Allegations Arise Regarding Fictional Outputs from OpenAI


The European data protection advocacy group noyb has lodged a complaint against OpenAI, citing the company’s inability to rectify inaccurate data generated by ChatGPT. Alleging a violation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, noyb contends that OpenAI’s failure to ensure the accuracy of personal data processed by the service is problematic.

Maartje de Graaf, Data Protection Lawyer at noyb, emphasized the severity of false information about individuals and stressed the need for chatbots like ChatGPT to comply with EU law. According to de Graaf, if a system cannot produce accurate and transparent results, it should not be used to generate data about individuals.

Under GDPR regulations, personal data must be accurate, and individuals have the right to rectification if the data is incorrect, as well as access to information about the processed data and its sources. However, OpenAI has acknowledged its inability to correct inaccurate information generated by ChatGPT or disclose the data sources used to train the model.

OpenAI has argued that factual accuracy in large language models is an ongoing area of research. However, noyb cites a New York Times report revealing that chatbots like ChatGPT invent information up to 27% of the time. The complaint highlights an instance where ChatGPT repeatedly provided an incorrect date of birth for a public figure, despite requests for rectification.

Despite requests, OpenAI refused to rectify or erase the incorrect data, claiming it was not possible to correct it. The company also failed to adequately respond to access requests, as required by GDPR.

European privacy watchdogs have previously scrutinized ChatGPT’s inaccuracies, with actions taken by the Italian Data Protection Authority and the European Data Protection Board. In its complaint, noyb urges the Austrian Data Protection Authority to investigate OpenAI’s data processing practices and ensure the accuracy of personal data processed by its large language models. The advocacy group also requests that the authority order OpenAI to comply with access requests, align its processing with GDPR regulations, and impose fines to ensure future compliance.