What does the ChatGPT Italy ban mean for AI developments?

Eray Eliaçik
Mar 31, 2023

Italy became the first Western country to ban ChatGPT for privacy reasons. The country’s data protection authorities accused OpenAI of "unlawful collection of personal data" and ordered the company to stop collecting data from Italian customers immediately. What ChatGPT Italy ban means for AI developments?

The Garante has also launched an investigation into whether ChatGPT complies with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which regulates how we can use, process, and store personal data.

Authorities further claimed that OpenAI did not adequately enforce restrictions excluding users over the age of 13 from using ChatGPT and did not check the ages of its users. Authorities expressed concern that, due to their users' immaturity, young people would receive "unsuitable answers" from the chatbot.

This week has not been easy for OpenAI. Just two days before the ChatGPT Italy ban, Elon Musk and others call for a six-month AI pause, citing ‘risks to society.’

ChatGPT Italy ban explained

On Friday, Italy's data protection authority banned ChatGPT for violating users' privacy.

OpenAI, the U.S. business behind the widely used AI tool, has been ordered to cease processing data belonging to Italian users immediately by the country's data protection authorities, which also plans to launch an investigation into the company. Temporary until compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation, the EU's key privacy regulation (GDPR).

On both sides of the Atlantic, there have been growing calls to halt further releases of ChatGPT and investigate its developer, OpenAI, because of concerns about the platform's potential hazards to privacy, cybersecurity, and misinformation.

Credit: OpenAI

The Italian regulatory body has stated that the business' "bulk collection and storage of personal data... to 'train' the algorithms" of ChatGPT is not supported by any legal precedent.

The Garante justified its decision to ban ChatGPT on the grounds that it has reason to believe that OpenAI has improperly handled people's data and that there is no mechanism in place to prevent minors from using the technology.

AI, privacy, and regulations

ChatGPT isn't the only AI-based chatbot to have raised privacy concerns. Google's rival Bard is also now available, but only for specific users of legal age - for the same concerns. BEUC has also called on EU and national authorities - including data protection regulators - to investigate ChatGPT and similar chatbots after filing a complaint in the US.

Although the EU is currently working on the world's first AI legislation, BEUC's concern is that it will be years before the AI regulation can come into force, leaving consumers at risk of harm from a technology that isn't there.


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  1. Gio said on April 1, 2023 at 2:49 pm

    For those in Italy, look up “mygpt samurai.” Problem solved :)

    1. Anonymous said on April 23, 2023 at 11:29 pm

      Maybe it would be good to think about what the problem is before jumping to solutions. Even if it’s very technical. Are you feeding intimate personal data to this algorithm that is going to resurface unpredictably somewhere else, for instance ?

  2. Anonymous said on April 1, 2023 at 2:32 am

    “It (Italy’s national data protection agency (DPA)) added that the restriction was temporary, until the company can abide by the European Union’s data protection laws, known as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).”


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