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May 25, 2023

OPC to investigate ChatGPT jointly with provincial privacy authorities

The privacy authorities for Canada, Québec, British Columbia and Alberta will jointly investigate the company behind artificial intelligence-powered chatbot ChatGPT.

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 will carry out the investigation into OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

The OPC announced in April that it had launched an investigation into OpenAI in response to a complaint alleging the collection, use and disclosure of personal information without consent.

Given the broad scope and significant privacy impact of artificial intelligence and its relevance to all Canadians, the 4 offices have decided to jointly investigate the matter. Through collaboration, the offices will be able to leverage their combined resources and expertise to more effectively and efficiently enforce privacy laws. This joint investigation reflects the strong collaboration between privacy authorities in Canada in dealing with key issues that impact Canadians.

The privacy authorities will investigate whether OpenAI:

  • has obtained valid and meaningful consent for the collection, use and disclosure of the personal information of individuals based in Canada via ChatGPT;
  • has respected its obligations with respect to openness and transparency, access, accuracy, and accountability; and
  • has collected, used and/or disclosed personal information for purposes that a reasonable person would consider appropriate, reasonable or legitimate in the circumstances, and whether this collection is limited to information that is 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 work together on matters with a national impact. Each office will investigate compliance with the law which it oversees.

As this is an active investigation, no additional details are available at this time.

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