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FTC Investigates ChatGPT Over Data Privacy Concerns

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

With allegations of false information dissemination and concerns over data security practices, OpenAI faces intense scrutiny from the FTC.


OpenAI
Image source: Reuters

WASHINGTON D.C. – The Federal Trade Commission has initiated an investigation into OpenAI's ChatGPT, an advanced artificial intelligence system, to determine whether it has caused harm by spreading false information about individuals. The FTC's interest in this matter was revealed through a letter sent to OpenAI, as reported earlier by The Wash­ing­ton Post and confirmed by an informed source.


OpenAI's Data Security


The letter from the FTC not only raises concerns about the dissemination of false information but also delves into OpenAI's data security practices. Specifically, the agency referred to a previous incident in 2020 when OpenAI disclosed a bug that inadvertently allowed users to access information about other users' chats and certain payment-related details. The FTC is seeking detailed information from the company to assess its handling of data security.


As of now, OpenAI has not responded to requests for comment regarding the FTC's investigation, leaving the public eager to learn more about the company's stance on the matter.


FTC Investigates ChatGPT


As the FTC investigates ChatGPT, the probe poses a potential legal threat to the widely popular AI application. Since its release late last year, ChatGPT has gained significant acclaim for its remarkable ability to generate human-like text outputs in response to prompts. However, concerns have been raised about the technology's potential for spreading misinformation or generating false narratives.


OpenAI's Marketing Practices


The FTC's letter, known as a civil investigative demand, includes a comprehensive list of inquiries covering various aspects of OpenAI's operations. As the FTC investigates ChatGPT, the investigation into false information, the FTC seeks to understand the company's marketing practices, AI model training methods, and its management of users' personal information. This indicates a broad-ranging examination of OpenAI's practices and highlights the FTC's commitment to ensuring fair and transparent business conduct.


Led by Chair Lina Khan, who has been vocal about scrutinizing big tech companies, the FTC possesses substantial authority to regulate and address unfair or deceptive business practices. The agency's involvement in investigating OpenAI underscores its dedication to maintaining consumer protection standards within the rapidly evolving landscape of artificial intelligence.

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