Poland Probes OpenAI Over Data Protection Worries

OpenAI artificial intelligence ChatGPT

Data Protection Office confirms it will investigate Microsoft-backed OpenAI after GDPR data protection complaint

Data protection watchdog in Poland is investigating OpenAI over a complaint that its ChatGPT chatbot breaks European Union GDPR data protection laws.

TechCrunch reported that last month it had seen a detailed complaint that had been filed by Lukasz Olejnik, a security and privacy researcher, who is being represented by Warsaw-based law firm, GP Partners.

Poland’s Personal Data Protection Office (UODO) now officially announced it is investigating the matter.

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Image credit: Ilgmyzin/Unsplash

Polish investigation

“The case concerns the violation of many provisions on the protection of personal data, so we will ask Open AI to answer a number of questions in order to thoroughly conduct the administrative proceedings,” said Jan Nowak, President of the Personal Data Protection Office in a Google translation of the announcement.

Nowak added that the UODO takes the matter very seriously, but noted that these are not the first doubts about the compliance of ChatGPT’s operation with European laws.

In April Italy’s data regulator had blocked ChatGPT in the country and launched an investigation into the Microsoft-backed chatbot’s use of personal data.

Specifically it was concerned about the massive amounts of data collected by ChatGPT from its users.

The Italian regulator had also noted a 20 March software bug in the chatbot that exposed portions of users’ conversations and payment information to other users for about nine hours.

The ChatGPT ban in Italy did not last long though, but the Italian data protection watch is still investigating the matter, and Spain’s data protection watchdog is also reportedly conducting a probe.

ChatGPT lawsuits

Meanwhile Reuters reported that OpenAI has already faced at least its second class action lawsuit in San Francisco federal court for allegedly breaking privacy laws.

Reuters reported that according to UODO, the complainant said that OpenAI did not correct false information about them which had been generated by ChatGPT.

The complainant said they were unable to find out which of their personal data was processed by the company, and received evasive and misleading answers to questions.

OpenAI did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment, Reuters reported.

Defamation threat

OpenAI has also been threatened with a lawsuit in Australia earlier this year.

In April Brian Hood, who was elected mayor of Hepburn Shire (near Melbourne) last November, said he may sue OpenAI if it does not correct ChatGPT’s false claims that he had served time in prison for bribery.

The issue started when mayor Brian Hood became concerned about his reputation when members of the public told him ChatGPT had falsely named him as a guilty party in a foreign bribery scandal involving a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Australia in the early 2000s.

Hood did work for the subsidiary, Note Printing Australia, but he was actually the person who notified authorities about payment of bribes to foreign officials to win currency printing contracts, and he was never charged with a crime, lawyers representing him said at the time.

The lawyers said they sent a letter of concern to ChatGPT owner OpenAI on 21 March, which gave OpenAI 28 days to fix the errors about their client or face a possible defamation lawsuit.

There is no word as to the current status of this legal threat.