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. bruh said on August 18, 2023 at 1:25 pm

    Uhh, this has already been possible – I am not sure how but remember my brother telling me about it. I’m not a whatsapp user so not sure of the specifics, but something about sending the image as a file and somehow bypassing the default compression settings that are applied to inbound photos.

    He has also used this to share movies to whatsapp groups, and files 1Gb+.

    Like I said, I never used whatsapp, but I know 100% this isn’t a “brand new feature”, my brother literally showed me him doing it, like… 5 months ago?

  2. 💥 said on August 18, 2023 at 3:55 pm

    Martin, what happened to those: 12 Comments ( Is there a specific justifiable reason why they were deleted?

    Hmm, it looks like the gHacks website database is faulty, and not populating threads with their relevant cosponsoring posts.

  3. 45 RPM said on August 19, 2023 at 6:29 pm

    The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk that it’s about to be deleted from my ‘daily reads’.

    It’s really like “Press Release as re-written by some d*ck for clicks…poorly.” And the subjects are laughable. Can’t wait for “How to search for files on Windows”.

    1. owl said on August 20, 2023 at 12:51 am

      > The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk…

      Sadly, I have to agree.

      Only Martin and Ashwin are worth subscribing to.
      Especially Emre Çitak and Shaun are the worst ones.

      If intended “Clickbait”, it would mark the end of Ghacks Technology News.
      Ghacks doesn’t need crappy clickbaits. Clearly separate articles from newer authors (perhaps AIs and external sales person or external advertising man) as just “Advertisements”!

      We, the subscribers of Ghacks, urge Martin to make a decision.

  4. chessandonions said on August 20, 2023 at 12:40 am

    because nevermore wants to “monetize” on every aspect of human life…

  5. Frank Rizzo said on August 20, 2023 at 11:52 pm

    “Threads” is like the Walmart of Social Media.

  6. Ashray said on August 21, 2023 at 4:06 pm

    How hard can it be to clone a twitter version of that as well? They’re slow.

  7. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:16 pm

    Yes, why not mention how large the HD files can be?
    Why, not mention what version of WhatsApp is needed?
    These omissions make the article feel so bare. If not complete.

    1. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:18 pm

      Sorry posted on the wrong page.

  8. Marc said on August 21, 2023 at 6:00 pm

    such a long article for such a simple matter. Worthless article ! waste of time

  9. plusminus_ said on August 21, 2023 at 7:54 pm

    I already do this by attaching them via the ‘Document’ option.

  10. John G. said on August 21, 2023 at 11:43 pm

    I don’t know what’s going on here at Ghacks but it’s obvious that something is broken, comments are being mixed whatever the article, I am unable to find some of my later posts neither. :S

  11. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    Quoting the article,
    “As users gain popularity, the value of their tokens may increase, allowing investors to reap rewards.”

    Besides, beyond the thrill and privacy risks or not, the point is to know how you gain popularity, be it on social sites as everywhere in life. Is it by being authentic, by remaining faithful to ourselves or is it to have this particular skill which is to understand what a majority likes, just like politicians, those who’d deny to the maximum extent compatible with their ideological partnership, in order to grab as many of the voters they can?

    I see the very concept of this as unhealthy, propagating what is already an increasing flaw : the quest for fame. I won’t be the only one to count himself out, definitely.

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:34 pm

      @John G. is right : my comment was posted on [] and it appears there but as well here at []

      This has been lasting for several days. Fix it or at least provide some explanations if you don’t mind.

  12. Tom said on August 24, 2023 at 11:53 am

    > Google Chrome is following in Safari’s footsteps by introducing a new feature that allows users to move the Chrome address bar to the bottom of the screen, enhancing user accessibility and interaction.

    Firefox did this long before Safari.

  13. Mavoy said on September 16, 2023 at 2:17 pm

    Basically they’ll do anything except fair royalties.

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