Italy to allow ChatGPT to return if OpenAI takes ‘useful steps’

ROME (Reuters) -Italy’s data protection watchdog is ready to allow the return of the ChatGPT chatbot at the end of April if its maker OpenAI takes “useful steps” to address the agency’s concerns, the authority’s chief Pasquale Stanzione said in an interview published on Tuesday.

Microsoft Corp-backed OpenAI took ChatGPT offline in Italy in late March after the watchdog temporarily restricted its personal data processing and began a probe into a suspected breach of privacy rules.

“We are ready to reopen ChatGPT on April 30 if there is a willingness on the part of OpenAI to take useful steps. I think there is on the part of the company, let’s see,” Stanzione told Corriere della Sera newspaper.

The data protection body led by Stanzione last week set out a list of demands which it said OpenAI must meet by April 30 to address its concerns.

Italy was the first western European country to curb ChatGPT, but its rapid development has attracted attention from lawmakers and regulators in several countries.

EU lawmakers urged world leaders on Monday to hold a summit to find ways to control the development of advanced artificial intelligence (AI) systems such as ChatGPT, saying they were developing faster than expected.

Stanzione said Italy acted unilaterally to ban ChatGPT because urgent action was needed.

“Having recourse to a European decision would have entailed a delay of at least three or four months,” he added.

(Writing by Francesca Piscioneri and Keith Weir, editing by Alvise Armellini and Susan Fenton)