The Japanese government has taken a significant step by issuing administrative guidance to OpenAI, the operator of ChatGPT. The action comes in response to concerns regarding the insufficient consideration of protocols to protect personal information. The government’s Personal Information Protection Commission, based on the personal information protection law, highlighted the potential infringement on privacy and the collection of sensitive personal information without prior consent.
First Administrative Guidance for Generative AI
This move marks a notable milestone as it is believed to be the first time that the commission has issued administrative guidance specifically concerning generative artificial intelligence. By doing so, the Japanese government aims to address the potential risks and ensure the protection of personal data in the rapidly evolving field of AI technology.
Consequences for Non-compliance
OpenAI, based in the United States, now faces the responsibility of taking appropriate measures in response to the issued guidance. Failure to do so may result in further actions, including on-site investigations or potential fines imposed by Japanese authorities. These measures are designed to ensure compliance and safeguard the privacy of individuals.
Focus on Sensitive Personal Information
Under the personal information protection law, sensitive personal information encompasses details related to a person’s race, beliefs, social status, medical history, and criminal history. The law emphasizes the significance of obtaining prior consent from individuals before collecting such information. The commission’s guidance specifically urges OpenAI to refrain from collecting sensitive personal information without the consent of users.
Protecting Privacy and Data Training
The commission further advised OpenAI to make concerted efforts to prevent the inclusion of sensitive personal information in the data collected for training AI models. Should any such information be identified, appropriate measures such as data deletion or anonymization are expected to be implemented to safeguard the privacy and anonymity of individuals involved.
Language Considerations and Compliance
The commission raised concerns regarding OpenAI’s failure to provide a clear explanation in Japanese to users regarding the purpose of ChatGPT’s use of personal information. It demanded that the company rectify this issue and ensure that users are fully informed in their native language. The commission also emphasized the importance of administrative institutions and corporations using generative AI to minimize the use of personal information and to remain vigilant in upholding the law.
User Awareness and Caution
In addition to addressing the responsibilities of OpenAI, the commission issued a warning to general users about the potential risks associated with providing personal information for machine learning purposes. Users were urged to exercise caution when sharing sensitive data, as it could potentially lead to the generation of inaccurate or misleading information.
Prior Incidents and International Attention
This recent action by the Japanese government follows a previous suspension and investigation of ChatGPT by the Italian government due to suspected violations of the law. Such incidents underscore the global focus on personal data protection and the need for comprehensive regulations and guidelines in the AI landscape.
The administrative guidance issued to OpenAI represents a significant step forward in Japan’s commitment to protecting personal information and ensuring responsible AI development. As AI technology continues to advance, governments and regulatory bodies worldwide will undoubtedly strive to strike a balance between innovation and safeguarding individuals’ privacy rights.