On Sunday, the deputy prime minister of Italy said that the government’s decision to ban OpenAI’s ChatGPT was excessive. In a report by Reuters, Matteo Salvini who acts as deputy prime minister and Italy’s infrastructure minister made these comments after the government’s Data Protection Authority temporarily banned the LLM due to privacy and age verification issues. These comments come days after Friday’s announcement, which is also being closely monitored by other European nations.
Taking to Instagram, Minister Matteo Salvini, who is also the leader of the ruling Coalition League party wrote, “I find the decision of the Privacy Watchdog that forced #ChatGPT to prevent access from Italy disproportionate.” But he didn’t stop there. He took aim at the regulator’s move and called it “hypocritical,” that instead there needed to be a common sense approach because “privacy issues concern practically all online services.”
Finally, Minster Salvini pointed to how lawmakers needed to work together to address legal frameworks in order to contend with rapidly evolving technology, “Every technological revolution brings great changes, risks and opportunities. It is right to control and regulate through an international cooperation between regulators and legislators, but it cannot be blocked.” As mentioned in the previous report, other nations in the European community are keeping a close eye.
For example, the United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner’s Office and Ireland’s Data Protection Commission told the BBC that they are in contact with their Italian counterparts to better understand their actions and coordinate when necessary.
OpenAI for its part disabled ChatGPT per the Italian agency’s request and is actively working to reduce the use of personal data in training its AI systems. It seems that the AI giant is open to working with the Italian government to address their concerns. Of the issue, they said in part, “We look forward to working closely with (the Italian data agency) and educating them on how our systems are built and used.”
All of this comes a week shy of the open letter signed by over 1,000 researchers and tech leaders asking that AI-focused labs give a six-month pause on any Large Language Model more powerful than the current GPT-4. Similarly to Italian concerns, they are concerned about privacy and the potential unforeseen impacts of AI in society.