Italy's ChatGPT ban fails to deter users due to VPNs

Onur Demirkol
Apr 5, 2023

VPN applications have gained a vast amount of new users after Italy's ChatGPT ban. People are using the apps to access the chatbot.

Recently, the Italian government banned ChatGPT due to privacy reasons. However, this didn't stop people from reaching OpenAI's services. PureVPN has noticed an odd increase in traffic coming from Italy on their website after the ban went into effect on April 1. According to a recent blog post from the company, "Italians have been turning to VPN services following the decision of the country's data protection authority to ban ChatGPT over privacy concerns."

ChatGPT had many users in Italy before the ban but it looks like nothing changed after the decision. People started using VPNs.

ChatGPT is one of the most popular topics on the internet. People from all around the globe use it to get their work done easier. However, the Italian government prevented the chatbot from being used in the country. Authorities further alleged that OpenAI failed to verify its users' ages and enforce prohibitions barring anyone under the age of 13 from using ChatGPT.

"ChatGPT has garnered more than 100 million users since its launch two months ago. The advanced chatbot is just as popular in Italy as in other countries because of its ability to have human-like conversations. However, with Italians unable to access ChatGPT, many of them are turning to VPNs to circumvent the block," says PureVPN.

VPNs can help users mask their real IP addresses and use a different one from their selected country. Italian people use VPNs and an IP address of another country to access ChatGPT.

ChatGPT had many users in Italy before the ban but it looks like nothing changed after the decision. People started using VPNs.

What happened before?

The Italian government issued a country-wide ban on ChatGPT because of the "unlawful collection of personal data." Italy accused OpenAI of privacy issues and ordered it to stop collecting data from Italian people. The software was banned after the Garante, Italy's data protection watchdog, charged OpenAI of inappropriately gathering and retaining Italians' personal data and, as a result, violating GDPR rules.

Italy is the first Western country to ban the chatbot. Countries like Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran have already banned the chatbot, but Italy is the first in the West. OpenAI rejected the allegations and said it is protecting people's privacy and minimizing the collection of personal data.

"We also believe that AI regulation is necessary - so we look forward to working closely with the Garante and educating them on how our systems are built and used." a spokesperson of OpenAI told the BBC.

Other European countries may also issue similar bans in the coming weeks. Garante was one of the first organizations to report a potential breach of EU privacy regulations of TikTok. TikTok is now banned by the European Commission.


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  1. yanta said on April 6, 2023 at 3:17 am

    Great! And now VPNs will start to be criminalaized :(

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