Italy’s data protection agency, Garante, has issued a set of demands for OpenAI to address the agency’s concerns over the ChatGPT chatbot, which must be met by April 30th for the service to resume in the country.
A statement fron the regulator read in part; “Only in this case.. the authority will suspend the provisional restrictions on the use of the data of Italian users … and ChatGPT will once again become accessible in Italy.”
This comes after Garante temporarily restricted ChatGPT’s personal data processing and began a probe into a suspected breach of privacy rules, leading Microsoft-backed OpenAI to take the service offline in Italy almost two weeks ago.
Garante has demanded that OpenAI informs users in Italy of “the methods and logic” behind the processing of data necessary for ChatGPT to operate.
The watchdog also asked OpenAI to provide tools to enable people whose data is involved, including non-users, to request the correction of personal data inaccurately generated by the service or its deletion, if a correction is not possible.
OpenAI should also allow non-users to oppose “in a simple and accessible manner” the processing of their personal data to run its algorithms.
The authority also requested OpenAI to introduce an age verification system capable of excluding access to users under 13 by the end of September.
Garante said it would continue investigating potential breaches of data protection rules by OpenAI and reserved the right to impose any other measures needed at the end of its ongoing probe.
OpenAI has welcomed the agency’s move, stating, “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,” according to a spokesperson who spoke to Reuters.
Italy was the first Western European country to curb ChatGPT, but its rapid development has attracted attention from lawmakers and regulators in several countries.
The Italian move on ChatGPT has piqued the interest of other privacy watchdogs in Europe which are studying whether harsher measures are needed for chatbots and whether to coordinate.
Spain’s data protection agency has asked the European Union’s privacy watchdog to evaluate privacy concerns surrounding ChatGPT.
Many experts say new regulations are needed to govern artificial intelligence because of its potential impact on national security, jobs, and education.
In February, the Italian regulator banned AI chatbot company Replika from using the personal data of users in Italy, citing the possible effects on minors and emotionally fragile people.