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The Privacy Commissioner blocks ChatGPT

Garante per la privacy blocca ChatGpt

ChatGPT is no longer available in Italy. The Privacy Commissioner has decided to block it after finding several irregularities. The ban could be only temporary until the American company proves that it complies with Italian privacy regulations. In the meantime, the Privacy Commissioner is checking if other artificial intelligence systems are not complying with the regulations.

What happened?

ChatGPT has been unavailable in Italy since Friday, March 31st, after the Privacy Commissioner ordered its immediate shutdown.


The investigation was opened after a data leak occurred on March 20th, involving some users’ conversations and the information of users subscribed to the plus service.

The Privacy Commissioner has highlighted that OpenAI does not provide a solid legal basis for the collection and storage of personal data. The company explains that the purpose is to train the algorithms. However, the Commissioner argues that the information provided by ChatGPT on this matter does not always correspond to the actual data.

Furthermore, a lack of information provided to users was found. As a result, the Privacy Commissioner immediately restricted the processing of personal data of Italian users.

ChatGPT and minors

Another issue found with the system is the lack of age verification. Although the service is prohibited for users under 13 years old, there is no control in place to effectively verify the age of the user interacting with the artificial intelligence.

Garante per la privacy blocca ChatGpt
Privacy Commissioner blocks ChatGPT

This lack could lead the artificial intelligence to display responses that are inappropriate for the user’s correct age.

“Many users have been using this technology in recent months, many of whom are minors, intrigued by artificial intelligence and the ability to create texts and images with just a few clicks.

However, the lack of clarity requires us to exercise greater caution, especially in the case of minors” – Italian Parents Movement.

What will happen now?

OpenAI does not have a headquarters within the European Union, which creates further difficulties in complying with various European regulations.

Garante per la privacy blocca ChatGpt
Privacy Commissioner blocks ChatGPT

However, OpenAI has designated a representative within the European Union. They will have to communicate within 20 days what measures ChatGPT has taken following the Privacy Commissioner’s complaint. If they fail to meet these deadlines, the company risks a fine of up to 20 million euros or up to 4% of their annual global turnover.

It is likely that ChatGPT will comply with Italian regulations regarding the processing of personal data of users interacting with the AI from Italy in the coming days.

However, for those who are already using the artificial intelligence system for work purposes, its suspension may have caused some problems.

In reality, there is a way for more experienced users to bypass the limitations imposed by the Privacy Commissioner and use ChatGPT on Italian territory.

Accessing ChatGPT with a VPN

What is a VPN? A Virtual Private Network is a way to create a private virtual network, with which we can ensure greater privacy and online security. With it, we can protect our online identity by not revealing our personal information, including the country from which we are connecting.

By using a VPN, we can bypass restrictions and geo-blocking. This way, it will be as if we are connecting from another country, and we can use ChatGPT despite the ban.

There are many VPNs that can be used without any issues, even by those who are not very experienced in the field. Some of the most famous and widely used ones are Surfshark and NordVPN.

Many antivirus programs have an integrated VPN, such as Norton, Kaspersky, Total AV, etc. Even the Opera browser has its own integrated VPN.

These latter options, in particular, are simple and convenient to use while we wait for ChatGPT to comply with Italian regulations and for the Privacy Commissioner to lift the ban.

This post is also available in: Italiano