A task force set up by Europe's privacy watchdog to regulate ChatGPT

The agency will look at developing a standard policy for setting privacy rules on artificial intelligence.
Jijo Malayil
Man in suit holding computer with AI images imposed
To regulate AI, or not?


AI-enabled language models are becoming commonplace of late, spearheaded by the disruption caused by OpenAI's ChatGPT. In its wake, we have seen other technological players like Google and Microsoft scrambling to catch up to the competition by introducing their respective models to the public. 

As a counterbalance, global authorities are doing due diligence to evolve a common framework to regulate the industry. To that extent, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB), the agency that united Europe's national privacy watchdogs, has now formed a task force on ChatGPT aimed at developing a common policy on setting privacy rules on artificial intelligence.

According to Reuters, the move comes after Italy became the first country to ban ChatGPT last month over data privacy concerns. Soon after, Germany's data protection commissioner indicated how the country may soon follow suit. While Spain's Data Protection Agency (AEPD) said it would also initiate an inquiry into potential data breaches by ChatGPT.

The rising popularity of ChatGPT and data privacy issues

OpenAI's offering has gained relevance due to its ability to generate human-like responses to natural language input, making it a powerful tool for conversational AI applications. It has become one of the fastest-growing platforms in history, with more than 100 million monthly active users. 

ChatGPT has a range of potential applications, including chatbots, virtual assistants, personalized content generation, and language translation. The rising popularity has led to questions about the threats it may pose to safety, privacy, and jobs. Experts highlight the concerns with respect to handling sensitive data or personal information resulting from data breaches, misuse of generated content, and unintentional disclosure of sensitive information. 

Authorities from the U.S. and other European countries have also flagged the possible repercussions due to the widespread use of ChatGPT and similar AI platforms.  

Necessary safeguards are essential to prevent misuse

Applications like ChatGPT should be used ethically and responsibly, with appropriate safeguards to prevent misuse. Steps like encryption and access controls when handling data used to train and fine-tune ChatGPT should be implemented to further this mission. 

In a meeting held on April 13, EDPB members "discussed the recent enforcement action undertaken by the Italian data protection authority against Open AI about the Chat GPT service," read a statement from the organization. 

The task force created will "foster cooperation and exchange information on possible enforcement actions conducted by data protection authorities." The potential dangers to data privacy associated with AI-language models highlight the need for increased awareness and attention to the ethical implications of such systems.

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