The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has initiated an investigation into OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, to determine whether the artificial intelligence (AI) company violated consumer protection laws. The probe focuses on allegations that OpenAI scraped public data and disseminated false information through its chatbot, potentially infringing upon consumer rights.
According to sources, the FTC sent OpenAI a detailed 20-page letter requesting comprehensive information about the company’s AI technology, products, customer base, privacy measures, and data security protocols. The agency has refrained from commenting on the investigation, which was first reported by the Washington Post.
The letter from the FTC, published by the Post, stated that the agency is scrutinizing whether OpenAI has “engaged in unfair or deceptive privacy or data security practices” or activities that harm consumers. The investigation aims to shed light on OpenAI’s practices related to privacy, data security, and consumer protection.
OpenAI’s founder, Sam Altman, expressed disappointment regarding the disclosure of the investigation, noting that it would not contribute to building trust. However, he affirmed that OpenAI will cooperate fully with the FTC. Altman emphasized the company’s commitment to ensuring the safety of its technology and its pro-consumer stance, asserting that OpenAI follows the law, prioritizes user privacy, and designs its systems to acquire knowledge about the world rather than individuals’ private information.
The FTC’s inquiry marks a significant regulatory challenge for the rapidly expanding AI industry. While it represents a notable threat, OpenAI is not the only company grappling with such challenges. Comedian Sarah Silverman, along with two other authors, has filed a lawsuit against both OpenAI and Meta, the parent company of Facebook, alleging copyright infringement. The plaintiffs claim that the companies’ AI systems were “trained” using datasets containing unauthorized copies of their works.