Italy’s data protection authority has initiated a comprehensive fact-finding investigation into the collection of extensive personal data online for the training of artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, according to an announcement made by the regulator on Wednesday. The watchdog, known for its proactive stance, is among the 31 national data protection authorities consistently assessing AI platform compliance with Europe’s data privacy regulations, specifically the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
This move follows a previous incident earlier this year when the Italian authority briefly banned the popular chatbot ChatGPT from operating in Italy due to suspected privacy rule violations.
According to Reuters, The regulator’s latest review aims to evaluate whether online platforms are implementing “adequate measures” to prevent AI platforms from engaging in large-scale data collection for algorithmic purposes, commonly referred to as data scraping.
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In a statement, the Italian authority emphasized its prerogative to take necessary steps, including urgent measures, based on the findings of the fact-finding investigation. The regulator has invited participation from academics, AI experts, and consumer groups during a 60-day period to contribute their insights and comments to the process.
The global landscape is witnessing increased efforts by various countries to establish regulations for AI. European lawmakers, in particular, have taken a leading role in drafting rules with the aim of setting a global standard for a technology that has become integral to almost every industry and business. The draft rules, expected to be approved as early as next month, reflect the ongoing commitment to ensuring responsible and ethical AI practices.
As the Italian data protection authority delves into the complex landscape of AI data gathering, the outcome of this investigation may have implications not only for Italy but also for broader discussions on AI regulations and data privacy compliance across the European Union. The involvement of stakeholders such as academics, AI experts, and consumer groups signals a collaborative approach to address the challenges posed by the increasing use of personal data in AI development.