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The Future of ChatGPT: Is Its End in Sight?

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By Anja Prosch
Anja Prosch

4 Min

April 21, 2023

This year has been truly remarkable for the tech industry, and ChatGPT is leading the charge with its revolutionary advancements. The AI technologies of the past were not advanced enough and simply couldn't match the cutting-edge capabilities of ChatGPT, which has shattered boundaries that were once thought impossible.

With the latest version, ChatGPT 3, its impressive list of abilities has only grown. Now, it can develop a wide range of language-based applications and services, from chatbots and content creation tools to virtual assistants. Its remarkable precision can be fine-tuned for specific tasks, allowing it to perform even more advanced language processing tasks with astounding accuracy. Overall, ChatGPT 3 is a highly capable language model with a vast range of natural language processing tasks under its belt. Developers and researchers from around the world are continually exploring new potential applications for this game-changing tool. 

However, endless possibilities eventually come to an end. Data privacy has become a crucial concern. With European countries placing high importance on this issue, ChatGPT's activities may pose a vulnerability. While the GDPR law protects their interests, certain aspects of ChatGPT's operations may contradict the law. 

What happened in Italy

The Italian authorities are the first in the world to ban access to ChatGPT. The announcement was published on the Italian National Authority for Personal Data Protection website.

The reason for this was a leak reported by OpenAI last week. The company said it had to temporarily shut down ChatGPT because of an "open-source library error" that allowed some users to see messages from others chatting with the chatbot. 

The company's investigation into the incident found that the personal information of some of the service's paid subscribers may have been compromised. OpenAI said that in the hours before they shut down ChatGPT on Monday, March 20, 2023, some users could see the first and last names of other active users, their emails, payment addresses, and the last four digits of credit cards and credit card expiration dates. The company added that the leak affected only 1.2% of ChatGPT Plus subscribers.

The Italian regulator also criticized OpenAI for not notifying users whose data it collects for training algorithms, stressing that the developer has no legal basis justifying the mass collection and storage of personal data.

In addition, although ChatGPT is intended for users over the age of 13, the absence of any filter to check the age of users exposes minors to the risk of receiving responses that are entirely inappropriate for their level of development.

The service will be suspended in Italy until ChatGPT complies with a key EU data protection law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). OpenAI must report within 20 days on the measures taken to comply with the regulator's requirements, under threat of a fine of up to €20 million, or up to 4% of its annual worldwide turnover.

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Will Germany ban ChatGPT? 

Regulators in Germany could follow Italy's lead. A spokeswoman for German Data Protection Commissioner Ulrich Kelber said in a conversation with Handelsblatt that the agency is studying the situation with ChatGPT and it is possible that the chatbot could be blocked in Germany, too, if a problem with the security of German citizens' data is confirmed. 

"Theoretically, a similar procedure is possible in Germany," the spokeswoman said.

Nevertheless, she said there are currently no concrete plans to ban the chatbot in Germany. For now, Germany has requested more information from Italy about a temporary ban on ChatGPT.

One way or another, a decision to ban the chatbot would fall under the jurisdiction of the country's individual federal states.

What happens in other countries

Other European countries have no plans yet to ban ChatGPT. Still, it should be noted that French and Irish monitors have taken an interest in what happened in Italy and have contacted their Italian counterparts to discuss their investigation. 

The Spanish regulator has said that it has not received any complaints about ChatGPT but does not rule out that further investigation will be needed to understand the situation better.

Although facing restrictions in some countries, ChatGPT has not been entirely banned. To resolve the issue, developers must recognize the significance of data privacy and take necessary precautions. Once the problem is addressed, ChatGPT will be welcomed back in countries that initially blocked it. However, failure to take measures for data protection may lead to more widespread bans.