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With AI Chatbots On The Rise, So Are Privacy Concerns – Fear Regulators

Krishi Chowdhary Journalist Author expertise
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With AI Chatbots On The Rise, So Are Privacy Concerns

The widespread popularity of ChatGPT and other AI-powered chatbots has seen millions of people feeding these bots a variety of data. While the convenience of leveraging AI is undeniable, this has given rise to safety concerns that regulators and businesses are barely beginning to grasp.

Even a relatively mundane contract can leak sensitive information about a company that would contribute to training the AI dataset.

The problem lies in how AI-powered chatbots use user information. Designed to learn from the information fed into them, the chatbots might later incorporate personal data or proprietary business information collected from users to generate responses for others.

Of course, the fact that these tools collect such data in the first place isn’t very reassuring either.

Chatbots and other AI tools are already trained on vast swathes of publicly accessible data existing on the internet. Companies like OpenAI use automated tools to scrape the web to gather all this information, which might sometimes include personal data too. Additionally, AI systems continue to learn from the information provided by users.

The problem arises when users share any sort of sensitive information that contributes to training the chatbot. Wayne Chang, the founder of LLM Shield, shared several examples in this regard. People asking ChatGPT to read a contract and point out flaws, for instance, are leaking confidential terms to a third party.

People should care because [things like] personally identifiable information, like Social Security numbers or creditor information – once they paste that [into a chatbot], you don’t know where that’s going to end up.Wayne Chang

The same goes for users divulging information about their mental health or financial information when seeking advice from AI tools.

Regulatory Moves Have Already Been Undertaken Against AI Chatbots

The US has been rather slow at implementing laws to combat privacy concerns and AI issues. However, even countries with stricter laws in these areas are only beginning to address the privacy problems posed by AI chatbots.

Countries like Germany, France, and Canada have been investigating ChatGPT for data concerns.

Italy banned ChatGPT altogether in April over concerns about data privacy. However, the ban was lifted after a month. Japan, which is ChatGPT’s third-largest market, warned OpenAI against collecting personal information from users and using it for machine learning.

Besides governments and regulatory bodies, different corporations have taken precautionary measures to tackle privacy issues posed by AI chatbots. Companies like Samsung, Apple, Goldman Sachs, and Verizon have restricted or banned their employees from using ChatGPT and other generative AI for business purposes. Other companies, too, have warned employees against feeding these systems any sensitive or proprietary information.

GDPR Laws To Regulate AI Are In The Works

The European Union has been particularly vocal about privacy concerns surrounding AI tools. Its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which happens to be one of the world’s strongest legal privacy frameworks, is currently working on a set of laws aimed at regulating AI.

Data privacy laws in the EU also offer citizens the “right to be forgotten”, which means they can demand companies to correct or delete their personal information.

As of now, it is unclear how many companies behind AI chatbots are capable of complying with it. ChatGPT users in the EU now have the option to deny the AI chatbot to use their data for training. However, the absence of such laws in the US renders personal and business information fair game for AI tools.

While a collision between AI and privacy laws is evident, it remains to be seen whether regulators can keep up with the latest developments and new privacy concerns.

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Krishi Chowdhary Journalist

Krishi Chowdhary Journalist

Krishi is an eager Tech Journalist and content writer for both B2B and B2C, with a focus on making the process of purchasing software easier for businesses and enhancing their online presence and SEO.

Krishi has a special skill set in writing about technology news, creating educational content on customer relationship management (CRM) software, and recommending project management tools that can help small businesses increase their revenue.

Alongside his writing and blogging work, Krishi's other hobbies include studying the financial markets and cricket.

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