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Monday, Mar 4, 2024
Mugglehead Magazine
Alternative investment news based in Vancouver, B.C.

AI and Autonomy

Canada’s privacy watchdog launches investigation into OpenAI

The investigation has been launched after a complaint regarding the improper gathering and use of user information without consent

Federal government's privacy watchdog launches investigation into OpenAI
Chat GPT user interface page. Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi via Unsplash

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada announced on Wednesday it is launching an investigation into OpenAI, the United States-based company behind the popular artificial intelligence-powered chatbot, ChatGPT, in a response to complaints the program collects, uses and discloses personal information without the prior consent of its users.

Launched in November, ChatGPT uses written information available on the internet to provide conversational responses to user queries. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is also using similar technology from OpenAI to update its search engines and other products. OpenAI has not yet commented on the investigation.

“AI technology and its effects on privacy is a priority for my office,” said Privacy Commissioner Philippe Dufresne in a statement.

“We need to keep up with – and stay ahead of – fast-moving technological advances, and that is one of my key focus areas as commissioner.”

In late March, the Center for Artificial Intelligence and Digital Policy filed a complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission about ChatGPT’s risk to privacy and public safety. The complaint was filed after a group of tech industry leaders, including Elon Musk, called for a six-month pause on the development of any future AI technology.

The letter, originally organized by nonprofit Future of Life Institute, pointed to a recent “out-of-control race to develop and deploy ever more powerful digital minds that no one — not even their creators — can understand, predict, or reliably control.”

Read more: Elon Musk and other industry experts sign open letter urging temporary pause on AI development

Read more: Quebec Copper & Gold to apply artificial intelligence mineralization targeting via partnership with Windfall Geotek

OpenAI targeted also by Italy, Germany and the US

Meanwhile, in Italy, the Italian Data Protection Authority has ordered a ban on AI while it investigates a suspected breach of European data rules, and Germany’s commissioner for data protection has suggested it may make a similar move.

Additionally, United States President Joe Biden and his council of technology advisors are discussing the risks and opportunities of AI.

The White House has said that Biden will “discuss the importance of protecting rights and safety to ensure responsible innovation and appropriate safeguards.”

Chat GPT user interface. Image from Joseph Morton.

The European Union is also negotiating a law that would classify AI programs and tools based on their perceived level of risk. The law is called the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act, and as outlined it is to enhance regulations regarding data quality, accountability, transparency, and human oversight. Additionally, the proposed legislation seeks to tackle ethical dilemmas and implementation barriers across multiple sectors such as healthcare, education, finance, and energy.

Chat GPT isn’t the only AI program under scrutiny. SnapChat’s My AI technology, built originally using Open AI’s GPT technology, has also come under scrutiny after it was observed responding in an unsafe and inappropriate manner.

Snap (NYSE: SNAP), owner of SnapChat, indicated it later learned that people were trying to trick the chatbot into providing responses that did not correspond with the guardrails in place, and has since added new tools to keep the AI’s responses within acceptable bounds.


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