The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is investigating OpenAI’s generative chat app ChatGPT after the watchdog received a complaint alleging that ChatGPT collects, uses, and discloses personal information without consent, The Register reported.
Artificial intelligence technology and its impact on privacy is a key area of focus for my office,” said Philippe Dufresne, Canada’s Privacy Commissioner. We need to keep up and stay ahead of rapidly evolving technological advances, and this is one of my main concerns as Commissioner.”
ChatGPT is driven by the GPT-3.5 large language model, which is trained by crawling large amounts of text from the Internet. Within that text is likely to be personal information that the department is concerned could be accessed by people querying the bot. openAI has built a filter for its older GPT-3 model to prevent it from outputting information such as people’s phone numbers. Although this personal information may have been publicly posted on the Internet in order to be collected by the bot during training, ChatGPT could be used as a tool to help people find this information more easily.
Beyond that, there are other, larger privacy concerns with ChatGPT — people may be handing over private, sensitive information when they use the bot, and it’s not clear how OpenAI will store or use that data. Some companies such as Amazon have warned employees not to share confidential information, such as proprietary code, with ChatGPT.
The Canadian Privacy Commissioner’s Office said no other details are available at this time as this is an ongoing investigation.
Italy is the first country to announce an investigation into ChatGPT to determine whether the software illegally collects data on its citizens and whether the technology could harm minors under the age of 13. The country’s Commission for the Protection of Personal Data has even temporarily blocked ChatGPT. meanwhile, other countries including Germany, France and Ireland are monitoring the situation to determine whether ChatGPT violates GDPR rules.