The ban on the AI chatbot ChatGPT by Italian regulators on Friday, March 31, faced a lot of backlash in the country which includes the criticism of the Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini. As there are several services based on artificial intelligence, Salvini said that the regulator’s action was hypocritical and gave examples like Bing’s chat.
According to Salvini, “Every technological revolution brings great changes, risks, and opportunities. It is right to control and regulate through international cooperation between regulators and legislators, but it cannot be blocked.”
Since privacy concerns “practically all online services,” Salvini pointed out that common sense was required. The Deputy PM also added that the ChatGPT ban would hurt national industry and innovation, and he expressed his wish for a speedy resolution and the restoration of the chatbot’s access to Italy.
The Italian government’s decision to outlaw ChatGPT is crucial since it raises questions about data security and privacy when using AI chatbots. It emphasises the necessity for more stringent regulation and control to guarantee that these chatbots function in accordance with the law and moral principles. Also, the restriction may have a big impact on how OpenAI operates and how it interacts with other national agencies.
Authorities in Italy claimed that ChatGPT may have violated data collection laws by failing to verify the users’ ages before allowing them to access a service that is only for those who are at least 13 years old. The nation’s data protection body said that there is no “legal basis that supports the enormous gathering and storage of personal data in order to ‘train’ the algorithms behind the operation,” according to the San Francisco-based company.
As a result, ChatGPT has been stopped by the Italian government, marking the first time a national authority has done so. OpenAI has 20 days to explain the steps to the Italian authorities it has taken to protect the privacy of user data or risk a punishment of up to 20 million euros ($32.5 million) or 4% of annual global turnover.
But this is not just the case in Italy. The aspect of bias in the chatbot has been questioned by various authorities which includes The Center for Artificial Intelligence and Digital Policy (CAIDP) who filed a lawsuit to stop the release of powerful AI systems to the general public on the same day of the ban.
Last Monday, the European Consumers’ Organization (BEUC) demanded that the EU authorities look into ChatGPT and similar AI chatbots. Such regulations are strict and prevalent in the EU in comparison to the US as the former side sees the potential western bias it creates in their users regardless of their age and location. With the recent events in Italy’s plan of banning the language English, it is very evident that the country is trying to keep its identity away from Westernisation. Therefore, the banning of the AI can be seen as a bigger political assertion than just an action over minor concerns.