Italy Lays Out Demands and Deadline for Lifting ChatGPT Ban as EU Opens Investigation
The Italian Data Protection Authority released its list of changes ChatGPT must undergo to resume operation in the country and an April 30 deadline to do so. The agency, known as Garante, ordered OpenAI to block the generative AI chatbot from operating in the country at the beginning of the month. The demands came the same day as the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) acceded to Italy’s request to set up an investigation into creating generative AI privacy regulations.
Garante initiated the ban after OpenAI uncovered and resolved a ChatGPT vulnerability that could have allowed some users to see the titles of conversations others had with the chatbot. The requirements cover much more than just better security, however. The agency’s requirements include OpenAI informing Italian users more about how ChatGPT works, a process for correcting or deleting inaccurate personal data generated by ChatGPT as a hallucination, and a way for non-users to withhold their data from being used by the AI. That’s a daunting and likely impossible set of demands, especially with an April 30 deadline. Garante’s end-of-September deadline for OpenAI to also set up an age verification filter that prevents anyone younger than 13 from using ChatGPT probably isn’t very feasible either.
The agency said ChatGPT would be available in Italy “only in this case,” not leaving much room for negotiation for now. Adding individuals to the list of ChatGPT’s forbidden topics might be doable, but preventing all hallucinations is a long-term goal for all generative AI chatbots that isn’t likely to be perfectly resolved any time soon. OpenAI took a more positive tone in response to the list, though without making any concrete promises.
“We are happy that the Italian Garante is reconsidering their decision and we look forward to working with them to make ChatGPT available to our customers in Italy again soon,” OpenAI said in a statement.
Italy followed its ban with a request to the EDPB to examine ChatGPT and generative AI. Spain sent a similar petition, though there’s no national ban in Spain as of yet. The board agreed and has launched an investigation into the company and technology with the goal of a European-wide set of policies that would likely supplement or at least connect to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules instituted a few years ago.
“The EDPB members discussed the recent enforcement action undertaken by the Italian data protection authority against OpenAI about the ChatGPT service,” the EDPB said in a statement. “The EDPB decided to launch a dedicated task force to foster cooperation and to exchange information on possible enforcement actions conducted by data protection authorities.”