Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini on Sunday criticized the Data Protection Authority's decision to temporarily ban chatbot ChatGPT, saying the ban over privacy concerns seemed excessive.
Microsoft-backed OpenAI took ChatGPT offline in Italy on Friday after the national data agency raised concerns about potential privacy breaches and because there was no reliable method of verifying the age of users. Italy's Data Protection Authority requested that access be allowed to children aged 13 and over.
The move by the agency, which is independent from the government, made Italy the first Western country to stop the operation of an AI-powered chatbot.
Matteo Salvini, who also serves as transport minister, said the regulator's move was "hypocritical" and that common sense was needed as "privacy issues concern almost all online services".
Italy's Data Protection Authority did not comment post by Matteo Salvini on Instagram.
Since its launch last year, ChatGPT has sparked a tech frenzy, prompting competitors to launch similar products and countless companies to integrate it into their apps and products.
OpenAI, which disabled ChatGPT for users in Italy at the agency's request, said on Friday that it is working to reduce the use of personal data in training AI systems such as ChatGPT.
"We look forward to working closely with (the Italian data service) to show them how our systems are built and used," the company said.
The ban could harm our businesses and innovation, Salvini said, adding that he hoped a quick solution would be found and chatbot access restored in Italy.
"Every technological revolution brings great changes, risks and opportunities. It is right that it should be controlled and regulated through international cooperation between regulators and legislators, but it cannot be ruled out," he said.