterday, Garante noted investigating the OpenAI for its possible violations in GDPR – of ChatGPT illegally using Italian data for answers – without informing them. And while this investigation is up, the regulator asked for the service to be blocked for the public.

ChatGPT Accused of Violating GDPR

A day after the Italian data protection regulator Garante announced investigating OpenAI, the latter disabled its ChatGPT service in Italy. The company cited this action as at the request of Garante and will refund the subscription amount (ChatGPT Plus) to those who’ve taken it.

The current decision seems to be a simple geo-blocking restriction applied now – as anyone with a VPN can change their location to access it! But the accounts that had earlier registered with the primary location as Italy, will be blocked. So you either need to create a new account with a changed location (out of Italy) to access the ChatGPT as before.

On Friday, the Garante announced launching an investigation into OpenAI – citing possible violations of their GDPR. The authority is concerned that OpenAI’s ChatGPT has been unlawfully processing the Italians’ data for its answers.

GDPR offers the participating nations and citizens of the involved countries a number of rights to play with. Any service that’s scrapping publicly available data from the internet – has to inform them before processing it. And in ChatGPT’s case, OpenAI hasn’t informed anyone yet.

Also, Garante is unsure about the data processing policies of OpenAI, as it didn’t mention anything publicly yet – at least for the recently launched GPT-4 model. And it further stated the lack of age verification (pertained to child safety) and inaccurate information the service is providing in some cases.

AI chatbots are deemed to provide inaccurate information confidently at times – which the researchers state is a situation of hallucination of the AI – but can lead to adverse effects. Thus, they’re now being investigated.


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