Microsoft-owned OpenAI has blocked access to its AI chatbot ChatGPT in Italy in response to an order from the local data protection authority to halt processing Italians' data for the ChatGPT service.
"We regret to inform you that we have disabled ChatGPT for users in Italy at the request of the Italian Garante," OpenAI said in a letter.
In the order, the Italian regulator Garante said it's concerned that the ChatGPT maker is breaching the European Union's (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), claiming that OpenAI has unlawfully processed the data of Italian citizens.
"There is no way ChatGPT can continue to process data in breach of privacy laws. The Italian SA has imposed an immediate temporary limitation on the processing of Italian users' data by OpenAI, the US-based company developing and managing the platform. An inquiry into the facts of the case was initiated as well," the regulator noted.
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Moreover, the company also said to refund the amount to all users in Italy who purchased a ChatGPT Plus subscription in March.
"We are issuing refunds to all users in Italy who purchased a ChatGPT Plus subscription in March. We are also temporarily pausing subscription renewals in Italy so that users won't be charged while ChatGPT is suspended," OpenAI said.
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman also confirmed the information on Twitter, saying: "We of course defer to the Italian government and have ceased offering ChatGPT in Italy (though we think we are following all privacy laws). Italy is one of my favourite countries and I look forward to visiting again soon!
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OpenAI, late last month admitted that some users' payment information may have been exposed when it took ChatGPT offline owing to a bug.
The company took ChatGPT offline due to a bug in an open-source library which allowed some users to see titles from another active user's chat history, according to OpenAI.