Italy watchdog says OpenAI's ChatGPT breaches privacy rules

Italy's privacy watchdog announced on Monday that it has informed OpenAI about concerns regarding ChatGPT, stating that it violates data protection regulations.

The Italian data protection authority, known as Garante, one of the European Union's most proactive in assessing AI platform compliance with the bloc's data privacy regime, briefly banned ChatGPT last year over the alleged breach of EU privacy rules.

At the time, the regulator also launched a probe, which has now concluded that there are elements indicating one or more potential data privacy violations, it said in a statement.

The Garante said Microsoft-backed OpenAI had 30 days to present defense arguments and added that its investigation would take into account the work done by a European task force made up of national privacy watchdogs.

Italy was the first West European country to curb ChatGPT, whose rapid development has attracted attention from lawmakers and regulators.

Under the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), introduced in 2018, any given company found in breach of the rules faces fines of up to 4% of the company's global turnover.

In December, EU lawmakers and governments agreed on provisional terms for regulating AI systems like ChatGPT, taking a step closer to setting rules governing the technology.

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