Canadian Privacy Authorities Investigate ChatGPT

Canada’s leading privacy authorities have announced a joint investigation into OpenAI’s ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot. The investigation will be conducted collaboratively by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC), the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia, the Commission d’accès à l’information du Québec, and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta.

The OPC had previously announced in April that it was initiating an investigation into OpenAI following a complaint alleging non-consensual collection, use, and disclosure of personal information.

Given the extensive scope and significant privacy implications of artificial intelligence, and its relevance to all Canadians, the four offices have decided to jointly investigate the matter. This collaborative approach will allow the offices to pool their resources and expertise, thereby enhancing their capacity to enforce privacy laws effectively and efficiently. The joint investigation underscores the robust collaboration among privacy authorities in Canada in addressing key issues that affect Canadians.

The privacy authorities will scrutinize whether OpenAI has:

  • Obtained valid and meaningful consent for the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information of individuals based in Canada via ChatGPT;
  • Fulfilled its obligations concerning openness and transparency, access, accuracy, and accountability; and
  • Collected, used, and/or disclosed personal information for purposes that a reasonable person would deem appropriate, reasonable, or legitimate in the circumstances, and whether this collection is limited to information necessary for these purposes.

“AI technology and its effects on privacy are global issues and key focus areas for privacy authorities in Canada and around the world,” said Philippe Dufresne, Privacy Commissioner of Canada. “As regulators, we need to keep up with – and stay ahead of – fast-moving technological advances in order to protect the fundamental privacy rights of Canadians.”

Privacy legislation in Québec, British Columbia, and Alberta has been declared substantially similar to federal laws, and the privacy authorities frequently collaborate on matters with a national impact. Each office will investigate compliance with the law it oversees.

Recently, a native ChatGPT app was launched for the iPhone and iPad, first in the U.S., with expansion to more countries coming and for Android.

Aside from governments scrutinizing ChatGPT, tech companies such as Apple, Samsung and more have banned employees from using the AI chatbot, citing privacy and security concerns, considering the amount of data OpenAI receives from users. Can our AI overlords be stopped? #skynet