OpenAI and Microsoft are being sued in a class action lawsuit alleging that they violated the privacy of hundreds of millions of internet users by secretly scraping vast amounts of personal data to train their ChatGPT artificial intelligence chatbot.
The lawsuit, which was filed on 28 June in federal court in San Francisco, California, claims that:
The lawsuit is seeking class-action certification and damages of $3 billion and comes at a time when there is growing concern about the privacy implications of artificial intelligence. Whilst in recent years there have been a number of high-profile cases in which AI companies have been accused of collecting and using personal information without users’ consent, this is one of the first major cases to challenge the privacy practices of an AI company. The outcome of the case could therefore have a significant impact on the development and use of AI in the future, including the laws which govern the collection and use of personal data by AI companies, and set a precedent for other legal cases against AI companies.
This case is a timely reminder that AI companies need to be transparent about their data collection practices and ensure they have a valid legal basis, such as consent, before collecting personal data. It is also a reminder that users need to be aware of the privacy implications of using AI-powered products and services.
If you would like to discuss any of the legal issues around AI, including the recommended actions to keep the AI operations of your organisation within the law, please contact Chris Perrin.