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  • Updated: April 29, 2023

Italy Restores Access to ChatGPT After Temporary Suspension

OpenAI has announced that ChatGPT is once again accessible in Italy after meeting a number of requirements outlined by authorities.

The Garante data protection body required OpenAI to address a number of concerns by the end of this month in order to lift a temporary ban on the chatbot. 

“ChatGPT is available again to our users in Italy,” OpenAI told the Associated Press in a statement.

“We are excited to welcome them back, and we remain dedicated to protecting their privacy.”

Italian officials halted ChatGPT in March due to worries that the AI's training procedures and chatbot breached the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union.

In order to conduct an investigation into a possible data breach, authorities ordered OpenAI to cease processing personal data of users in the nation.

The Garante instructed OpenAI to include a privacy disclaimer on the website that describes how data is gathered and used to develop ChatGPT's algorithms earlier this month.

Additionally, the watchdog ordered the company to add an age verification system and to provide a form through which EU users can object to having their data used for training.

This week, OpenAI added privacy controls to ChatGPT.

Users may disable their conversation history in the settings, preventing OpenAI from accessing that information for training, among other things.

Users in Italy are reportedly now encountering a pop-up asking them to verify that they are at least 18 years old or, if they are between 13 and 17, that they have a parent's or guardian's permission to use ChatGPT.

In a statement, Italy's data protection regulator stated that although it "welcomes the measures OpenAI implemented," it also asked the business to comply with additional Garante requests. 

"This applies in particular to implementing an age verification system and planning and conducting an information campaign to inform Italians of what happened as well as of their right to opt-out from the processing of their personal data for training algorithms."

The watchdog stated that it hoped OpenAI will continue to work towards GDPR compliance and said it would be keeping an eye on ChatGPT. 

"The Italian [supervisory authority] will carry on its fact-finding activities regarding OpenAI also under the umbrella of the ad-hoc task force that was set up by the European Data Protection Board," the statement concluded.

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Lawrence Agbo
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